Pass the Pita
In a day and age plagued by divisive opinions and diverse tastes, we’re here to bind you all together with one universal truth: nothing is better than sliced pita bread. Pita bread is both flat and round, so take that one, flat-earthers!
Have you ever wondered how pita came to be? We think it went a little something like this: shortly after the Homo sapiens opted to stay planted and start planting, they came to the realization that hunted meat may be more satisfying with the addition of a little bread. Grains, when mixed with water, were found to make a gruel-like substance. After spending some time in high heat, such as a warm, summers day – presto, you have bread.
The existence of pita was recorded as early as 4000 BCE, though it is thought to have been around for millennia before that. The word ‘pita’ itself actually means bread in several ancient languages. As with many of our favorite Mediterranean foods, the origin of pita bread is a bit questionable. The Bedouins and the Amorites contended over who first found a way to make a small, round dough become hollow. Regardless of who first created the savory substance, the process remains the same: basic yeast dough is shaped into rounds, allowed to rise, and then baked quickly at a very high heat, causing the steam inside to puff the dough and form the characteristic pocket. In early years, the leavening agent would have been wild yeast, gathered from the air and then gleaned and nurtured to allow for the production of one batch of bread to the next. Bakers everywhere must have rejoiced when a commercial form of yeast was finally introduced in the late 18thcentury.
Bread, in all of its glorious forms, is still one of the most consumed foods in the world today, and we can see why. The ingredients of flour, water, yeast, and salt are simple, but it is the combination of kneading, shaping, and baking that produce the mouthwatering results. Bread is used in many cultures as a utensil, as well as one of the best ways to soak up the last drop of dinner’s deliciousness. In the case of pita, the handy pocket can create a vessel for holding and carrying an entire meal in one place, making it a top contender for people on-the-go.
As always, we like to take a moment to touch on the nutritional qualities of our cherished pita bread. For one, hollow pitas can be slightly lower in calories than a typical sandwich, which utilizes two thick slices of bread. If whole wheat flour is used in the preparation process, the fiber content is only about 6 grams. The nutritional value of pita comes from B vitamins and minerals – particularly iron, selenium, and manganese – in addition to high protein contents. Pita chips are also a low-fat option over potato chips, ideal for afternoon munching. If you want to try your hand at making pitas at home, here is a good instructional video for your viewing.
Ancient Egyptians held bread in such esteem that it was said to even be used as a form of currency. In that case, money may not be able to buy happiness, but it sure does supply it. Today, our philosophy stands that almost no Egyptian meal is complete without the inclusion of pita in some form – to pair with hummus, as chips to dip, or to house a savory shawarma. At home, these flatbreads can be transformed into numerous creative meals, like pita pizza, filled with breakfast food, or even slathered with peanut butter and jelly (no judgment… okay, maybe a little). This is a flatbread with a round world of possibilities. Now’s the time to stop loafing around and get ready to #EatLikeanEgyptian the pita way.