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Posts Tagged ‘God’

One of the things I notice now, since I finished all the photo shoots for my cookbook, is that I look at food differently. I was cutting up garlic, potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots for today’s recipe and all of the sudden, the mundane turned into art. I started to think about the arrangement of what I was cutting, and how the photographer would have arranged the peels, the knife, the cutting board, the vegetables. I noticed how beautiful the carrots were, both before I peeled them, and after. I noticed how beautiful the potato peels were, and the contrast of the two orange colors of the carrots and sweet potatoes, and of the whites of the potatoes and garlic cloves. And I think more than anything that is one of the things I try to do in my cookbook – to find the beauty in the mundane, to find the culinary references in the simple text. To bring carrots, potatoes and garlic to life in the way my photographer was able to do meant that he saw the vegetables differently, just like I try to see, and help others to see the Bible in a different, more tasty and tactile light. There is much beauty in the Bible, and it’s not in elaborate pageants and great shows of wealth, it’s in the simple things: carrots, potatoes, garlic, stones, sand and stars.

“Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, each took a pan, put fire in it, placed incense upon it, and they brought a strange fire before God which he had not commanded. And fire went forth from God and consumed them, and they died.” (Leviticus 10:1-2)

Questions: While the text makes it clear that Nadab and Abihu died, and that they brought a “strange fire” into the sanctuary which God had not commanded them, we are not told why this fire was “strange.” Why couldn’t Aaron’s sons bring an extra offering to God? What was “strange” about their fire?

Ideas: BBQ! Serve anything flame-roasted to get the conversation started about fire, and what makes some fires strange and others less strange. Anything hot and spicy could work too. Some commentators suggest that Nadab and Abihu were drunk, so douse your chicken in wine, or simmer your beef in some broth.

I am making Flame Roasted Drunken Chicken this week. Recipe here.

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“And they embittered their lives with hard labor, with mortar and with bricks and with all kinds of labor in the fields, all their work that they worked with them with back-breaking labor.” (Exodus 1:14)

Questions: What is the difference between “hard labor,” work with “mortar and bricks” and “all kinds of labor in the fields”? Why does the Bible list these different types of work like this: “all the work that they worked with back breaking labor“? Ok, we get the point. They worked hard. Enough! Is it just for emphasis? Or is there something else going on here?

Ideas: Use peanut butter, apple butter, caramel spread, chocolate spread or any other thick and gooey, mortar-like substance to put together cookie pr cracker “bricks”. Hummus or cream cheese could be used as mortar too.

spread cookie

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“May the angel who redeemed me from all harm bless the youths, and may they be called by my name and the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, and may they multiply abundantly like fish, in the midst of the land.” (Genesis 48:16)

Questions: Why do you think it is a blessing to increase like the fish of the sea? Why are the children of Israel compared to fish? Why do you think that we sing this song to little children? Who is the angel that is mentioned in the verse?

Ideas: Fish! Gefilte fish, sardines, tuna quiche, salmon concealed in puff pastry or phyllo dough, Angel Food Cake. Set your table with hamsas, scatter turquoise beads and eye charms or tie napkins with red string.

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“Joseph gave the wagons according to Pharaoh’s instructions, and he also provided them with food for the journey…. Joseph sent the following to his father: ten male donkeys carrying Egypt’s finest products, and ten female donkeys carrying grain, bread and food for his father’s journey.” (Genesis 45:21–23)
“And when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to transport him, the spirit of Jacob their father was revived.” (Genesis 45:27)

Questions: Why do you think that Joseph sent wagons to his father instead of going himself? Why do you think that Jacob’s spirit was revived at the sight of the wagons?

Ideas: Arrange slices of citrus, avocado, red pepper or other vegetables on a plate in the shape of a wagon wheel. Make little wagons out of celery, carrots, peanut butter and raisins (cut a small section of celery, fill with peanut butter, use two round carrot slices for wheels and decorate with raisins). Serve round cookies for dessert, and don’t forget some good-quality aged wine!

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“And Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was a son of his old age; and he made him a ketonet passim.” (Genesis 37:3)

Questions: What do you think Joseph’s “ktonet passim” looked like? Why do you think that Jacob gave it to him? Why was Joseph dubbed “the son of his old age” – isn’t Benjamin even younger? Maybe Benjamin wasn’t born yet?

Ideas: Multi-colored cookies (with rainbow sprinkles) or striped candy, a striped vegetable platter (slice multicolored vegetables into long strips and arrange nicely on a platter), set the table with a richly embroidered tablecloth or use striped napkins to decorate your table, however I must request that you not attempt to combine wool and linen at your table somehow – even if it will heal a family feud.

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“’And Esau ran toward him and embraced him, and he fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.” (Genesis 33:4)

Questions: Why do you think Esau was the one who ran to his brother? Do you think he was sincere in giving him a hug and a kiss? The verse says that both of the brothers wept – what do you think that each one was crying about?

Ideas: Serve chocolate chips or raisins, serve cinnamon raisin bread or bake chocolate chips or raisins into bread or challa to spark discussion about ‘dots.’ Make chicken soup with a chicken or turkey neck and place the neck in a bowl on the table. Serve ‘bite’-sized hors d’oeuvres, or use Tabasco sauce or hot peppers in your cooking – to give everything at your table a little ‘bite.’ For dessert: Hershey’s kisses.

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“Reuben went in the days of the wheat harvest, and he found dudaim in the field and brought them to Leah, his mother, and Rachel said to Leah, ‘Now give me some of your son’s dudaim.’ And she said to her, ‘Is it a small matter that you have taken my husband, that you wish also to take my son’s dudaim?’ So Rachel said, ‘Therefore, he shall sleep with you tonight as payment for your son’s dudaim.’ When Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah came forth toward him, and she said, ‘You shall come to me, because I have hired you with my son’s dudaim,’ and he slept with her on that night.” (Genesis 30:14–16)

Questions: What do you think these dudaim represent? Why was Reuben involved in all of this? Why do you think Rachel was so desperate to purchase these dudaim that she was willing to give up a night with her husband for the privilege or pleasure of having them?

Ideas: Jasmine tea, plain jasmine rice, dried figs, fig bars, placing a pot of African violets on your table, and even mandrake liqueur from Kibbutz Mishmar Ha’emek in the North of Israel, where mandrakes are grown!

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