A great way to recognize our Catholic heritage is to celebrate Jesus and *his* heritage – being Jewish. On Holy Thursday, recreate (as close as we can) the Last Supper meal – or Seder for Passover – that Jesus and his disciples shared. While none of us were there, and there’s not a perfect menu for us to refer to, there are some items we can take straight from scripture – such as the unleavened bread and wine – and others from a historic record. Below is a sample menu of foods that Jesus and his disciples may have been dining on during the last supper. This Holy Thursday, invite your friends and family over and celebrate your own Last Supper! (we even have a great project you can do and use it as part of the decoration / celebration)
Preparing a Last Supper Meal
- This week, write out your guest list. Determine how many friends or family you would like to invite, and send your invitations out. Be mindful of mass times at your parish, ensuring your dinner starts after the Holy Thursday mass ends.
- Determine your menu (see below for ideas), and assign something for each guest to bring. Share the *why* behind each dish…as in why it’s being included in your dinner. It’s probably best for you to make the main course and have guests bring some of the side dishes and beverages. Unless you’re a bad chef. Like me. Then definitely assign the main course to someone else.
- Prepare your home! On the day of the dinner, bring out the china and prepare a beautiful celebratory table. Create a beautiful antiqued menu for all to see. This would be in keeping with how the Seder was celebrated.
- unleavened bread: scriptural, was at the Last Supper meal and became part of our Holy Communion. You can pick up Matzo at most stores.
- olive oil: scriptural, was promised in Deuteronomy 8:8
- honey: scriptural, was promised in Deuteronomy 8:8
- figs: scriptural, was promised in Deuteronomy 8:8
- olives: scriptural, was promised in Deuteronomy 8:8
- wheat & barley: scriptural, was promised in Deuteronomy 8:8. I’d recommend a barley & wheat salad…always a great side dish. While not all the ingredients may have been at the last supper, the salad sounds delish!
- bitter herbs: these are traditionally served at a Seder representing the bitterness of slavery that the Israelites went through. As Jesus was a Jew, these would likely have been served. Bitter herbs include horseradish and spring radishes.
- lamb (you can choose the cut): there is much debate as to whether there was a lamb at the Last Supper. If the Apostles were preparing for Passover, this would have included sacrificing and preparing a Passover Lamb (Exodus 12:21). However, historians disagree on the day that the meal was celebrated (was it two nights before? one night before). Most recently, Pope Benedict announced in 2007 that Jesus ate dinner sans lamb as Jesus himself became the sacrificial lamb the very next day. So…it’s up to you! You may want to make a butter lamb instead of a meat one – it’s another great way to dress up your table, and you can use it again for Easter.
- red wine: scriptural, was at the Last Supper meal and became part of our Holy Communion
- pomegranate juice: pomegranates are scriptural, as was promised in Deuteronomy 8:8. Due to the season, these likely weren’t at the table but they’re included here as they are quoted in scripture *and* they make a great beverage for anyone not drinking red wine. You can find pomegranate juice at most grocery stores.
- haroses: a sweet dessert made of apples, cinnamon, and sweet wine traditionally served at Passover. When mixed together, it looks similar to and represents the mortar that the Jews used in servitude while locked in slavery.
Just for fun, this post links up at these great Catholic and quilting sites!