Have you ever thought of the Bible as a cookbook? Okay, some may consider its contents recipes for spiritual growth, but I’m talking about actual food recipes. Yes, there is that recipe for flat bread in the Book of Genesis, but according to authors Anthony Chiffolo and Rayner Hesse Jr. (an Episcopal priest at St. John’s Church in New Rochelle, New York) the Bible has much more to offer the culinary world than that one recipe.
You can read all about it in Chiffolo and Hesse’s newly published “Cooking With The Bible – Biblical Food, Feasts and Lore.” It’s a 386-page book offering 18 meals mixing in scriptural text and history lessons. The authors consider it “a reference book, a story-telling book, and a cookbook.” For example, there is a recipe for a marinated duck with juniper and almond sauce, the authors say is a dish that “was part of a feast that the Old Testament Joseph might have had with his betraying brothers when they came to fetch him back from exile.”
The book also offers you a chance to measure like they did in Biblical times—in minas, pims, cubits and handbreaths. Those and other Biblical weights and measures appear in a chart alongside today’s equivalents. But, don’t let the measurements intimidate you; the authors say all of the book’s recipes are geared for the modern kitchen, including the one for old fashion pita bread. And, of course, what meal is complete without dessert? The book offers a recipe inspired by John the Baptist—a carob cake to go along with locust soup featuring a dozen or two of the critters (small forelegs and part of the hind-legs removed).
In researching their book the authors say they studied various translations in different versions of the Bible for mentions of food but found some to be wrong. For example, they say the mention of corn in the King James Version could not be correct, as corn was not known in that region.
The book is full of interesting facts like those mentioned above, and it does stay true to its title by providing a host of recipes for dishes that are sure to wow your guests (or at least stimulate conversation). Can you say theme party?