THE MAKING OF UNLEAVENED BREAD IN THE
man when he goes on a journey or when he wishes to go to a place of
ploughing where there is no village, or the people who stay out with the
pasturing cattle that are without milk, when they set out together from
their village, take flour of wheat or of barley or of dura as their
provisions; and also a water-skin that they may drink from it. Then when
they come to the place where there is no village, they place branches
together in a circle [like the spokes of a wheel] and kindle a fire, and
pile much wood upon it, in order that it may char. And they put a stone
about as large as one's fist into the fire. But if there are many people
they take more stones: every stone is for one [loaf of] bread. One [loaf
of] bread is enough for one man as his midday-meal, or his evening-meal.
And the baker goes to a rock with a smooth hollow surface taking water
and flour with him. But the place is near the fire. He washes the hollow
place on the rock well with water, and he washes also his hands. And of
the flour he kneads as much as he thinks [of using], with water; and if
there is no salt mixed with the flour, he pulverizes salt and strews it
on it: but somebody else drips the water for him. But, if there is no
good rock for the kneading, he kneads it on a clean leather-apron, or on
a clean sheep-skin or again on a new canvass-bag. Often, however, the
people who stay on the sleeping' place of the field or with the cattle
that are without milk cut a kneading plate of wood, and this is called
gabbara; or they even knead in a wooden bowl. And after he has kneaded,
a friend of his measures [the dough] for the loaves, or the kneader
himself measures it. The measuring is done in this way: he divides the
kneaded dough into round lumps; then he places the lower ends of his two
palms together and takes the lump of dough between his two palms, and
over the dough he makes his two middle- fingers touch each other,
without pressing the dough.
Doing the same to all loaves he measures them. And the man who bakes the
bread takes each loaf that has been measured off and makes a hole in the
middle of it, fetches a stone of those put in the fire and places it in
the hole; then he closes up the opening of the hole. And he takes some
charcoal out of the fire next to the flame and puts the loaf that is in
his hand into it. Then he turns it around on all sides. Doing the same
to every loaf he bakes them (Fig. 14). But they leave over a little of
every loaf pinching it off while they measure it. Then, when the
measuring of the loaves is done, they put together the pieces of dough
which they have pinched off and left over of every one, and knead them.
Thereupon they make the piece of dough flat like the palm of the hand or
like a tongue and bake it on the char- coal. And this is called sellase
') or Sek^lyob. And when all is baked, they give the sellfise to the
leader of the party and saying: "Triu^lyob into as many equal pieces as
there are men in the party. And he gives [them] to somebody who passes
[them] on. And the one who passes [them] on receives them with both
hands. From his hands he gives everybody his piece beginning with the
breaker of the bread, and saying sellase. And every one that receives
[it] says: "May the Trinity give us and give thee !" Finally also the
man who passes [them] on eats his piece. When all have eaten this, one
man passes to every one of them his loaf. And everybody breaks his own
loaf saying: "Bread, bring bliss, 2 ) be traded in load[s] 3 ) and in
bag[s] !" And when they begin to eat, the Moslem says "Mesmella",*} the
Christian "Besbtfan",*} and they put their hands on the food.
was it with milk; who has meat, with it. He who has butter, breaks [the
loaf] in small pieces, softens it in it and eats. He who has nothing to
eat with it, eats it dry. And if they are thirsty while eating, they say
to somebody who is the youngest of all: tt N. N., give us to drink being
a man!", or: "N. N., may thy enemy be a messenger, ! ) give us to drink
!" And taking the water-skin, he makes the round to all of them; he
gives them to drink holding [the skin] for them. Then every one of them
gives a small piece of his loaf to the water-bringer. And this small
piece is called the fessotat of the water-bririger ; for it is of the
same size as a fessotdt, i. e. piece of dried meat. - - When they have
eaten and have done with it, every one of them says: "Praise be unto
God! Make it to be healing and light for us! Let us eat and drink
together! And after thou hast given us this, do not keep from us [thy
gifts in] the future!" Or they say: "Praise be unto God! Make [us] find
it and do not withhold it [from us] ! Let us eat and drink from plenty
!" This is the use of unleavened bread all the time.
1) I. e. "trinity."
2) Play upon the words bread (berketta) and bliss (barakaf).
3) Literally "strap," used for tying loads on mules, asses and oxen.
4) For bismillah "in the name of Allah !"
5) For Besma W' "in the name of the father."