Growing up in Morocco, Kitty Morse was struck by how many people still lived as their ancestors had in biblical times. This observation led her to wonder what people ate during the time of the Scriptures. Poring exhaustively through the Bible, she found many food references, such as the one for Esau's porridge, and another about a garden of cucumbers, but only the text of Ezekiel 4:9 regarding bread came close to being a recipe. So Morse delved into other sources, from the Dead Sea Scrolls to archaeological data. In A Biblical Feast
, she draws reasonable and enlightening conclusions from the information she gleaned. For biblical cooks, "Low cooking (stewing), rather than roasting or frying, was their favorite method of cooking.... The ancient Hebrews prepared and ate most foods with their hands."
Morse lists all the foods mentioned in the King James Bible, but assumes there were others, too, because the writers of the Old and New Testaments were, logically, more concerned with theology and other events than with "botanical, zoological, and culinary matters."
Biblical cooks had no sugar for sweetening, only reduced syrups from dates, pomegranates, and other fruit. Morse also explains what grains were available and how they were used. There are recipes you will enjoy, such as Toasted Ground Almond and Sesame Dip; Chicken, Leek, and Garbanzo Bean Stew; and Apricots with Pomegranate Seeds and Toasted Nuts in Honey Syrup. Many of the recipes, reflecting ancient times and ingredients, produce bland results, such as Barley Cakes, which are mostly of historical interest. A Biblical Feast is recommended for teachers and for those who might use its information in family activities. --Dana Jacobi
This book is out of print! The second edition, totally revised, came out in 2009. Please look for it on Amazon.com!