It is strange to think that the chief food of men, horses, cows, and sheep, is the same. They all eat grass. These animals eat the leaves of grass, and we eat the seeds. For wheat, which is the chief food of a large part of the human race, is a kind of grass.
Wheat grows best in rich, heavy soil and a fairly dry climate. It does not grow well in Bengal, because the climate is too damp; nor in the Deccan, because the soil is too light and sandy. But it grows well in the clay soil and dry climate of Punjab. This is why the Punjabis have loaves made of wheat flour as their chief food. So much wheat is now grown in Punjab, that some of it are sold to foreign countries.
England is a splendid wheat-growing country, but the people of England are now so many that they need far more wheat than can be grown in their own land. So they buy a great deal from America, India, and other countries.
The greatest wheat-growing country in the world now is America. Romania grows a great deal. In India, wheat is a rabi or spring crop. The seed is sown in the cold weather, and the harvest is reaped in March or April. When the wheat has been reaped, it is thrashed-that is, seeds are beaten out of the husks, or hard coverings. In England, this is done by threshing machines, but in India, it is done with sticks, or by the trampling of bullocks. Then the heaps of seeds and husks, or chaff, are winnowed; that is, they are tossed up in a strong wind, which carries away the light chaff and leaves the heavy seeds behind. These seeds are then taken to the miller, who grinds them into a fine white powder, called flour.
It is this flour which is baked into bread and thus eaten. Wheat bread is one of the best foods, and the races that eat it are strong and active. This is why bread is called the staff of life”.