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On Sat, Nov 12, 2011 at 8:56 AM, Alex Fink <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> On Sat, 12 Nov 2011 14:13:05 +0100, Koppa Dasao <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
> >Another important gift among the Illomi are a plain loaf of white
> >bread... I know that sounds bizarre, but wheat doesn't grow on Illte,
> >so getting hold of a loaf of bread, let alone a whole bread, is often
> >beyond what most Illomi are capable of. Imagine having to pay US$1,000
> >for a pound of bread...
>
> Well, even so, why do they value it so much?  I'd guess it's not because
> they uniquely relish the taste; bread is pretty bland.  But also, one can
> make bread-analogues from all sorts of doughs -- any cereal grain, but even
> starchy roots etc.  If the Illomi even had something lěke bread, I wouldn't
> expect wheat-bread to be so immensely valuable by comparison: cf. (as an
> anecdatum) in the Anglophone world, nothing like injera or pesarattu or
> corn
> tortillas ever had particular cachet, whereas e.g. oranges made it to the
> status of traditional Christmas gift.
>

One can make wheat bread with quite a lot of taste, actually.  Bread is
pretty adaptable.

But those breads are rarely white.  White bread is largely flavorless (and
nearly devoid of nutritional value) so it must have some ritual symbolic
significance.

(Neat thread, btw.  I need to give some thought to how the Oasa deal with
this.  Gift giving is so complicated, I feel like I should dig out my Maus
before I set anything in stone)