Our Top 10 Food Moments in the Bible
flickr.com/photos/dainec/2536695/ A holy house
Hey, you: Stop the bong hits and hit the pause button on your bootleg A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas instead -- it's time for a real history lesson about two super
present-filled important holidays: Hanukkah and Christmas.
No matter that these Jewish and Christian festivals happen to fall on pretty much the exact same dates as pagan Winter solstice celebrations -- and feature almost all the same characteristics of these parties.
Surely, the Abrahamic God honored by said shindigs is totally down with nonbiblical traditions such as gift exchange (once banned by the Catholic Church for its pagan origins), decorative evergreen (popular since Saturnalia, Ancient Rome's December boozefest), Yule logs (from a Teutonic hunting rite), and Santa Claus (a spitting image of Odin, a generous, Germanic deity who rode an eight-legged horse through the sky).
Getting back to the point, these two events do mark watershed points in the development of Western religious thought -- regardless of their origin.
Jewish folk believe that Hanukkah symbolizes the Maccabee Brothers' miraculous rescue of the Israelites' holy temple from the Greeks. Christians think their December holiday recognizes the equally miraculous birth of Jesus, said to come from a virgin teen mom.
Nowadays, both groups celebrate these happenings with a blend of monotheistic and other practices -- such as the ones mentioned above. What's always key: ceremonial feasts, be they redolent with latkes and applesauce or replete with Icelandic smoked lamb.
So, in the holiday spirit, Fork in the Road has decided to look to these faiths' holy books and see what they say about food and drink. Behold, faithful and skeptics alike: Our 10 Best Food Moments in the Bible.
So God creates the world -- according to Genesis, that is -- and then makes two people, a dude and, later, a chick, to populate the earth along with the fish and the fowl. The couple, Adam and Eve, get to hang out totally naked in this sick crib, the Garden of Eden, where they don't have to worry about anything and can even talk to all the animals just like in Disney movies. But there's just one teensy-tiny, itsy-bitsy condition -- they can't eat from the Lord's special Tree of Knowledge, the fruit of which purportedly conveys understanding of good and evil. At the behest of a serpent -- because you should always trust articulate snakes -- the couple winds up trying an apple from the sacred plant. God finds out, gets pissed, and decides that he's done letting people crash on his metaphorical sofa. He decides to cast the lovebirds out of Eden into the cold, cruel, real world, where they have to fend for themselves and wear clothes, which sucks because hey, who really likes pants?
9. Great Flood
A lot of people think that the notion of "clean" and "unclean" animals -- a hallmark of Jewish dietary laws -- originally comes from Leviticus. Now, we might not be prime examples of biblical scholars here at Fork in the Road (FitR writers include a not-so-religious Christian Jew, a devout atheist, and an atheist Jew who used her bat mitzvah money on blackjack, so there ya go), but expert investigators we are. The result of this research suggests that Genesis, where the flood story gets told, might mark the first time when God gives some indication of his food preferences. In the Bible, he tells Noah to take one pair of each type of dirty beast onto the ark, as well as seven "male and mate" couplings of each sanitary animal. The clean/unclean distinction gets flushed out in Leviticus and, to some extent, Deuteronomy, where the author makes clear what's kosher (chicken, salmon, LOCUST, etc.) and what's forbidden (shellfish, pork, cat, etc.).
8. Binding of Isaac
So Abraham and Sarah really, really want a kid, right? But they're both kinda old, with Abe being nearly 100 and Sarah not far behind. However, she gets pregnant -- which makes the couple super-happy -- since they need a son in order for God to fulfill his promises to them, so the Genesis story goes. Then, one day, when Isaac has grown to become a cherubic, flush-faced youth -- and very much the apple of his father's eye -- God tells Abraham to kill his beloved son. Abraham is down with this, and takes Isaac to Mount Moriah, where he plans to slit the boy's throat. Right before he brings the blade to the kid's neck, however, God tells him to swap Isaac with a lamb. Isaac lives, and the family probably had some great chops for dinner that night. Abraham, though compensated for his blind faith, just can't figure out why Isaac never calls.