On Monday November 20th 2017, Open4EM members enjoyed a meal of food which was commonly eaten at the time of Jesus.
The idea came from a Church Times review of Don Colbert's "Food Jesus would have eaten", promoting a diet of food that was likely to have been eaten by Jesus, as a type of pilgrimage.
In our research to discover what was authentic food, and what was not, we learned about what life must have been like at that time. The effort for a household to bring food to the table was far greater than we can imagine in our well-lit kitchens, where clean water, ovens and stove tops make our lives so much easier.
Grain was ground to produce flour (wheat or barley) through the laborious process of grinding by hand.
We learned that barley bread was only eaten by the poorest of the poor, as most people could afford wheat flour. Remember Jesus feeding of the crowds with the five barley loaves and two small fish?
Vegetables formed an important part of the diet, as did the fruits that could be eaten fresh or preserved in some way. Think dates, figs and grapes. Fish similarly had a limited shelf life so, if not eaten fresh, was preserved.
So what did the group eat?
Salted fish in oil, with flat breads and freshly-made soft cheese, dukkah, oil and pesto for dipping, for a starter.
Main dishes included spiced lamb, fish cakes seasoned with spices, lentil stew, chickpea stew, cucumber in minted yoghurt, vegetable stew, bean salad and salad greens. There was a basket of flat bread, both barley and wheat, some baked on the barbecue before the meal.
Dessert included dried and fresh fruit and nuts, and with our tea and coffee (definitely not authentic) we ate mamool which are sweet pastries made with semolina.