Eat­ing the Bible: Over 50 Deli­cious Recipes to Feed Your Body and Nour­ish Your Soul

  • Review
By – June 25, 2014

Eating the Bible is an intrigu­ing cook­book with a unique out­look. The chap­ter titles are Gen­esis, Exo­dus, Leviti­cus, Num­bers, Deuteron­o­my, and Bib­li­cal Ingre­di­ents. The author explains, My goal in writ­ing this cook­book was so much more than just recipes. My goal is to help you bring the Bible into your mod­ern meals and your busy lives. This cook­book is ver­sa­tile and mod­u­lar: it can be expe­ri­enced in-depth, pro­vid­ing the cook with read­ing mate­r­i­al while mak­ing each recipe, which can then be impart­ed to fam­i­ly and guests, but there are also short­cuts in the form of ʻAl­ter­na­tives’ and ʻQues­tion­s’ at the end of each recipe.” 

She fur­ther explains in dis­cussing the vers­es, com­men­taries, and ques­tions, I had my own ways of inter­pret­ing the verse and its mean­ing; oth­er times I would look up the verse and see if there were par­al­lels in oth­er books of the Old Tes­ta­ment like the ear­li­er and lat­er prophets and writ­ings. But some­times I would look up words and terms in a Bible Con­cor­dance, which at times led me to the Baby­lon­ian and Jerusalem Tal­mud, and often to var­i­ous Medieval, Renais­sance, and mod­ern com­men­ta­tors on those verses…every source that I men­tion in this cook­book has been checked and ver­i­fied by schol­ars much more knowl­edge­able than me.” 

When dis­cussing the verse in Gen­e­sis which relates, Your progeny…like the dust of the earth,” Ross­ner gives us the recipe for her Earthy Sea­son­ing, which when sprin­kled will enhance chick­en, fish, or steak as you bake them. Why dust? Yes, the dust of the earth is plen­ti­ful, but what else is so spe­cial about it?” Ross­ner asks, to answer, Just like dust goes from one end of the earth to the oth­er, so too will the Israelites be scat­tered all over the world.” 

The pho­tographs are not only beau­ti­ful but instruc­tive. Dis­cussing gifts and parcels that Jacob plans to send to Pharaoh along with Ben­jamin, his son, she includes detailed and col­or­ful pho­tos on how to assem­ble the scrump­tious Pis­ta­chio Almond Chick­en Pack­ets. In the Num­bers chap­ter, the verse of the Bible, And God opened the mouth of the don­key, and it said to Bal­aam,” What have I done to you that you have struck me on these three occasions?’” Ross­ner explains and shows us the instruc­tions that “…Bur­ro means don­key in Span­ish, and the three beans rep­re­sent the three bless­ings that Bal­aam gave the Israel­ites.” Hence we have her recipe for Three-Bean Burritos. 

After dis­cussing a verse in Deuteron­o­my, And he brought us to this place, and he gave us this land, a land flow­ing with milk and hon­ey,” the author presents her recipe for the delec­table Milk and Hon­ey Kugel. 

The sec­tion on Bib­li­cal ingre­di­ents lists the food and where in the Bible it is men­tioned, as in Almond (Gen­e­sis 43:11) and Cin­na­mon (Exo­dus 30:23). The Glos­sary explains Sources Men­tioned, Bib­li­cal Char­ac­ters, and Places in the Bible. We learn, for instance, that the Moabites were a tribe liv­ing east of the Dead Sea, and that the shekel was an ancient piece of cur­ren­cy, used espe­cial­ly to form the census. 

Excel­lent index.

Relat­ed Content:

Recipe: Plagu­ing the Egypt­ian Conscience

Excerpt­ed with per­mis­sion from Eat­ing the Bible: Bib­li­cal Inspi­ra­tion for the Mod­ern Kitchen by Rena Ross­ner. Copy­right 2013, Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing, Inc.

Because this time, I am send­ing all my plagues to your heart and to your ser­vants and to your peo­ple, so that you shall know that here is none like me in all of the land. - Exo­dus 9:14

In verse 14, God tells Moses to tell Pharaoh that this time he is send­ing all of his plagues. How­ev­er, God then pro­ceeds to send the plague of hail. One com­men­ta­tor explains that here he is refer­ring to the plague of the first­born. But oth­ers explain that it is not the plague of the first­born, but rather the plague of the first of the crops, which were almost complete­ly dev­as­tat­ed by the plague of hail. What was it about this plague that made it equiv­a­lent to all the oth­er plagues?

One com­men­ta­tor opines that God refers to this plague as all my plagues” because the type of hail sent includ­ed extreme­ly loud thun­der (or strong wind) and the mirac­u­lous com­bi­na­tion of fire and ice, essen­tial­ly a com­bi­na­tion of all the ele­ments. Indeed this is the first time that we see Pharaoh react in fear and even state, God is right­eous, and my nation and I are evil” (Exo­dus 9:27).

Anoth­er com­men­ta­tor explains that this plague was unique because it con­sist­ed of a mir­a­cle with­in a mir­a­cle: the fire and the hail were mixed togeth­er, two ele­ments which made peace between them­selves to do the will of their cre­ator. Addi­tion­al­ly, accord­ing to anoth­er com­men­ta­tor, the first plagues caused no last­ing dam­age, where­as hail was the first plague to do per­ma­nent dam­age to the land. This fiery storm destroyed the flax and bar­ley (9:31), only to be fol­lowed by the plague of locusts which destroyed what­ev­er was left. After these, the only plagues left were the plague of dark­ness and the plague of the first­born. The plague of hail is real­ly the begin­ning of the end for Pharaoh and the Egyptians.

Fire and Ice Bruschetta

  • 6 toma­toes, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • ½ cup (120 mL) vinegar
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pep­per, or more to taste
  • A few drops of Tabas­co sauce or 1 seed­ed chili pep­per, chopped very fine (option­al)
  • 1 baguette, sliced into thin rounds
  • Olive oil
  • Cut toma­toes and onions and place in a bowl with a lid. Place remain­ing ingre­di­ents, except for baguette and olive oil, in a saucepan and bring to boil. Imme­di­ate­ly pour over veg­eta­bles, shake up, and chill for at least 1 hour. Brush baguette with olive oil, and toast until crisp. Serve fire and ice toma­to mix­ture spooned on top of toast­ed baguette rounds.

    Serves 4 – 6.

    Alter­na­tives: Serve ice cold drinks and red hot food. Serve any cold sal­ad that is spicy as well. Serve Baked Alas­ka or fried ice cream. Sprin­kle cayenne pep­per on top of vanil­la ice cream (it actu­al­ly tastes real­ly good!), or sim­ply put out a bowl of ice on your table with some Tabas­co sauce on the side.

    Ques­tions: What is so awe-inspir­ing about the mix­ture of fire and ice? Why do you think God chose to send a plague in the form of hail? Why didn’t God just destroy all the crops?

    Danièle Gor­lin Lass­ner (wife, moth­er, grand­moth­er) retired after 35 years at Ramaz where she served as Dean of Admis­sions, For­eign Lan­guage Depart­ment chair and teacher of French and Span­ish. She owns hun­dreds of cook­books. She has trans­lat­ed sev­er­al chil­dren’s books from French into Eng­lish. She has recent­ly trans­lat­ed “ A Mem­oir of Sanc­ti­ty “ by May­er Moskowitz (Mazo Pub­lish­ers, Jerusalem, Israel) from Hebrew into Eng­lish. No mat­ter the lan­guage, food is a con­stant.”

    Discussion Questions