In Sacramento universities, journalism classes often teach students to look for primary sources of information rather than secondary news reports. But how do you find a 3,000+ year old primary source for an ancient Egyptian pregnancy test that involves urinating on whole grains to see whether they sprout as a test of positive pregancy? That’s when culture and media meet.
And what’s the primary source Sacramento journalism enthusiasts or students can go to to fact-check recipes for fruit cake that are said to be Biblical in origin? Let’s first look at the pregnancy test. The ancient papyrus gives the formula for a pregnancy test in ancient Egypt, but the news source doesn’t give a primary location to fact-check. Where is this papyrus located, in what library or museum to verify or validate the evidence?
The secondary source might be testing whether a pregnant dog or cat would perform the test. It might be a bit out of place to ask a pregnant woman to do the test. But online, there’s mention of an ancient pregnancy test involving barley seeds. You could try this at home if you’re pregnant with some barley seeds that are guaranteed to sprout with tap water. But the test says you have to urinate on the barley seeds. If they sprout, you’re pregnant. If they don’t, you’re not.
The ancient papyrus translated something like, “If the barley seeds sprout or grow, it means a male child will be born. If the wheat sprouts and thrives, it means a female child will arrive in a few months. If the barley and wheat grains never sprout and grow when a woman urinates on the grain seeds, the woman is not pregnant and therefore, will not give birth this time around.
That part of the test that’s 70% accurate is when either type of grains actually sprout and thrive when urinated upon by a pregnant woman, even in the earliest stages of pregnancy. Archaeologists actually tested the ancient Egyptian medicinal folklore in 1963. They had pregnant women do the test and found it to be 70 percent accurate.
The reason why the ancient Egyptian and probably Sumerian test works is because the urine of pregnant women contains a high level of estrogen and progesterone, especially the estrogen that may help the grains to sprout.Barley and wheat grains were a staple of the ancient Egyptian, Sumerian, Persian, and further back in time, even Neolithic diets throughout the grain belt–the Middle East and certain Mediterranean areas in ancient times. It might have existed back in Neolithic times when agriculture began and people experimented to see what might make barley and wheat grains sprout.
Although the test won’t really predict a baby’s gender, the 70 percent accuracy rate is awe inspiring. Seems the grains sprouted when the pregnant women urinated on the seeds, but not when anyone else urinated on them who was not pregnant at the time.
Perhaps there was a shortage of water and fertile soil at the dawn of grain agriculture. What the test measured that predicted pregnancy had been the rise of hormones that help certain types of grains/edible seeds to sprout. If you’re looking for modern pregnancy test information by a healthcare professional on how to take one, there’s a video on uTube: Family Health: Using a Home Pregnancy Test.
The earliest recorded pregnancy test has been found by archaeologists examining ancient Egyptian medical training documents using barley and wheat grains/seeds. The test dates from around 1350 B.C.E. Archaeologists found a hieroglyphic document that when translated described how to find out whether someone is pregnant. The woman who thinks she may be pregnant urinates on wheat and barley whole grains/seeds.
Fruitcake is Biblical
Where do people in the Sacramento media go to check out the facts that fruit cake is Biblical in origin. You could look to the Bible. Does it mention cake made of fruit? The fruitcake holiday season is approaching after next month’s Halloween pumpkin pie season. But fruit cake does date back to Biblical times by the fact that travel videos sometimes show petrified raisin cakes found in ancient Pompeii or in neolithic Jordan and elsewhere throughout the fertile crescent.
You made fruitcake in those times, say some of the oldest ‘media’ that reported culture, by simply mixing grain flour with dried fruit such as figs, dates, raisins, or apricots…and you added nuts such as almonds, walnuts, or pine nuts. Then you baked the grain and olive oil mixture with the fruit and a little milk or water. Maybe you ate it as a flat bread or cookie.
Archaeologists report that fruitcake is real old-fashioned, Biblical, and pre-Biblical, dating back to ancient Egypt and Sumeria. Fruitcake has been introduced by the diverse population living in ancient Egypt 4,000 years ago. The four main ingredients in ancient Egyptian/Levantine/Sumerian fruitcake are the following ingredients for the recipe: pomegranate seeds, raisins, pine nuts (pignola nuts) and barley.
Try out this recipe for your holiday celebration. It fits well with Xmas, as it probably had been eaten in that area of the world, or Hannukah, probably eaten in that area also. It’s pan-Levantine-Egyptian-Sumerian-Mediterranean because the same ingredients grow on all sides of that sea.
The first trick is to figure out how to soften the pomengranate seeds–either by soaking or cooking–before they go into the cake so you won’t break your teeth biting into the cake. Will the heat of the baking process soften the seeds? Or should they first be soaked in water until they’re soft? And is all that woody pulp going to tear up your gut?
Maybe you should stick with pomegranate juice or concentrate and then add nuts and dried fruit. The pine nuts/pignola nuts will mix well with the barley and/or barley flour. Just don’t make the cake too moist. Barley flour will dry the batter, absorbing some of the moisture, but cooked barley will keep the batter wet in the center.
That’s where dried fruit, nuts, and bran can come in to absorb some of the moisture without making the cake too dry. Start with a cup of pomegranate seeds, golden raisins, pine nuts also known as pignola nuts (native to the Levant and Egypt) and barley.
The trick is to find a way to soften the woody pomegranate seeds so they don’t break your teeth when you bite into the cake. Instead of the hard pomegranate seeds baked in a soft fruit cake, in modern times, to be on the safe side, use pomegranate juice or juice concentrate.
That way you’ll take away the danger of someone breaking a tooth on a woody pomegranate seed. But be aware in ancient Egypt, fruit cake had only four ingredients–pomegranate seeds, raisins, pine nuts, and barley. To make the batter for the cake mix the following ingredients:
1 c. olive or grape seed oil
1 c. creamy, organic, raw unfiltered honey, orange blossom or clover honey lends a fragrant scent1/2 cup orange blossom or rose petal extract water (from any Middle Eastern grocery or deli).
2 c. barley or garbanzo bean flour or mix barley and garbanzo bean flour with 1/3 cup flax seed meal. Or instead of flour you can mix oat bran, flaxseed meal, and raw wheat germ in equal amounts and use as is or mix with an equal amount of barley or garbanzo bean flour.
1 tsp. baking powder (Use the type of baking powder that is not made/processed with aluminum.)
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. pomegranate juice or concentrate
1 c. more flour
2 1/2 c. white raisins
2 c. cut up dates
2 c. mixed dried fruit such as dried figs, nectarines, prunes, or berries
1 c. pine nuts, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, or any combination of nuts, in medium-sized pieces.
Heat oven to 275 degrees. Line 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan with heavy parchment or wrapping paper. Mix olive or grapeseed oil, honey, eggs and dried fruit pieces. Beat with mixer 2 minutes. Sift 2 cups bean or barley flour, flaxseed meal, baking powder, and salt together and stir into oil.
Mix with pomegranate juice. Mix 1 cup flour into fruit and nuts. Pour batter over fruit; mix well. You can also add grated vegetables such as carrot or zucchini (optional) if desired, about a 1/2 cup, if you like the moister taste of grated vegetables in your cake.
Pour into prepared pan. Bake 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Let stand 15 minutes before removing from pans. Do not remove paper. Wrap in foil. Store in cool place. Can be brushed with sweet cherry wine two or three times before serving.
Optional: Instead of all flour you can substitute a mixture of oat bran, rice bran, flaxseed meal in equal amounts with barley or bean flours. Rice bran will give a slightly bitter taste, though. But oat bran and flax seed meal will produce a more ancient-themed cake, linking back to a time when flour was ground to the consistency of meal.
Another option is to mix raw wheat germ, oat bran, and flax seed meal in equal amounts and use instead of flour or mix with the barley or garbanzo bean flour to bake a fruit cake with healthier ingredients–meal, instead of flour and raw wheat germ instead of the more highly-processed flour.
What about the usual fruitcake you get in the mail from friends or relatives? How many calories are in that modern fruitcake?
If you eat once slice of fruitcake, it might have 139 calories, but 34 of those calories usually come from fat. American-style fruitcake–the type you see at those fund-raising bake sales at holiday time, is a product of the Southeastern states. Claxton, Georgia advertises the town as “Fruitcake Capital of the World,” according to the article, “Nutrition Quiz,” by Sam McManis, Sacramento Bee, December 6, 2009. Also see the site, “Claxton, GA – Fruitcake Capital of the World.”
Claxton is known as the “Fruitcake Capital of the World,” a claim also made by Corsicana, Texas, according to the site, Claxton, GA – Fruitcake Capital of the World. The Claxton Fruitcake Co. used to offer free tours of their bakery, but insurance concerns ended that. You can still look in the front windows of the production area at seven huge fruitcake ovens in action. Claxton Fruit Cake was the only fruit cake exhibited at the New York World’s Fair in 1964-6.
Check out the immersive archaeology site at Flickr.com. Aura Lily has been using Second Life to recreate the artifacts and architecture of ancient Egypt. Using maps drawn by one of Napoleon’s artist engineers, she’s also working on an accurate recreation of temples and buildings on the island of Philae.
Aura’s work is simply amazing, and I think the educational potential to use Second Life as an immersive way to explore ancient architecture and culture is limitless. She has no formal training in 3d modeling, yet she has a true passion for this ancient era and has done all of this work completely on her own. Simply incredible. Visit her amazing space in Second Life and experience it firsthand.