I want to make a historically accurate biblical meal for a group. I'm using chicken, and serving it with flatbread and an Israeli salad (sans tomatoes and other new world vegetables)

Does anyone have a recipe for a historical barbecue chicken or an idea of what sorts of spices were used back then?

edit: Just thought I'd let you guys know

I marinated the chicken in a mixture of rosemary, thyme, oregano, toasted sesame, garlic, salt and a bit of mint/pepper overnight. Then put them on skewers. Maybe not 100% authentic, but tasty.

  • 4
    Which biblical era are you interested in?
    – Eli Lansey
    Apr 17, 2012 at 22:23
  • 3
    The real question - how rich were the people of the time you're trying to imitate?
    – rfusca
    Apr 18, 2012 at 0:55
  • 2
    "historical barbecue chicken" sounds like an oxymoron.
    – rumtscho
    Apr 18, 2012 at 7:44
  • 2
    Take the chicken to the temple, Burn the fatty portions on the altar, and eat the rest. Apr 25, 2012 at 20:21

2 Answers 2


McCormick Science Institute: History of Spices:

Papyri from Ancient Egypt in 1555 BCE classified coriander, fennel, juniper, cumin, garlic, and thyme as health-promoting spices (3). Records from that time also note that laborers who constructed the Great Pyramid of Cheops consumed onion and garlic as a means to promote health.

The Spice Encyclopedia at Spice Advice appears to give history / origins for a large selection of spices.

  • Thanks, that spice encyclopedia looks good. I know that spices were super expensive back then, but I want just a reasonable approximation. A real style meal would proabbly have all the meat boiled, which is not...good. Apr 18, 2012 at 22:15

Chicken, heat, oil, salt, honey if you feel a need for sweetness. Spices were rare and expensive in biblical times, with even black pepper being used a commodity for gifts between nations.

  • 3
    Perhaps authentic but not much fun. Surely lemon would have been common as well as mediterranean herbs such as rosemary or oregano. Apr 17, 2012 at 22:02
  • @Sobachatina probably not lemon; that's an asian plant, which wasn't introduced into west asia until after the biblical era cf en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemon#History Apr 16, 2020 at 12:54
  • The honey would probably be date honey, not what we call honey.
    – Damila
    Apr 17, 2020 at 5:02

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