By Lucia Ferrara
Our bodies are complex vessels we use to travel through this life, vessels for our physical and spiritual selves. Thus, we can speak of the need to nourish body and spirit.
Of course, one has to eat to keep oneself simply alive, but countless generations and deep experience also tells us that while eating can and sometimes is out of necessity a solitary act, eating most often happens in meals, that is in sharing food with others.
Video #1: How to make pie crust
The sharing that happens around a dinner table is a unique thing humans do. Food is shared, but also much more. Stories are told, laughter is shared, tears are shed, secrets are reveals, and dreams become vocal. The dinner table is a place of human connection. There, we experience God’s gifts, love and presence.
Sharing food helps us reflect on current realities and helps form our souls inwardly, upwardly and outwardly. Eating together can be a sacramental act that brings healing to our hurting and hungry world.
The grace of shared meals, though, can begin long before people take their seats around the table. It extends back into the acts of preparation for the meal.
Video #2: Make a Coconut Cream Pie:
Cooking connects us to people and challenges us to channel our energies and desire to a common purpose. In the process, if we are open to it, we can discover more deeply who we really are and where we come from. Whether I am chopping on an old laminate counter top or a brand-new granite one, my focus is on the connection of my spirit with food. This defines the outcome of the meal, not what I am cooking or the elegance of my surroundings! Cooking for me is discovering that presence or power of the divine that makes me dig deeper into my spirit and soul. It becomes a part of who I am what I am connected to. The outcome of the dish or even the entire meal reflects how we feel inside.
These feelings are intensified when cooking is done with a group of people, of family or friends.
Cooking and spirituality are important because they bring us together with all walks of life. Our religious traditions reinforce this. Look, for example, how often Jesus references food, bread and wine. His parables speak of yeast, seasonings, oil and flour. The most important moments in Jesus life and ministry on earth — think of the wedding feast of Cana, the Last Supper, the meal on the road to Emmaus — center around a shared meal. This is spirituality that I call “table fellowship.”
The articles and videos in the Cooking and Spirituality Series can be found here.
In our culture today, we have lost the art of cooking and spirituality because our moral standard has changed as well. Everyone is busy with “things” and we just do not have time to cook a meal and eat together and have table fellowship. This art is lost in today’s world and we need to start bringing our cultural traditions back and make breaking bread together a priority.
I hope that this series of articles and videos on Cooking and Spirituality will help us regain what we have lost. With Cooking and Spirituality, we sustain our bodies and souls with the spirit of food and fellowship. This is what gives up energy to seek the beauty in all of God’s creations.
[Lucia Ferrara, the Director of Hospitality at Precious Blood Renewal Center and the lead organizer here of Parent Cafes. Share your thoughts with Lucia or ask her questions at email@example.com.]
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The ingredients for the first two videos are:
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
4-6 tablespoons ice water
2 sticks butter (very cold) diced
Makes two shells. Watch the Video: https://youtu.be/T04M-UASpHA
Coconut Cream Pie Filling
1 bag shredded coconut
3 cups half & half or whipping cream
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs beaten
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
Fills one pie shell. Watch the Video: https://youtu.be/0_y7F-j69uc