Margaret Feinberg: Scripture Is My Food for Thought

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A conversation with the author of ‘Taste and See: Discovering God among Butchers, Bakers, and Fresh Food Makers.’

Margaret Feinberg longs to see Christians awaken to the culinary themes in Scripture. “Once you start looking for food in the Bible,” she says, “you discover that it pops and sizzles on nearly every page.”

Her spiritual-gastronomic journey began a decade ago, as she researched her book Scouting the Divine: My Search for God in Wine, Wool, and Wild Honey. Through conversations with a vintner, a shepherd, and a beekeeper, Feinberg found that their close connection with these agrarian products transformed the ways they understood certain passages in the Bible. Their responses, in turn, brought new depth to her own reading, too.

Sensing that her work with food was not yet finished, Feinberg probed Scripture for more edible themes. She learned about salt and figs, olives and 18-minute matzoh. Feinberg recently spoke with Christianity Today about her most recent book, Taste and See: Discovering God among Butchers, Bakers, and Fresh Food Makers and the travels she took to research it.

Give us a quick overview of your research process. Where all did you travel in your research?

I went 410 feet down into a salt mine, harvested olives on the coast of Croatia, spent time with one of the world’s premier fig farmers, fished on the Sea of Galilee, and traveled to Yale University to bake matzoh with an expert in ancient grains. With each of these individuals, I opened up the Bible and asked, “How do you read passages related to the food that you plant or procure or process or prepare, not as theologians, but in light of what you do every day?”

Each of these adventures was both a spiritual and a culinary adventure. I got to know the foods—more about their history, more about how they are planted …

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