Bible Review 9:4, August 1993

The Oldest Cookbooks in the World

By William W. Hallo

When the three messengers visited Abraham to announce the forthcoming birth of his beloved son Isaac, Abraham demonstrated his hospitality by inviting the messengers to a meal before even learning what their mission was. “Let me fetch a morsel of bread that you may refresh yourselves,” he said (Genesis 18:5) with modest understatement, before proceeding to entertain them with a feast fit for kings. For in the same breath, he instructed Sarah: “Quick, three measures of choice flour! Knead and make cakes!” while he himself “ran to the herd, took a calf, tender and choice, and gave it to the servant-boy, who hastened to prepare it. He took curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them; and he waited on them under the tree as they ate” (Genesis 18:6–8).a

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