Jesus came eating and drinking. We rarely stop to ask, What did He eat and drink? How was it prepared?

Douglas Neel and Joel Pugh, the first an Episcopal priest and the second a retired CPA, both amateur cooks, though to ask, and give their answers in their delicious The Food and Feasts of Jesus: The Original Mediterranean Diet, with Menus and Recipes.

They examine the first-century diet from the farm to the storehouse to the kitchen to the “table,” meals from the daily meals to the Sabbath feast to banquets and weddings feasts and religious festivals. They highlight the Torah’s demand for hospitality and generosity, and the practice of gleaning.

The authors are sensitive to the theology, sociological, economic, and symbolic dimensions of diet and meals. It’s a richly detailed book filled with tidbits like: “The Romans required that divine distinction be given to garlic. The Egyptians even considered garlic to be ‘among their deities’” (15). “The first-century storehouse was the family’s 401 (k), IRA, pension fund, and emergency bank account rolled into one” (59). Herod imposed 10 percent taxes on agricultural products, 20 percent on processed goods, and “became the equivalent of a modern billionaire” by emptying family storehouses (64).

Each chapter has a set of first-century recipes, first-century breads, yogurts and cheeses, chicken stock, beef rib and barley stew, so you can eat like Jesus.

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