Christians all around the world are going back on their diets after stuffing themselves with all kinds of goodies, as they celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ during the Christmas period.  Gifts were exchanged; families went on holiday, to church services and to parties.  However the universal aspect of Christmas shared by all races and tribes, is the variety and abundance of food that very special day. Parents go to great lengths to provide their families with all the wonderful delights that we all associate with the festivities. From ham to turkey, Christmas cake to mince pies, tasty treats are always the order of the day when it’s Christmas.

 However, has any one of us ever thought what the people of Bethlehem could have been eating on that night when Jesus was born? The choice of food must have been much narrower and simpler than it is today. Boiled vegetables (with a bit of herbs for flavour) and home-made bread would have been the average meal in a Jewish home during that period. With meat being a luxury, fish was the other alternative for those who stayed in fishing provinces.

 Below is a recipe which reflects the simplicity of that time. With the additional seasoning and salad dressings available, you can personalize this dish to suit your preferences.

 ISRAELI SALAD

 Ingredients

6 cucumbers, diced

4 roma (plum) tomatoes, seeded and diced

5 green onions, sliced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1/3 cup chopped garlic

1 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/2 cup minced fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

 Toss the cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, red pepper, garlic, parsley, and mint together in a bowl. Drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice over the salad and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to serve.. Enjoy with freshly baked bread or rolls.