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Jan 5, 2000 09:01 PM

Speaking of red stuff.

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Something that I have been wondering about for a long time: in Genesis 25, (Parshat Toldot) we read how Jacob buys Esau's birthright for a pot of red stuff. What could that have been? Most of our red food gets it color from tomatoes or peppers, both post-Columbian. I have heard of traditions identifying the red stuff with mujaddarah, the levantine lentil stew, though I don't know what would make it red stuff-- lots of browned onions don't seem to qualify, though they do make it very yummy. Could beets have done it? What else would make food red in the middle east 3500 years ago?

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  1. Perhaps pomegranate? Sumac?