After a little experimentation to compensate for the fact that it didn’t seem worth it to go out and buy a cast iron pot, I’ve gotten the No-Knead bread recipe that was all the rage on food blogs two years ago to work for me. It’s a very simple recipe calling for only two ingredients flour and salt (four if you count water and the tiniest amount of store bought yeast for the first batch), and it makes a tasty and attractive bread:
It’s a starkly simple food. The sort of staple our ancestors depended on to stave off hunger and give them strength thousands of years ago. And it really is bread (well wheat really) along with a couple of other grasses that gave the human race the surplus food to build civilizations. Everything that has come since rests on the backs of wheat (and rice and corn).
A single pound of corn contains 2400 calories -presumably the figure for wheat or rice is comparable, but corn in what I know- and an acre of corn can easily produce 9000 pounds (4.5 tons!) of corn, enough to meet the caloric needs of 29 and a half people. Now those people still need a patch of vegetables as the big three staple grains aren’t great sources of micronutrients and some essential amino acids (although the latter can be partially addressed by treating the corn with alkali compounds, a trick used by the Mayans), but the energy needs an individual person can be met in a field of grain smaller than the average size of a newly built american house. (less than 1500 square feet vs 2,349)
Today grains are under attack as “empty calories” in some parts of society, and considered good for nothing but animal feed in others, take a moment to consider all the aspects of civilization you’re grateful for, and how they can all trace their roots back to the surpluses of food and labor created by three grasses: wheat, rice, and maize.**
*Of course you have to use the King James version. The New International makes the phrase “all men are like grass” which ruins my attempt to tie it in with this entry.
**With apologies to the potato. I’ll write you your own post one of these days.