New evidence suggest that millet was being consumed in western China as early as 5,900 BC. Analysis of dog and pig bones show that both were fed a millet-rich diet, and their human masters were very likely doing the same.
Current World Archaeology (#35, 2009)
Millet includes several varieties of small cereal grains that have been cultivated for some 8,000 years. It most likely originated in Africa, and is still an important food source in many areas of Asia, Africa and the former Soviet republics. - Millet grows in heads on the top of stalks 1 to 10 feet high, and ripens in 60 to 90 days. It is drought resistant and will grow in relatively infertile areas, and since it also matures in such a short time, it is widely cultivated in less agriculturally developed areas. In North America and Europe millet is grown primarily for animal fodder, pasture grass, and birdseed.
Millet has more protein (6 to 11%) than rice, but somewhat less than wheat; it is rich in vitamins A and B, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese. Millet is mainly used in porridges, cooked like rice, and milled into meal and flour. It can be used for flatbreads, but cannot be used for leavened bread. Toasting millet before cooking enhances its naturally bland flavor.
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