I was talking to my friend Fr. Leo Patalinghug at a youth conference a few weeks ago, and he mentioned that a new edition of his cookbook was coming out at the end of July. After our conversation, I realized how similar the goals of Grace Before Meals and Making All Things New are. In some sense, I guess I shouldn't be surprised at that. We have been friends for many years now, and we both are striving to help people integrate faith into their daily lives. Plus, we love to cook.
Fr. Leo is a great cook. We've prepared meals together in the past, and I'm always amazed at his culinary talents. His idea of bringing families together to not only share a meal, but, maybe more importantly, prepare it together, is one worth supporting.
When talking about preparing a meal, he doesn't mean taking a box of lasagna out of the freezer and putting it in the oven. Instead, he reminds us that "the natural informality and familiarity of the kitchen" should be a place where families and friends can be comfortable talking.
When I designed my own kitchen, I wanted to create a very casual environment where I could talk with people while I cooked. Now, when I invite friends over for one of my sacred feasts, we start our appetizers while I'm cooking the main course. I feel like many people are afraid to cook, thinking it's too complicated.
Of course, this isn't necessarily true, and a shared goal I have with Fr. Leo is to make cooking simple, fun and enjoyable. We also want to remind people God is present with them all the time, even in the most basic daily events like cooking and eating.
Be sure to check out his website. There's a lot of good info, and plenty of tasty recipes, although it's a little light on vegetarian recipes. I'm going to have to talk to him about that :)