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SIMPLE DIET OF THE ORIENTALS.—GREEN EARS OF CORN.
PARCHED CORN.—“Dough.”—CAKES BAKED ON THE COALS, OR ON HOT STONES.—CAKES BAKED IN A PAN OR FRYING-PAN. -THE OVEN OR TANDOOR.–FUEL USED IN OVEN.—UNLEAVENED BREAD.—BARLEY BREAD.- FINE FLOUR.—GRINDING
AND BAKING.—THINGS EATEN WITH BREAD. The food of the Jews and the neighbouring natives was for the most part of a very simple character, and required a less studied preparation than we are accustomed to. Meat was comparatively seldom eaten by any except the wealthy : bread in various forms, or, what is yet simpler, preparations of corn, honey, milk, fish, and vegetables, formed the staple articles of diet.
GREEN EARS OF CORN.
In describing these we shall commence with the most simple and ordinary materials.
The green ears of corn were not unfrequently eaten in a raw state about the time of harvest. We have notices of this in the Levitical law :- 6 Ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God”. (Lev. xxiii. 14): and permission is given to pluck the ears of corn with the hand in passing through a standing crop :- 6 When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour's standing corn” (Deut. xxiii. 25). We have an instance of this permission being exercised in our Lord's history :went through the corn-fields on the Sabbath-day, and His disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of
(Mark ii. 23). The blame which the Pharisees attached to the conduct of the disciples was not the simple fact of plucking the cars, but doing it on the Sabbath-day. Another instance of green cars being produced as food is furnished us in 2 Kings iv. 42 :
There came a man ... and brought the man of God, bread of the first-fruits, twenty loaves of barley and full ears of corn in his garment.'
The same custom prevails in Palestine in the present day. Travelling upon the Hebron road towards Carmel, Dr. Robinson writes—“ The region around was the finest we had seen in the hill country of Judah. The whole tract was almost covered with fine fields of wheat, belonging to persons in Hebron who rent the land of the government. Watchmen were stationed in various parts, to prevent cattle and flocks from trespassing upon the grain. The wheat was now ripening; and we had here a beautiful illustration of Scripture. Our Arabs were an hungred,' and going into the fields, they “plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. On being questioned, they said
this was an old custom, and no one would speak against it; they were supposed to be hungry, and it was allowed as a charity. We saw this afterwards in repeated instances, -Robinson's Researches, i. 492, 493.
More usually, however, the corn was roasted over a fire, in which state it was not only more palatable but would keep for a considerable time. We have already had notice of it under the terms “parched corn ” in the passage quoted from Leviticus : in the history of Ruth it is the food of the labourers in the harvestfield :-“ And she (Ruth) sat beside the reapers; and he (Boaz) reached her parched corn, and she did eat (Ruth ii. 14): and in the history of David it is incidentally noticed as a suitable article for soldiers in the field or for others living away from any settled home : “ Jesse said unto David his son, take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren” (1 Sam. xvii. 17): “Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn (1 Sam. xxv. 18).
The following passages from modern writers fully illustrate this subject :-“In one field ... nearly two hundred reapers and gleaners were at work; the latter being nearly as numerous as the former. A few were taking their refreshment, and offered us some of their
parched corn. In the season of harvest, the grains of wheat, not yet fully dry and hard, are roasted in a pan, or on an iron plate, and constitute a very palatable article of food ; this is eaten along with bread, or instead of it. Indeed, the use of it is so common at this season among the labouring classes, that this parched wheat is sold in the markets. ... The whole scene of the reapers and gleaners, and their parched com,' gave us a lively representation of the story of Ruth, and the ancient harvest-home in the fields of Boaz. -ROBINSON's Researches, ii. 350.