Healthy fruits of Shavuot abound in online recipes

Although it's customary to eat dairy foods on Shavuot, which begins Thursday evening, you may want to take a pass on some of the cholesterol. There are other ways to remember the holiday at your dining room table — if you look at the holiday's agricultural roots. In the days of the Temple, Shavuot was the time when farmers would bring the first harvest of seven special grains and fruits to Jerusalem. Nowadays, we have no Temple, but you can enjoy dishes made from the Seven Species: wheat and barley, grapes and figs, pomegranates, olives and honey.

Today some Shavuot food for your table — and food for thought — from the World Wide Web. (Some recipes may require substitutions if you plan to enjoy them in a meat meal.)

Wheat has always been considered fundamental to Jewish life. "If there is no flour there is no Torah; if there is no Torah there is no flour" (Pirke Avot 3:21). In Foods of the Bible —

— Phyllis Glazer presents a wonderful overview of how our ancestors would mill grains and explains what kinds of breads, cakes and other dishes would be prepared. She then shares recipes for Unleavened Flatbread, Wild Wheat Salad and Earthy Unyeasted Bread.

Glazer has dug deep into the Torah and has found many facts that will hearten barley aficionados. Barley – — is mentioned no less than 32 times in the Bible.

After you've soaked in barley's rich history, you can reach for something a bit more stout and read about the land of Israel's ancient ties to beer, usually brewed from barley. Archaeologists digging at Tel Isdar have uncovered 3,000-year-old beer mugs, which indicate that beer drinking in Israel went back to the days of King Saul and King David. The story is at