Have we been blaming apples, when we should have pointed to the fig? The fascinating book, Food at the Time of the Bible, suggests that it is entirely possible.
And did you know that the first cheese may have been discovered by a shepherd boy who found fermented milk in the bottom of his leather sack, and ate it anyway?
Did you know that tilapia is most likely the fish that Jesus fixed for his disciples on the Sea of Galilee?
These and other fascinating ideas are all part of Food at the Time of the Bible by Miriam Feinberg Vamosh. It’s basically 100 pages of stories that explain the foods referenced in the Bible, as well as some that are known to have been available at the time of Jesus—whether called out in the Bible or not.
This book is sprinkled with Biblical principles and the author takes the time to explain why there were restrictions put around certain foods. You’ll learn how olives were pressed, and why the olive tree was so revered. (Hint: any tree that can produce fuel, anointing oil, cosmetics, medicine, and be considered an acceptable offering to God pretty well has it all). You’ll learn how honey could be both poisonous and medicinal. And you’ll learn why meat became a food for the wealthy.
Chapters of the book cover dining customs, storage and preservation, and even food costs from that era. There are complete sections to explain grain and bread, fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, milk, sweets, and spices. This is a great reference book that will answer those questions you may have had since Sunday School days—and it’s inspirational as well, reminding you of why people “break bread” together, and how food and symbolism are closely entwined. This is the sort of book that you could easily break into a series of lessons for people of any religious belief.
It is also a cookbook, with a number of authentic recipes known to have been used in biblical times. They are as easy as Stuffed Dates in Honey and Flavored Olive Oil, to as complex as something called, “Laban’s Siniyeh,” made with minced lamb and a topping made with tahini paste, garlic, white wine vinegar and pine nuts.
This book reminds you of the influence food had in biblical history, from famine to the land of milk and honey. Speaking of which, did you know that “honey” may actually refer to several different varieties of fruit?
So much to learn . . .
You can purchase Food at the Time of the Bible via this link.