January 2, 2014 at 10:39 am

Food for Thought: The Staff of Life, the Marrow of Men, Feb. 18

The Food for Thought Speaker Series presents Dr. Ruth Palmer on Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 5 p.m. on Alden Friends of the Library Room on the third floor.

Attend the event or watch on LiveStream.

DR. Ruth Palmer

Dr. Ruth Palmer

Palmer will discuss “The Staff of Life, the Marrow of Men: Wheat and Barley in the Ancient World.” She is Associate Professor of Classics and World Religions in the College of Arts & Sciences at Ohio University.

Two grains, wheat and barley, and the foods prepared from them, formed the core of western agriculture and the civilizations that developed from the first farmers. But humans can eat neither wheat nor barley without cooking them first. Her presentation traces the history of the earliest domesticated forms of both grains, the tools used to store and process them, and the different ways of preparing them.

Food studies“The technology of pounding and grinding grains remained unchanged for thousands of years, partly because women were doing the work, but shifted to more efficient mills in the Roman period. This may be due to the focus on one grain product, leavened wheat bread, as the staff of life, symbolically displacing other grain-based foods,” Palmer says.

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