Inside take on a Folger, Bodleian, and Ransom Center exhibition on the creation and afterlife of the King James Bible on the 400th anniversary of its publication.

Food and the Bible at an Informative “Last Feast”

Missouri Valley College event

Passover food variety

Missouri Valley College event

Professor Beverly Katz explains what each food represents for Passover

Missouri Valley College event

Library Director Pamela Reeder serves pottage from meat

Missouri Valley College’s Murrell Memorial Library held its final event for Manifold Greatness on Tuesday, April 2. The Last Feast featured foods from the time of the Bible along with dishes from Shakespeare’s era, when the 1611 King James Bible was translated.

Beverly Katz, assistant professor of business at the college, kicked off the event with a presentation of the different foods and how they are important to the Jewish faith during Passover. She also explained how the types of Passover foods changed as Jews moved from the Mediterranean area to central Europe. As some Jews moved north, hardier foods such as potatoes, noodles, and soups were introduced to the diet. For the Missouri Valley College event, items representing this later period included pottage from meat, Toastees, and King James biscuits. (At the time of the King James Bible, Jews were excluded from England, however, having been expelled in 1290; the ban was not lifted until the mid-1650s.)

Missouri Valley College students sampling food

Missouri Valley students sampling food

With such foods on the menu as hummus, Curacao haroset, King James biscuits, moretum, pottage from meat, Toastees, Passover crackers, figs, dates, almonds, oranges, matzo, pickled fish, cucumber salads, and bulgur and parsley salad, attendees had plenty of Passover samplings.

Missouri Valley College event

Reference Librarian Mary Slater laughs as a student tries the soup

The Last Feast was also a reminder that food is a very important part of traditions. Food brings families and communities closer during celebrations, holidays, weddings and funerals. The Bible is no stranger to relating food and gatherings, as in this verse from First Corinthians 10:31 as it appears in the King James Bible: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

Jae Steinkuhler is the special events coordinator at Murrell Library, Missouri Valley College.

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