Farro has been the basic nourishment of
Assyrians, Egyptians and of all ancient populations in the
Middle East and North Africa.
According to recent studies, its origin
can be traced to Palestine, where even today it represents
a spontaneous culture (Triticum Dicoccoides): From this area
Nomadic shepherds have probably spread it to all other known
Without this precious and nutritional grain
(they say that all you need is 100 grains to give you high
energy) Roman legions, to who it was distributed even as wages
could not have conquered the world.
Ancient Romans called faro Triticum informally
and the erudite word was Farris. Farro was utilized to make
an everyday dish called puls.
Very popular was also “Mola Salsa”
a specialty of toasted faro and salt and “Libum”,
a farro cake that was offered to the gods in the propitious
sacrifices. To all rural gods, but particularly to Demetra
the Earth Goddess, were offered farro grains and salt during
the Ides of March, to propitiate a good harvest.
Even in the Bible (Ezekiel 44-30) farro
is mentioned with the Hebrew name of Arisab”, still
today with this grain are made the national dishes of Lebanon,
Lybia and almost all of the Middle East countries, even though
different names are used (Taboule, Kibbe, Salf).
Generally all these dishes turn out to be
about the same, that is a kind of a very thick soup made of
soaked farro (cooked or uncooked), mixed with garbanzo beans,
mint, olive oil and pepper in which are marinated tender first
growth fig leaves. There also is the “Lebanese Kibbe”,
made of farro soaked and boiled with mutton that has been
cooked in tomato sauce, The Lybian Kibbe, which by the way
is also eaten in Tunisia and Morocco, is made instead with
soaked and boiled farro, fish fillets, diced squash and walnuts.
Farro has also been used for medicinal
purposes and many are the ancient scriptures that document
cures with this precious ingredient, from the book of fever
cures 1-15: if nature cannot intervene in this state, adopt
a heftier diet that is farro flour! Or Burchiello. 17…but
it you are to contrive an eye infection you will be healed
by smoke from burning farro.