This is a common tradition (the term "carob" was eating away at the back of my
head, trying to get something out, and when Mij mentioned "St. John's Bread," I
finally remembered that there is a tradition that what John the Baptist ate in the
desert was locust beans, not locusts. Locust bean is another word for carob.)
Unfortunately this is an issue only in modern European languages, not in the
original Greek, which clearly indicates that it was a great big bowl of greasy
grimy....locust guts (and I forgot my spoon). The reason for the tradition,
besides the yuck factor is that many people assumed insects aren't kosher. And
most of them aren't, but one verse in Leviticus (iirc, 11:20-21) explicitly gives
an exception for four varieties of locusts. Which is kinda practical, when you
think about it. I mean, they have the chutzpah to eat all your grain, so why
should you be forbidden to doing unto them what they've tried to do unto you, so
to chirp?

"Elmer L. Fairbank" wrote:

> At 05:30 12/19/2002 +0000, Gib Mij clarifies in his inimitable manner:
> >Carob is a unique substance that has an appearance similar to cocoa. It
> >comes from the Ceratonia siliqua, an evergreen tree native to the
> >Eastern Mediterranean area. This relatively wild tree, which grows up to
> >50 feet tall, bears fruit at the age of six to eight years with a
> >greater abundance of fruit every other year. The average annual yield
> >per tree is 200-250 lbs. of fruit. Carob, or St. John's Bread, as it is
> >commonly known, is a large (4-12 inch long) dried, bean-like pod. Pods
> >are harvested from September to November. Inside the carob pods are tiny
> >beans which are used to make locust bean gum, a stabilizer and thickener
> >in foods. The carob pods themselves are roasted and ground into carob
> >powder. Carob powder can be used to replace cocoa at levels from 25-50%.
> >While carob performs like cocoa, it differs in sugar and fat content.
> >Cocoa may contain up to 23% fat and 5% sugar while carob has .7% fat and
> >a natural sugar content of 42-48%. Nutritionally, carob has none of the
> >allergy-producing antibodies or the caffeine stimulant theobromine found
> >in the cocoa bean. Carob contains as much vitamin B1 as asparagus or
> >strawberries, the same amount of niacin as lima beans, lentils or peas
> >and more vitamin A than eggplant, asparagus and beets. It is also high
> >in vitamin B2, calcium, magnesium and iron. In addition to being a
> >delicious and healthful foodstuff, carob powder is used as a tobacco
> >flavoring and in the production of some pharmaceuticals.
> >
> >Matthew 3:1-6 (KJV) In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in
> >the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of
> >heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet
> >Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye
> >the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the same John had his
> >raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his
> >meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all
> >Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him
> >in Jordan, confessing their sins.
> Are you saying that John ate carobs instead of fat little insects?
> Till the confused
> //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
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Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

“Knowledge may give weight, but accomplishments give lustre, and many more people
see than weigh.” – Lord Chesterfield

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author
solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer,
nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.

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