Of all foods bread is the most noble: Carl von Linne´ (Carl Linneaus) on bread
Carl von Linne´ was interested in dietetics, which in his time covered all aspects of a healthy life. As a
utilitarian he understood the importance of private economy and paid attention to bread in many of his
publications. Two texts, Ceres noverca arctoum and De pane diaetetico, were wholly devoted to bread and
bread-making. Linne´ classified different types of bread, and described their nutritional value and healthrelated
aspects, as well as milling, baking and storing, in detail. While discussing the food habits of social
classes Linne´ accepted as a fact that the peasants and the poor should eat less tasty bread than the rich. The
less palatable bread had, however, many nutritional and health advantages. Linne´ paid much attention to
substitutes for grain to be used in times of famine, an important topic in eighteenth century Sweden. He
regarded flour made of pine bark or water arum roots as excellent famine food, was enthusiastic about the
new plant, maize, but considered potato only as a poor substitute for grain. Linne´ and his followers praised
bread not only as the core component of diet, but also for its versatile role both in health and in disease.
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