Irving, Texas

Heard in the Pews – Feb 10th

This is Canon Victoria’s letter in our weekly Parish News email.  To sign up for our newsletter, please visit: Constant Contact. To see the full weekly Parish News email from Feb 10th, please visit:


Is cooking a craft that if perfected, has spiritual implications?  Does a good meal summon up our deep calling to rejoice in God’s creation? Tentatively, I think so.  When you cook, you start with some givens, as with creation.  Some potatoes taste better baked than boiled, so bake them.  Others do better boiled.  Washing rice does make for better risotto.  If you have to overcook or undercook the vegetables, lean toward undercooking—carrots excepted.  Olive oil, like grace, improves most things. Use fresh ingredients whenever possible.  Still, a good cook can take a few “ordinary” things and make them taste extraordinary-like a great artist can make us see things we know, but have not “seen” in that way before.

I am beginning a word study on “food” in Scripture for the fun of it, and because I never have.   I find, like air, that it is everywhere in the Scriptures.   God begins in Paradise by giving humans dominion and food, all fruits and seeds. It is only after the fall that humans become flesh-eaters.  A feast—a lot of food carefully prepared is a symbol of happiness in both Testaments, and each Sunday, we say that the Eucharist is a foretaste of what God is preparing for us when the Kingdom fully arrives.   All of our major holidays are filled with food, and memory. We celebrate Christ’s birth and Resurrection.  We celebrate the gift of freedom and the provision of food.  Our food is redolent with memory and anticipation.  Yet we are warned about eating without being mindful of other’s needs and of focusing so on our food that we dull to the things of God.   What is the food that always means home to you? How do you guard against being too focused on food?  How did you learn to cook, if you did?   If you answer, I will try to post some of your answers.  (Part one of several)


–Victoria Heard

One Comment

  1. What is the food that always means home to you? My mother was not Italian, but she whipped up amazing Italian dishes. A particular favorite for our whole family was a yummy one-dish skillet meal with ground beef, onions, garlic, canned tomatoes and tomato sauce, macaroni, shredded cheddar, and grated Parmesan. We probably ate this concoction at least three times a month — and there were rarely any leftovers, a smart way to satisfy a hungry family of five with one pound of ground beef. Mom variously dubbed this dish Pasta Fagioli, Johnny Marzetti, and even Slumgullion — but it always tasted the same wonderful way, and she never used a recipe to make it. And neither do I! 🙂

    How do you guard against being too focused on food? I think I AM too focused on food, usually thinking ahead about my grocery list or the next meal I need to cook. But I strongly believe in the “Eat to Live, not Live to Eat” philosophy, and I try to become engaged in personal and social activities that don’t include eating: walking and hiking with our dogs, reading, writing, enjoying movies, attending arts events, lectures and classes. Of course, it’s always fun to dine with friends at home or out and about, but we can enjoy each other in many other ways with a lower calorie count!

    How did you learn to cook, if you did? My mom and dad were both wonderful cooks and taught me how to make basic meals for the family. Everyone in our family cooked, even my two brothers. Shared cooking was fun and also took the meal-planning and preparing work off my mom’s shoulders now and then, which she appreciated. As I grew up, I just kept trying new recipes and watching what my friend cooked. Of course, one of those “friends” is Jacques Pepin, courtesy of PBS!

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