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Foods and Culinary Utensils of the Ancients

Cheese consisted of coagulated buttermilk


"Butter

and honey" and "milk and honey" are in Biblical language synonyms of the diet of prosperity.

The butter then used differed from our own product inasmuch as the hot sun to which the cream was exposed when being churned rendered the completed article more liquid. Even to-day in some parts of the Orient the butter served to visiting Europeans has to be manufactured especially for them from cold cream.

Cheese consisted of coagulated buttermilk, dried until hard and then ground.

Oil was made from various vegetables, but that of the olive was most esteemed.

Wine and water were carried in vessels made of the skins of goats, kids or other clean animals. After the animal had been killed, the head, feet and tail were cut off and the body was drawn out of the skin, which was then tanned (acacia bark being sometimes called into service). The hairy part of the skin formed the exterior of the vessel, the legs and the end of the tail being sewn up. When filled, the neck was tied up.

An ox skin was used to make a "gerba" which formed a storage chamber for large quantities of liquor. One of average size contained sixty gallons.

The milk of cows, sheep, camels and goats was drank. When fresh it was known as "khalab," when sour as "khema." The latter was used in the composition of salads and

for cooking meats, etc.

A strengthening beverage was made by heating milk over a slow fire and then adding a small piece of old khema or other acid to make it coagulate. Much of this was bottled and kept for future use. It was the universal refreshment offered strangers and the ancient Jew, like the modern Arab, refused to accept payment for it.

The other drinks of the people were barley water; sherbet (made by partially dissolving fig cake in water); pomegranate wine; beer made from barley with herbs such as the lupin and skirret; honey, date, fig, millet and grape wines and a drink made by placing raisins in jars of water and burying them until fermentation had taken place. Water was imbibed in large quantities after meals.

Vinegar was made by mixing barley with wine, or soured wine was used.

The prohibition expressed in the ninth chapter of Genesis against animal blood as an article of diet was repeated with detailed instructions in Leviticus. Instead of devoting a large amount of space to recounting the regulations there expressed, it will perhaps be better to make only a general classification of them.

There were interdicted: _Sheretz haaretz_, creeping things; _sheretz haof_, winged insects, with the exception of the fully developed locust; of _sheretz hamayim_, creatures dwelling in water, those which were not provided with fins and scales; of the feathered species those which were not furnished by nature with the implements with which to clean themselves; of the quadrupeds and animals of the chase those that did not chew the cud or were not provided with split hoofs.

The fat parts of animals were also reserved for the altar and temple offerings.

Special interdictions were announced against dead or injured animals; though these did not extend to strangers. In the New Testament, these laws are also mentioned as applying to healthy animals that had been strangled or killed in any manner other than that prescribed.

In a word, the Mosaic laws prohibited the use of any flesh that was diseased, bruised or rendered unwholesome by the presence of too much blood and also of the flesh of animals that were not cleanly in habits, diet or body.


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