Cereals, Islamic-culinary revolution

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Some of the most important foods in the history of the Islamic world, to which they were linked even before the birth of writing. The revolution that agriculture and cereals brought to humanity was something that we are still unable to fully understand, a real divine gift.

Before writing

Cereals became part of human life from the earliest times, when the concept of urbanization was still forming. With an increasing number of people living together, food was served even for the less well-off, so that no one would have to go hungry; perfect conditions to start growing these plants. Not surprisingly, among the very first crops of human history we have barley and 2 different types of spelled (in addition to lentils). Their cultivation will then begin the Neolithic period, a historical period in which, precisely, we see the formation of cities and the official and definitive appearance of agriculture, a phenomenon that will bring the Near East to an incredible social and economic development.

Kamut wheat, originally from Khorasan, Iran

Precisely in these areas we see the appearance of the first cities, due precisely to these first signs of human activity, with Syria and Lebanon as protagonists. This phenomenon, however, also began to make headway in the Far East, immediately leading to large differentiations in terms of products. In China, in fact, plants linked to hot and dry climates, such as wheat and spelled, had many difficulties to develop, unlike others like rice, indigenous to these places. It will be with the Arab conquest of Andalusia that finally also Europe and Western world will know these new crops, carrying out an agricultural transformation surpassed only by the American “Green Revolution” of the mid-1900s.

Islamic revolution

With the discovery of America, the variety of fruits and foods available increased exponentially, while leaving the value of the agricultural revolution brought about by the Arabs unchanged. In fact, while European explorations brought substantially new products but little technical innovation, that made in Andalusia revolutionized all world agriculture forever, bringing de facto a before and after in human history. Before it, the ways in which we operated in the fields were extremely basic and suitable for a limited number of crops. With the arrival of the Arabs this changed exponentially, introducing the use of hydraulic pumps and irrigation systems, thus leading Spain to become one of the most suitable places for cultivation.

Surat Ar Rahman, vv.12

In the Quran, cereals are mentioned in Surat Ar Rahman, together with the creation of fruit and animals, some of the most beautiful and generous treasures with which humanity is endowed.

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