Vegetarianism and the
Original Mediteranean Diet


The peoples of the Scriptures followed a predominantly vegetarian diet for practical rather than philosophical considerations. Most households maintained only a small number of stock animals, some of which were saved for religious offerings. The other were undoubtedly more valuable to their owners as a source of fiber (wool), milk, and milk products. Meat was reserved mainly for special occasions or religious celebrations. The elite, those of the palaces and temples, however, enjoyed meat and fowl on a more regular basis. Goat was the most common meat they consumed, followed by lamb and mutton. Fatted calves, stalled oxen, and fatted fowl (probably geese) were highly prized for their fat content Unlike modem health-conscious cooks, the ancient Hebrews loved fat and included it in their dishes whenever they had the chance. Although most meat came from domesticated animals, Hebrews from all strata of society supplemented their diets to varying degrees with game like wild goat, gazelle, antelope, roebuck, fallow deer, pigeon, dove, partridge, and quail. Ewes, goats, and kine (cows) provided them with milk and butter, as well as with soured or curdled mild products like cheese and yogurt.


A Biblical Feast
Foods from the Holy Land

By Kitty Morse
Ten Speed Press
Paperback, $14.95
Hand-tinted polaroid transfer photos
Includes bibliography and index
ISBN: 0-89815-965-2
Information provided by the publisher.


A Biblical Feast
Foods from the Holy Land



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