The First, First Supper

Our first, first century supper

Our first, first century supper

We prepared and ate our first, first century dinner. I use the plural tense because my wife and son shared the experience. While on the subject of my family, I have been asked several times if they are joining me in this experiment. No. Well, sort of. I am the cook in the family. This means that, at least for dinner, they eat what I prepare. It also means that, for breakfast and lunch, they will eat everything non-first century that they can touch or order. Burritos and potato chips will remain a staple of my son’s diet.

Back to the first supper. It was a tasty meal with a diversity of textures and flavors, and yet it remained true to the type of dinner that was served in the first century. A lentil stew was the centerpiece of the meal. Dinner also included cucumbers and yogurt, lettuce with a simple vinaigrette, Mediterranean-style olives and flat bread. I made a lot of the lentil stew, so we have dined on leftovers. It tastes better each time it is reheated.

Another rule for my diet: For the most part, I will be eating meals similar to those eaten by a first century farmer and his family. Well over fifty percent of the calories consumed came from whole grains and legumes. Average families also ate vegetables and fruits that were in season and dried fruit and pickled vegetables the rest of the year. By virtue of City Market, I will have access to fresh vegetables this winter. Eggs and milk products, such as yogurt and cheese, completed the average menu. Only at the Sabbath feast each Friday evening did they eat fish or poultry (doves, pigeons or chicken. The City Market in Pagosa Springs does not carry doves or pigeons, so I will eat chicken). Red meat was reserved for very special occasions, usually for a festival celebration like Passover or a banquet for honored guests. Goat meat and lamb were the usual fare, beef only when the cow was too old to pull a cart or plow.

You should know that a first century day laborer did not eat this well. Their dinners, when they had work, consisted of bread with beans or porridge and maybe an onion or a few leaves of wild lettuce and a glass of wine that tasted more like vinegar than a good Shiraz. The wealthiest people ate meat a little more often and had access to imported foods and a greater diversity of spices. Except for governors, emperors, and the wealthiest of the wealthy, the daily meals were vegetarian.

Enjoy the feast.

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2 Responses to “The First, First Supper”

  1. lisa Says:

    If this is the lentil stew I’ve had at your house before, it is wonderful!!

  2. Sally Says:

    The lentil stew is VERY tasty! So far, I don’t feel at all deprived. Of course, I am not sticking strictly to the diet. But if Doug keeps dropping the pounds, I may be convinced!

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