Spice It Up!

Scripture: Genesis 37

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review the first part of Joseph’s story.
  • Students will review that traders often transported spices in Joseph’s time.
  • Students will explore how spices can be used to make foods healthier and tastier by sampling and discussing the benefits.

Guiding Question: How can spices be used to make foods healthier and tastier?

Materials: bread cut in small pieces, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, turmeric

Procedure: Explain to the students that spices were traded by caravans of people traveling from Asia. Spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and turmeric were the most common. It is possible that such a caravan bought Joseph from his brothers. These traders were the Ishmaelites and therefore distant cousins of Joseph and his brothers through Abraham’s other son. Explain that spices are still important for us today and are much more convenient to access. Introduce the spices. Have students brainstorm foods and recipes where they have tasted the spices. Give each student four small pieces of bread. Encourage them to smell each spice and then try it on their bread. As students discuss which ones they do and do not like, explain the benefits of the ones they remark on.

Ginger: Prevent intestinal parasites (which is why it is good to eat with sushi)
Helps with stomach upsets and nausea (which is why parents give kids Ginger Ale when they are sick)
Cinnamon: Prevents diabetes by regulating blood sugar
Natural food preservative
The smell makes the brain more alert
Source of healthy minerals
Cardamom: Aids digestion
Turmeric: Reduces inflammation/ swelling

Additional Questions:

  • What was your favorite spice?
  • What can you add these spices to in your own recipes at home? (Cinnamon/ginger on toast, pudding, cereal, chocolate, fruit, etc. Turmeric on meat, vegetables, etc.)
  • Why would traders in Joseph’s time bring these spices to Egypt?

Supplemental Activities:

  • Make ginger tea: Slice fresh ginger root into boiling water. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain with a cheesecloth. Add water to taste in order to dilute the tea. (It is very strong and spicy at first!) Then add honey to taste. Discuss the health benefits of ginger and honey. It also helps with sore throats. Where else in the Bible is honey mentioned?
  • Have students research other stories in the Bible where spices are used.

Written by: Savannah Negas