Category Archives: Biblical foods

What did people eat in Biblical Times?

A Biblical Feast for Easter or Passover

       My new book is finding a niche in a number of stores from Southern California, to Wisconsin, Illinois, New York City, and even, south of the border.  For that, I am most grateful You can, of course, always order it on this site, and now, on as well.

       With Easter and Passover fast approaching, a biblical menu seems in order. One of the biblical ingredients I love to eat, is leeks. Especially the pencil thin "poireau" that I sometime purchase at our local farmer’s market, or more often, when I am in Morocco.

     The large leeks we find in US are ideally suited for making soup (green fronds included, though discarded before serving), or to make leek quiche (if you slice them finely enough), but nothing beats the slender leeks for the following dish. You can follow the leeks with Dukkah (sesame/nigella/cumin sprinkle),with bread and olive oil, for dipping; Roasted Lamb with Cumin; flat bread; and for dessert, Dates Stuffed with Almond Paste, or Sephardic style Harosset, made with dates.

 from A Biblical Feast: Ancient Mediterranean Flavors for Today’s Table. 

Leeks with Olive Oil, Vinegar
& Mustard Seed

(Serves 4)

It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took,
and cast into his garden;
and it grew, and waxed a great tree;
and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.
Luke 13:19



Photography Owen Morse c. 2009

4 or 5 slender leeks

(the slenderest you can find)

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon mustard seeds, toasted

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3 sprigs parsley, minced

     Trim leeks and rinse under running water. In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Cook leeks until very soft, 10-15 minutes. Drain and place in a serving dish. Using a mortar and pestle or electric spice grinder, finely grind mustard seeds. In a small bowl, blend vinegar and mustard seeds. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon dressing over leeks and garnish with parsley.



A Biblical Stew for Easter or Passover

 Many of you know what a fan I am of the Vista Farmer’s Market, and of California farmers and food purveyors. In keeping with the Easter/Passover theme, I recently spoke with Sally Brown, of Good for You Gourmet. Sally sells organic beans and grains at the market. Her products are perfectly suited to prepare a biblically inspired dish, including this one exerpted from A Biblical Feast: Ancient Mediterranean Flavors for Today’s Table.

     Making soup mixes from grains and beans was just a hobby for Sally until she decided to turn it into a business called Good for You Gourmet. For the eight years, the former graphic artist has been a fixture at the Vista Farmer’s market, selling organic heirloom beans, rice, and exotic grains. Sally sources her products all over the world, from Bolivian quinoa, to Spanish lentils, and French Red Rice from the Camargue region in France.

     “Customers are becoming more interested in moving from processed and fast foods to creating more healthful dishes for themselves and their families,” explains the soft-spoken vendor, who hails from Ohio. “These dietary journeys can be made by slowly introducing a few healthy changes, and adding more healthy foods as time goes on.”

     Among the lentil varieties available at the Good for You Gourmet’s stand are striking Black Beluga, delicate French Green lentils, and flavorful Spanish Pardina, to name a few. Like the rest of Sally’s products, the lentils are organically grown.

     Rich in fiber and protein, lentils, garbanzos, and fava beans have been a staple of the Mediterranean diet since biblical times. Ancient bread makers often ground them and combined with other cereal grains to make bread. Then as now, dried beans and lentils were primarily used in soups and stews. Lentils provide a nutritious backdrop for a Lentil, Barley & Mustard Green Soup that incorporates some of the same ingredients that were available to Ancient Hebrew cooks.

 Lentil, Barley & Mustard Green Soup

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

4 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons pearl barley (or millet)

¾ cup brown (or black beluga) lentils, rinsed, drained and impurities removed

1 medium leek, white part only, finely diced

3(14 ¼-ounce) cans beef broth

1 bunch mustard leaves, rinsed under running water, drained, and coarsely chopped

10 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped or 2 teaspoons dried, crushed mint leaves

Salt to taste

      Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, barley and lentils. Cook, stirring, until barley turns golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add leeks and stock. Cover and cook, until barley is tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Add mustard leaves and cook until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mint and salt before serving.

 e-mail Good for You Gourmet:




A Biblical Feast (continued)


FINALLY!  The book is now listed on for all the world to see! Just in time for Easter and Passover!

Distribution continues apace. The book is finding a home in gift shops attached to historic California Missions up and down the coast, as well as at selected universities (Palomar College, University of San Diego) , and my alma mater, The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (my other "hometown"!)

This marketing challenge has deepened my respect for the blogging world, and for the food bloggers who diligently impart information, recipes, and photographs on an almost daily basis. How DO they do it? But then, they must not be writing a memoir with recipes, the all-encompassing task that is occupying most of the time I spend at the computer.   


Send this e-letter along to friends. The person who invites the most referrals to my site will receive a signed copy of my book (Tell them to mention your name when they contact me!) 

A Biblical Feast

September 2010:

 My book has found a home in most independent bookstores around  California, California missions, and numerous church gift stores in and out of state.  If your church or organization is holding a sale and the book fits in with your line up of merchandise, why not purchase A Biblical Feast in bulk, and sell it yourself? Quantity and vendor discounts apply.

E-mail me for details.

The book is available in the following stores. The list keeps growing!



 Southern California:

Archangel Michael Orthodox Books, Culver City

Book Loft, Solvang

Bowers Museum, Santa Ana

Chaucer’s Books, Santa Barbara

Callaway Winery, Temecula

Cathedral of Our Lady of Los Angeles, Los Angeles

Church of the Resurrection, Escondido

Earthsong Books, Del Mar

Escondido Center for the Arts, Escondido

Huntington Museum and Gardens, San Marino

Jazzercise Center, Vista

Latitude 33, Laguna Bech

Le Creuset Outlet Store, Carlsbad

Le Creuset Outlet Store, Gilroy

Mathom House Books, San Clemente

Mission San Antonio de Padua, Jolon

Mission Santa Ines, Solvang

Mission San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo

Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, Oceanside

Palomar College bookstore, San Marcos,

Peace be with You, Oceanside

Rancho Buena Vista Adobe, Vista

Small World Books, Venice

Thunderbolt Books, Santa Monica

University of San Diego (USD) bookstore, San Diego

Upstart Crow and Company, San Diego

Warwick’s Books, La Jolla

Whole Earth Acre, Vista Farmer’s Market

Williams Books, San Pedro

World’s Fare Gifts, Vista


San Francisco Area:

Afikomen Judaica, Berkeley

Bell’s Books, Palo Alto

Books, Inc, California St, SF

Books Inc., Chestnut St., SF

Books Inc., Opera Plaza, SF

Books Inc., Palo Alto

Books Inc., Mountain View

Booksmith, SF

Browser Books, SF

Hicklebee’s, San Jose

Omnivore Books on Food, San Francisco


Marin County/Sonoma/Santa Rosa:

Book Passage, Corte Madera

Not of This World, Santa Rosa

Readers’ Books, Sonoma

The Depot Bookstore and Cafe, Mill Valley


Northern California:

Avid Reader, Sacramento

Lyons Books, Chico

McGregor’s Gifts, Grogg and Book Emporium, Yreka



St John Fisher Online Bookstore, Jacksonville (IL)



Susan Thomas Books, Billings


New York City:

Kitchen Arts and Letters

St. Vartans Bookstore



Allyson’s Kitchen, Ashland

Jacksonville Mercantile, Jacksonville

Terra Firma Gifts, Jacksonville



University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee bookstore

Boswell's Books, Milwaukee



Rancho La Puerta, Tecate, Baja California


September 2009:

The book is back in circulation, and it is lovely, filled with new, color, food photography of the dishes, and a handful of new recipes. Please visit my new webpage for a glimpse of the gorgeous cover, recipe details, and purchasing information.


June 30, 2009

Coming very soon!

The second edition of A Biblical Feast: Ancient Mediterranean Flavors for Today's Table is (literally) almost on our doorstep. 

This lovely little book is an updated version  of the original published by Ten Speed Press in 1999, and contains all new color food photography.

Please check back here by July 15th for details of how to order a signed copy. 

A bientot,