Food in Christianity

  • An Ethiopian butcher shop.
Age Level
The topic of food in Christianity is an ideal opportunity to assign an interactive class project, as children tend to show enthusiasm about learning combined with eating! The key is to ground the assignment in theology and cultural practices, so that students clearly see the learning implications of the project, and not just an opportunity to eat something.

Learning Context

Catholics & Cultures provides a brief background of food practices in Catholicism, with relevant links. Before undertaking a project that invites students to delve into specific food cultures, they should possess a broad understanding of food’s role in religion, and know that Christianity does not emphasize food taboos. Students should be able to define and explain:

  • What kosher law is and its biblical origins
  • Basic food practices in Islam (halal and Ramadan)
  • Food taboos in Buddhism and Hinduism
  • Basic theology of the Eucharist; concept of the feast in Christianity; fasting an abstinence
  • Underlying concept of the spirituality of the body (if relevant to course content)

Teacher resource: Food and Faith in Christian Culture, edited by Ken Albana and Trudy Eden (New York: Columbia, 2011).

Suggested Project

Students, in groups of 2-4, choose a specific food practice in Christianity that they somehow enact in front of the class; they will have to be creative about thinking about how their reenactment will work. They should be assessed on how well the reenactment communicates the underlying idea/belief behind the food practice. The teacher should describe examples of a good reenactment. Students can also approach the topic historically through reenacting significant food scenes.