by Jamie d’Antioc
Published: 1 March 2011
About God’s Cookbook
A fascinating mixture of history, religion and recipes, God’s Cookbook explores the spiritual traditions of the ancient Levant and how they influenced culinary development. It offers a unique insight into the holy books of the three Abrahamic faiths, (Christianity, Judaism and Islam), and their prescriptions for human nutrition, as well as practical guides allowing the modern-day cook to recreate classical dishes.
Abraham, Jesus and Muhammad, the founders of the world’s three principal monotheistic faiths, all originated from the same area of the world. These great men emerged in the Near East, in the lands bordering Mesopotamia (the region – commonly known as the cradle of civilization – where farming first began over ten thousand years ago) and all led similar lives, eating similar foods and adhering to the same abstemious, pious principles, guided by God. In terms of faith they have set an example for millions of people all over the world. The question remains why do we not follow their lifestyle guidelines as well? Should we not look to the environment, way of life and rules that nurtured the development of these great men, and indeed of our very civilization, in order to understand our own minds, bodies and surroundings? God’s Cookbook offers the opportunity to do just that.
This book does not aim to preach or dwell on the differences among the three faiths, but to celebrate similarities and shared spiritual roots. It is intended as an appreciation of the oneness of the three Abrahamic faiths through the medium of the most universal preoccupation since the dawn of time: food. At the same time, this book is difficult to categorize, encompassing not only cooking, but also art, religion and philosophy.
Dramatic changes in farming and food processing, particularly during the twentieth century, as well as the increased pace of modern life have dramatically altered our diet compared to that of our ancestors. Intensive farming has compromised the quality of life of our animals and consequently the quality of our food. Processed foods and a philosophy that more is better are destroying our physical and indeed mental and spiritual health.
This book employs history, archaeology and botany to put together a picture of the lifestyle of the people of the ancient Holy Land to inspire the modern reader. The detailed recipes enable one to recreate many of the dishes conceived at a time when need, seasonality and a holistic approach to food were of paramount concern; a simpler time certainly but nonetheless still full of intriguing flavours and exciting combinations of ingredients.
The text is complemented by numerous illustrations drawn from the rich archives of the Arcadian Group, an unparalleled resource of artistic treasures from the Holy Land. God’s Cookbook offers a tantalising passage into antiquity.
God’s Cookbook has won several prizes world-wide, including Best Digitally Printed Book at the British Book Awards and World’s Best Cookbook at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.
Praise for God’s Cookbook
‘Everyone who reads God’s Cookbook feels happier, and looks towards the past and the future in a new and positive way. The book is an achievement in publishing for the quality of the text and the unbelievable iconography. It is very ambitious in scope and delivers more than ever expected.’
– Edouard Cointreau, President, World Cookbook Awards
‘This book is a piece of art! Between its absolutely gorgeous, yet simple design from cover to cover, elegant illustrations, and excellent use of typography and white space, it is a model cookbook. Not to be overlooked, of course, are the recipes themselves, clearly printed and organized alongside visual embellishments and snippets of history, biblical tradition, health benefits, and quotes from the Old and New Testaments and the Quran, as well as other Muslim texts. A beautiful guide for those looking to eat foods and meals that are whole and healthy, closer to the earth and bound to ancient civilizations. A perfect reference for those wanting to explore different herbs and spices and methods of preparing foods using them, on the various ancient ties to many foods we enjoy today, and on the ties between faith and the act of preparing and eating food, fasting and feasting.’
– Writer’s Digest (U.S.A.) Book Competition, 2009
‘This was the most exquisitely produced digitally printed book. The jacket, the printed end papers and the clean, crisp reproduction of the images were excellent and of lithographic quality for a digitally printed book.’
– British Book Design and Production Awards, 2009
About Jamie d’Antioc
Jamie d’Antioc, an engineer by training, has previously served as chairman of several major financial institutions. His professional positions required him to eat in some of the world’s best restaurants, but he was always drawn back to the food that his 108-year-old grandmother prepared. It was her ideas about cuisine and its links to spirituality and longevity that inspired this book.