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Cooking with the Bible is now available in both hardcover and paperback editions!


Since biblical times, the Judeo-Christian lifestyle has centered on meals. Extending hospitality to both friends and strangers was a divine command, and an invitation to dine was sacred. The Judeo-Christian bible is peppered with stories of meals; these range from simple meals put together quickly in order to feed a few unexpected guests, to elaborate feasts carefully prepared to please dozens of partygoers for many days. Cooking with the Bible looks at eighteen of these meals found in the Scriptures, providing full menus and recipes for re-creating some of the dishes enjoyed by the peoples of biblical times. While describing how ancient cooks prepared their foods, Cooking with the Bible also explains how contemporary cooks might use modern techniques and appliances to prepare each of the eighteen meals. In addition, the authors recount the lore of all the ingredients used in the book, detailing their origins, the history of their cultivation, their nutritional value, and their various uses. To set the scene for each meal, the book examines the scriptural text in detail, describes the backstory for each, and, in the process, traces Judeo-Christian history from the ancient city of Ur to the lands of Egypt to the holy city of Jerusalem. Along the way, the reader will learn about the history of the bible itself. In the Middle East, eating was not and is not for daily sustenance alone--it is a way of life, and Cooking with the Bible reflects that reality, providing multiple feasts for the body, mind, and spirit.

Among the 18 meals are “Entertaining Angels Unaware,” “A Birthright Worth Beans,” “All for a Father's Blessing,” “Joseph Dines with His Brothers,” “A Passover Meal,” “The Reaper's Meal,” “Abigail Cooks to Appease,” “King David's Nuptials,” “The Lovers in the Garden,” “Esther Saves Her People,” “The Prodigal Son Returns,” “Jesus Dines with the Pharisee,” “The Wedding Feast at Cana,” and “A Galilean Breakfast.” Each meal features the scripture passage and a brief essay describing the theological, historical, and cultural significance of the feast. The recipes for each dish follow, with commentary on the preparation methods used in biblical times and the lore surrounding individual ingredients and dishes. All carefully prepared and tested in a modern kitchen, the recipes include such delicious dishes as Rice of Beersheba, Rebekah's Tasty Lamb Stew, Date and Walnut Bread, Ful Medames and Scrambled Eggs, Pistachio Crusted Sole, Bamya, Goat's Milk and Pomegranate Syrup Torte, Haroset à la Grêque, Pesach Black Bread, Watermelon Soup with Ginger and Mint, Date Manna Bread, Oven-baked Perch with Tahini, Braided Challah with Poppy Seeds and Lemon, and Friendship Cake—a wide variety that reflects the bounty of the Middle East.

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What reviewers have said about Cooking with the Bible:

Finally an answer to the question: What would Jesus eat? In Cooking with the Bible, Anthony Chiffolo and Rayner Hesse, Jr., detail 18 meals--16 dinners, a lunch and a breakfast--found in the Scriptures....While the authors aimed for authenticity and spent three-plus years on research, they improvised some to settle on just the right ingredients. What they concocted is almost equal parts spiritual, historical and gastronomical--and truly food for thought.
Reader's Digest

If food connects us to each other, to our families, and to our history, then Cooking with the Bible helps to connect us to biblical stories and peoples. Selecting passages from the book of Genesis through the Gospels, authors Chiffolo and Hesse first offer an accessible, easily understood commentary on the context of each story and then, using mostly ingredients available in common grocery stores, create menus with recipes to invoke the meal highlighted in the selected passage. While cooks of all abilities would enjoy trying their hand at the recipes listed, it is a great book for small and large bible study and fellowship groups who want to engage bible stories with all their senses, not just their intellect.
Food and Faith/​Presbyterians Today

[Cooking with the Bible] has a richness of stories, imagination, and yes, recipes that bring us back to the real meaning of food and feast. It reminds us that in biblical times, the lives of Christians and Jews alike centered on the breaking of bread.
Anglican Journal

BUY Cooking with the Bible for your beloved, and perhaps he or she will produce Solomon’s love feast for you on St. Valentine’s Day. This blend of biblical stories, culinary notes, and recipes has seduced me.
Church Times

Essays explore the religious and cultural significance of 18 passages that revolve around meals, such as King David's wedding or the feast to celebrate the return of the prodigal son. Hesse and Chiffolo then present an imagined menu for each occasion. The recipes use modern kitchen equipment—no need to fry the fish on hot stones—but draw heavily on ingredients mentioned in the Bible or known to have been available in the ancient Middle East.
Los Angeles Times/​Jackson Hole Star Tribune/​The Seattle Times/​Ashland Daily Tidings/​Toronto Star/​Chicago Tribune/​The Advocate

Illustrated with mouth-watering photos of the recipes and containing detailed maps of the lands of the Bible as well as extensive commentary, Cooking with the Bible is a feast for the eyes, the palate and the soul.
Faith & Friends

If mealtime has turned into drudgery, here's an answer to your prayers: a unique cookbook that seeks to unearth the culinary secrets of Abraham, Sarah, King David, Ruth, Esther, Jesus of Nazareth and other biblical luminaries....It perfectly blends the historical settings and cultural significance of the biblical feasts and offers easy-to-follow preparation for the menus and recipes. Though based on the Old and New Testaments, the book is instructive, educational and above all, entertaining.
The Scarsdale Inquirer

Cooking with the Bible is a must read for any kitchen. Authors Anthony F. Chiffolo and Rayner W. Hesse Jr. put not only a great deal of imagination into this book, they energize the need to get in touch with the spirituality found in the Bible through food and feasts. Not only are there culinary challenges found in their writing, but each chapter is food for thought. It's a whole new way to look at the Bible.
The Catholic Register

This meticulously arranged cookbook is the brainchild of Chiffolo, editorial director of Praeger Publishers, and Hesse, a chef and ordained Episcopal priest....A chronology and maps precede 18 biblically inspired menus, which make up Part 1. The passages from which the menus are derived were taken from six different translations of the Bible (whichever one presented the most information about the meal). Notes are given where appropriate. Many wonderful, easy-to-follow recipes illustrate the care that was taken to explore the tastes and traditions of the Middle East, including Egyptian Caraway Seed Bread (eesh baladi ), Roast Quail with Apricots and Pecans, and Ground Lamb with Potatoes and Tomatoes (Kufta). Part 2, "The Lore of the Ingredients," is a culinary dictionary, religious reference, and historical analysis in one….Recommended….
Library Journal

Hardcover, 416 pages, photos, maps, drawings, Greenwood Press/ABC-CLIO, 978-0-313-33410-8, $75.00 (includes "Lore of the Ingredients" not available in the paperback edition)
Paperback, 248 pages, photos, maps, drawings, Greenwood Press/ABC-CLIO, 978-0-313-37561-3, $24.95

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Cooking with the Movies is published by ABC-CLIO, 130 Cremona Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93117 .

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