Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tasty Bible Stories

You probably already know cooking with kids makes good family fun, provides children with a life-skill, and helps teach basic math concepts. And now, with Tasty Bible Stories by Tami Lehman-Wilzig, you can add "learning about the Bible" to the list of good things cooking can do for your kids.

In this unique book, an old Testament Bible story is retold in about two pages. A sidebar offers facts about food related to the story, and the following page offers two recipes made with that food.

For example, the first story is that of Adam and Eve. Not surprisingly, the food attached to that story is apples (although the author admits we don't really know what sort of fruit was on the Tree of Knowledge, so she includes another popular biblical fruit: figs). A recipe for baked apple and a recipe for figs and sour cream are included.

For the story of Noah, grape recipes are included (because Noah planted a vineyard after the flood); for the story of angelic visitors to Sarah and Abraham, we have pita pockets and hummus (possible Bible-time breakfast foods); for Jacob and Esau, stew; for Joseph, pasta (because Egyptians invented pasta...who knew?); for baby Moses, an eggplant omelet and fatoosh bread salad (Egyptian foods); for the story of Passover, matzah brie, cold egg soup, and charoset; for the story of manna, tofu (ha!); for the story of the Jews entering Canan, grape juice and carrots (foods of the land); for Sisera, hot milk with cinnamon; for Ruth, barley and onion; for Queen Esther's feast, Persian rice and kebab; and more.

What I Like: This is a fun way to make Bible stories come to life. The author's writing style is fun ("'I have a grape idea!' he [Noah] called out happily one day. 'You mean GREAT idea,' corrected Shem. 'No, I mean GRAPE," insisted Noah. 'I'm going to grow grapes!'") and Katherine Janus Kahn's illustrations are bold and vivid.

What I Dislike: At one point, Moses tells his complaining tribe, "For God's sake, are you at it again?" Parents should also know this book is written for Jewish children; therefore, it includes passages like this: "Each year we retell the story of the exodus from Egypt by reading the Haggadah, and we eat matzah, the original fast food...") Also, don't expect the recipes in this book (mostly geared toward the upper end of the publisher's recommended age group) to be accurate to biblical times; they are simply a way to help make certain Bible stories more memorable.

Overall Rating: Very good.

Age Appeal: 4 - 8.

Publishing Info: Kar-Ben Publishing, 2003; ISBN: 978-1580130806; paperback, $10.95

Buy Now at for $9.31

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