Drawing on both the Hebrew Bible and archaeological evidence, Cynthia Shafer-Elliott describes what we know about everyday meals in the ancient Near East:
In 1 Kings 5:2-3, [the Bible] lists the daily provisions for King Solomon’s table: 30 kors of choice flour, sixty kors of meal, ten fat oxen, twenty pasture-fed cattle, 100 sheep, deer, gazelles, roebucks, and fatted fowl. [But these] are daily provisions for the [court] and do not reflect what the average ancient Israelite man, woman, or child ate.
Textual resources are an important source of information on any ancient society, but their original purpose was to provide accounts of monumental people and events such as military conquests and the reigns of kings. . . . We must therefore turn to other sources to understand the daily preparation and consumption of food in Iron Age Israel, especially archaeology. . . .
[Although it] is rarely included in discussions of ancient Israelite food and cooking, . . . the average Israelite meal consisted of a stew. Meat was not consumed on a regular basis by the average Israelite, so most stews were made from legumes and vegetables. This can be seen in the use of the Hebrew word nazid, which is used to describe stews (or pottage) of vegetables and/or legumes (as seen in Genesis. 25:29- 34, 2 Kings 4:38–40, and Haggai 2:12).