Catholic cuisine and drinking have experienced a new media revival recently.
Back in 2008, Jeff Young became interested in this relatively new podcasting thing and decided to try his hand with a podcast about cooking and Catholicism. The Catholic Foodie was born. A radio show, kids and a trip to the Holy Land later, Jeff Young is now the author of Around the Table with the Catholic Foodie – Middle Eastern Cuisine. (Listen to our podcast about his pilgrimage.)
Jeff's book is a mouth-watering journey through both his pilgrimage and some of the cultural food he loves. The photos are fantastic (we borrowed a few for this post) and the recipes are just begging you to try them. I've heard that there are plans to turn this into a series.
At one of the early Catholic New Media Celebrations, someone said that while having a Catholic Foodie was great, there could never be a Catholic Drinkie. Fortunately, Sarah Vabulas rose to the occasion and started the Catholic Drinkie blog. Just this month she released her first book, The Catholic Drinkie's Guide to Home Brewed Evangelism. Be sure to listen to our podcast.
Sarah's book focuses more on spirits than cuisine. Reading her book is like sitting down in pub with a bunch friends with a quality beer while discussing life and faith. Be prepared for a history of alcohol use in the Bible and beyond, recommendations on the best beers, how to brew your own, even in an apartment and how to share Catholicism with others without them running for the door.
Another book that was recently released is Drinking with the Saints – The Sinner's Guide to a Holy Happy Hour. When I first opened the book I didn't have any idea what to expect. It is certainly a handsome tome – hard cover, heavy and printed in America.
The majority of the book is a calendar of saints and feasts along with drink recipes that will carry you through the entire year, even Lent! While not as personable as the first two, this could easily be a book to regularly pull off the shelf “just to see what we can try with dinner”.
Father Leo Patalinghug, the priest who beat Bobby Flay in a cookoff, wrote a wonderful book called Grace Before Meals – Recipes and Inspirations for Family Meals and Family Life.
Father Leo wrote his book to bring families closer together at meal time. The book is divided into seasonal sections with prayers and questions (along with great recipes) for families to use at meal time. Yes, this is a cook book but it's also a fun way to share family meals again if you have gotten out of the habit.
Before there was a revival in Catholic cooking books among younger Catholics and even before there was a wave of monastery cookbooks, there was A Continual Feast.
In a way, A Continual Feast could be seen as a Catholic Joy of Cooking. Almost 300 recipes for every season of the year grace it's pages along with descriptions of Catholic customs and traditions. While A Continual Feast isn't a slick “foodie” cookbook with Pinterest-quality pictures of food you will never get to look the same way, it is a fabulous cookbook to have on your counter and you will use it again and again throughout the years.