The original meaning of the phrase "breaking bread," which dates back to Biblical times, referred to the physical act of breaking bread. Even in antiquity, bread was considered so essential to the maintenance of human life that there was no act more social than sharing one's bread with others. In those days, bread was never sliced, it was literally "broken" - or torn apart - to be shared.
Sharing of bread has become an important social ritual, and by the time of the first Kings of Israel, complex rituals had evolved as the order and precedence of sharing one's bread. So important in the Holy Land was this food staple, and the rituals involved in eating it, that we find no less than 600 references to bread in the Bible. Although most people ate the common kinds of flat bread, the rich could choose from as many as forty types.
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Iraqui Pita Bread | Lachuh | Oven Baked Flat Bread (Saluf)
Embassy of Israel; Israeli Foreign Ministry; Ruth's Kitchen; Jewish Agency for Israel; Manischewitz; Rogov's Ramblings- Reprinted with permission.
Daniel Rogov is the restaurant and wine critic for the daily newspaper Ha'aretz. He is also the senior writer for Wine and Gourmet Magazine and contributes culinary and wine articles to newspapers in Europe and the United States.