REFILE - ADDING RESTRICTION A stone structure at an archeological site containing a fireplace, seen in the middle, where charred remains of 14,500-year-old bread was found in the Black Desert, in northeastern Jordan in this photo provided July 16, 2018. Alexis Pantos/Handout via REUTERS     ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. MANDATORY CREDIT.
Charred remains of 14,500-year-old bread were found at atone structure at an archaeological site in Jordan. Alexis Pantos/Handout via REUTERS 

The world's oldest bread reveals the richness of our past



About 14,000 years ago, long before humans had developed agriculture, bread was being baked in the Middle East. This astonishing discovery in northeastern Jordan significantly alters our ideas about the history of the most widely consumed food on earth. Charred remains of bread scooped up by researchers from a Neolithic fireplace at a Black Desert archaeological site and examined with an electron microscope have yielded information that illuminates the origins of what can fairly be described as a distinct cuisine and the earliest known forerunner to multigrain bread.

A thick paste of flour made from wild barley and wheat was mixed with the roots of plants and heated to create unleavened flatbread, which was then likely used to wrap roasted meat from birds or animals that had been trapped for a feast. Bread of this kind, rather than having resulted from a well-developed farming culture, may in fact have been the spur for the development of farming.

Thousands of years later, bakers in Egypt made the discovery that leaving dough to ferment produced gases that expanded the loaf as it was exposed to high temperatures. This triggered the commercial production of yeast for breadmaking – and a light, fluffy alternative soon appeared alongside the old unleavened flatbread. Part of the reason for the popularity of bread in societies that had been accustomed to gruel and porridge was its mobile nature. It was the easiest lunch to pack long before the 18th century aristocrat John Montagu, the Earl of Sandwich, decided to place slices of meat between two pieces of bread or Otto Rohwedder invented the mechanised bread slicer in 1917.

Today bread, in its myriad forms, is the most ubiquitous item of food in the world. Its origins, however, lie firmly in this region. The Middle East, a cradle of the earliest human civilisations, continues to enthral us with new revelations about our history. The discovery last month of an 8,000-year-old village on Marwah Island, revealing a highly sophisticated settlement, completely upended notions about how the region's ancestors lived. The fascinating findings in Jordan are part of an extraordinarily rich past that resides under our feet.

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if you go

The flights
Fly direct to Kutaisi with Flydubai from Dh925 return, including taxes. The flight takes 3.5 hours. From there, Svaneti is a four-hour drive. The driving time from Tbilisi is eight hours.
The trip
The cost of the Svaneti trip is US$2,000 (Dh7,345) for 10 days, including food, guiding, accommodation and transfers from and to ­Tbilisi or Kutaisi. This summer the TCT is also offering a 5-day hike in Armenia for $1,200 (Dh4,407) per person. For further information, visit www.transcaucasiantrail.org/en/hike/

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Rating: 2/5

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Ruwais timeline

1971 Abu Dhabi National Oil Company established

1980 Ruwais Housing Complex built, located 10 kilometres away from industrial plants

1982 120,000 bpd capacity Ruwais refinery complex officially inaugurated by the founder of the UAE Sheikh Zayed

1984 Second phase of Ruwais Housing Complex built. Today the 7,000-unit complex houses some 24,000 people.  

1985 The refinery is expanded with the commissioning of a 27,000 b/d hydro cracker complex

2009 Plans announced to build $1.2 billion fertilizer plant in Ruwais, producing urea

2010 Adnoc awards $10bn contracts for expansion of Ruwais refinery, to double capacity from 415,000 bpd

2014 Ruwais 261-outlet shopping mall opens

2014 Production starts at newly expanded Ruwais refinery, providing jet fuel and diesel and allowing the UAE to be self-sufficient for petrol supplies

2014 Etihad Rail begins transportation of sulphur from Shah and Habshan to Ruwais for export

2017 Aldar Academies to operate Adnoc’s schools including in Ruwais from September. Eight schools operate in total within the housing complex.

2018 Adnoc announces plans to invest $3.1 billion on upgrading its Ruwais refinery 

2018 NMC Healthcare selected to manage operations of Ruwais Hospital

2018 Adnoc announces new downstream strategy at event in Abu Dhabi on May 13

Source: The National

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Rating:****

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Pakistan (1st innings) 59-2 (23 overs)

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'The worst thing you can eat'

Trans fat is typically found in fried and baked goods, but you may be consuming more than you think.

Powdered coffee creamer, microwave popcorn and virtually anything processed with a crust is likely to contain it, as this guide from Mayo Clinic outlines: 

Baked goods - Most cakes, cookies, pie crusts and crackers contain shortening, which is usually made from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Ready-made frosting is another source of trans fat.

Snacks - Potato, corn and tortilla chips often contain trans fat. And while popcorn can be a healthy snack, many types of packaged or microwave popcorn use trans fat to help cook or flavour the popcorn.

Fried food - Foods that require deep frying — french fries, doughnuts and fried chicken — can contain trans fat from the oil used in the cooking process.

Refrigerator dough - Products such as canned biscuits and cinnamon rolls often contain trans fat, as do frozen pizza crusts.

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