Dale F. Bentson, the restaurant reviewer for the PaloAltoOnline, praised the glories of gelato after a visit to Michael’s Gelato & Cafe on University Avenue in Palo Alto, California. Michael, the owner of the gelato palace, affirmed that his product reproduces the authentic flavors of Italian gelatos.
In his review of the gelato he tasted, Mr. Bentson writes that frozen desserts or ices are found throughout ancient civilizations, including among the people of the Old Testament. He writes: “The idea of frozen desserts dates back to the Old Testament when Isaac offered Abraham goat’s milk mixed with snow, telling him, Eat and drink: the sun is torrid and you can cool down.”
I have to confess that I did not know that Abraham loved ice cream, since this amusing story does not appear in the Old Testament. This story is one of those many legends that should have been included in Lois Ginzberg’s Legends of the Jews. In all probability, this story may be one of the many stories the Rabbis loved to tell. One thing is sure: this story does not appear in the Old Testament.
The story of Isaac giving ice cream to Abraham may be touching, but there are two things I do not understand about the biblical ice cream. First, if the sun was torrid, where did Isaac find snow? And again, if the sun was torrid, how come the snow did not melt?
It is amazing what we can learn about the Old Testament when we read the newspaper.
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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