Biblical Israeli Cuisine Prepared By a Food Archeologist

E-mail Kathleen Foster

We all know about the heavenly wine the guests drank at The Wedding at Cana … but what did they eat?

My husband and I got a pretty good idea at a restaurant in Jerusalem called Eucalyptus. I am in Jerusalem filling in for FOX News Radio, and my husband came to visit.

The chef, who has been called a food archeologist, calls his menu, "Biblical Israeli Cuisine." He is inspired by foods written about in the Bible and many of his recipes were passed down to him from his family. Eager to try it all, we ordered from the tasting menu, which the chef calls, "The Celebration Feast."

Everything from the wine to the dessert was made with ingredients grown in Israel. The chef came to our table and introduced us to the main herbs and spices that he uses. One of the dried twigs he held up had several pods hanging on to it. We didn't know what it was until he cracked open one of pods and out spilled the tiny mustard seeds made famous by the Bible story.

The 12 course meal started out with the traditional flat bread and various condiments like hummus, eggplant, red pepper and something we'd never seen before: pickled almonds. Almonds are soaked for hours until they swell and soften to an olive-like consistency.

Other highlights were a soup made from young cracked wheat, and the centerpiece, Muglaba, an upside down chicken casserole.

I was asked to help with the grand unveiling. Standing over a carefully overturned pot, the whole restaurant counted as I waved my hand over the pot seven times as instructed. Told to say a little prayer, I put my hands together and prayed I didn't make a big mess. Luckily the rice and chicken concoction came out in a perfect mold.

One thing the ancients enjoyed, but chef spared us: grasshoppers and crickets.

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Kathleen Foster is a general assignment Field Producer based in New York. She started at FOX as an intern in 1996. She has covered the Iraq war, the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, and the fight for Anna Nicole's body.