Diet

Day by day friends brought offerings of flowers and fruit, so that the dinner table was laden with these beautiful tokens of love for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Whilst cutting off bunches of grapes and giving them to various guests, He talked to us of the joy of freedom, of how grateful we should be for the privilege of dwelling in safety, under just laws, in a healthy city, with a temperate climate, and brilliant light - “there was much darkness in the prison fortress of ‘Akka!” After His first dinner with us He said: “The food was delicious and the fruit and flowers were lovely, but would that we could share some of the courses with those poor and hungry people who have not even one.” What a lesson to the guests present! We at once agreed that one substantial, plentiful dish, with salad, cheese, biscuits, sweetmeats, fruits, and flowers on the table, preceded by soup and followed by coffee or tea, should be quite sufficient for any dinner. This arrangement would greatly simplify life, both as to cookery and service, and would undeniably be more in accordance with the ideals of Christianity than numerous dishes unnecessary and costly.
(Lady Blomfield, The Chosen Highway)


‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke about the excessive drinking and eating habits of the Europeans. ‘It is hardly two hours since they took their lunch and now they are having a full meal with their tea.’
(Mohi Sobhani, Mahmud’s Diary, Mar 25, 1912)


Shortly before leaving Denver, someone asked Him about eating meat. The Master noted that birds have beaks so they can pick up seats while goats and cows have teeth for eating grass. Carnivores have claws like forks and sharp teeth for eating meat. Man, however, does not have teeth for eating meat. “God", He said, “has given him beauty of form and has created him blessed and not rapacious and bloodthirsty.”
(Earl Redman, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Their Midst, p. 206)


‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s recipe for pilau:
Lamb-cut in very small pieces-cutting away all fat, bone, gristle. Put butter in frying pan and when it bubbles, stir in the meat and continue to stir constantly until the meat is done. Season with salt. Raisins-look them over and wash them. Cook with equal amount of Syrian pine nuts-in another frying pan in same manner as lamb-in butter-stir nuts and raisins constantly. When ready to serve, mix most of nuts and raisins with the meat, using more meat than nuts and raisins. Place this mixture in the center of a serving platter and arrange a border of cooked rice around it, using the remaining nuts and raisins as decoration, according to taste.
(Julia M Grundy, Ten Days in the Light of Akka)


Some evenings His meal consisted only of a cup of milk and a piece of bread. He described it as a healthy meal, and recalled that Bahá’u’lláh had said that during His sojourn in Sulaymaniyyih His food was just milk most of the time, and sometimes milk and rice cooked together.
(H.M. Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá - The Centre of the Covenant, p. 392)


The Master … ate little food. He was known to begin His day with tea, goat’s milk cheese and wheat bread. And at the evening meal a cup of milk and a piece of bread might suffice. He considered the latter a healthy meal. Had not Bahá’u’lláh, while at Sullaymaniyyih, subsisted mostly on milk?
(Sometimes Bahá’u’lláh ate rice and milk cooked together.) ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s sparse diet also included herbs and olives – it rarely included meat.
(Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá)


Mary Bolles (Maxwell) took an early pilgrimage to the prison city. She heard that the food man eats is of no importance, as its effect endures but a short time. But the food of the spirit is life to the soul and its effects endure eternally.
(Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá)


Their food was of the simplest: lentils, dried beans, delicious olives and their oil, and sometimes milk, eggs, and even some goat’s meat.
(Lady Blomfield, The Chosen Highway)


He does not permit his family to have luxuries. He himself eats but once a day, and then bread, olives, and cheese suffice him.
(Myron Henry Phelps and Bahiyyih Khanum, Life and Teachings of Abbas Effendi)