DOI: 10.1094/CFW-51-0004 |
A Brief History of Barley Foods
C. W. Newman and R. K. Newman. Newman Associates, Inc., Bozeman, MT. Cereal Foods World 51(1):4-7.
Barley was a dietary mainstay of ancient civilizations and continued to be an important diet constituent of working class people in Europe until the end of the 19th century. Throughout historical reports, barley is referred to as a source of strength and stamina for athletes and persons involved in hard manual labor. The health benefits and medicinal aspects of barley foods are stressed in ancient Arabian, Egyptian, Ethiopian, and Greek literature and were also touted by more recent civilizations extending from Asia to Europe. In most ancient cultures, barley foods are described as having almost mystical properties. Barley lost favor as a food grain primarily due to the improved conditions of the farming classes and the growth and development of the wheat industry. Wheat bread and wheat-based breakfast cereal products have replaced much of the bakery markets for rye, oats and barley because of texture, taste, appearance, and increased availability. With increased consumer knowledge of the health benefits provided by soluble dietary fiber and other whole-grain constituents, barley foods have a good chance of regaining an important place in the human diet.