Monday, November 14, 2011


When we pray the Our Father we ask, “…give us this day our daily bread…”  Food, like air and water, are vital to life; whether it is of our physical need for sustenance or spiritual, it is our hunger for and connection with Divine Providence.  Below are some recommended books and DVDs that may enlighten your journey.

In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.

In Dining in the Kingdom of God author Eugene La Verdiere sees the origins of the Eucharist in Luke's Gospel not only in overtly Eucharistic texts such as the multiplication of the loaves, the Last Supper, and Emmaus, but also at smaller meals such as his meal with Levi, his encounter with Zaccheus, Martha and Mary, and his famous (or infamous if you are the host) dinners with Pharisees. La Verdiere's treatment of these events shows that Luke's Gospel is truly the Eucharistic Gospel and challenges the way that readers approach the Eucharist and live as Eucharistic people.

In Women, Food and God: an unexpexted path to almost everything author Geneen Roth begins with her most basic concept: The way you eat is inseparable from your core beliefs about being alive. Your relationship with food is an exact mirror of your feelings about love, fear, anger, meaning, transformation and, yes, even God.   A timeless and seminal work, Women Food and God shows how going beyond the food and the feelings takes you deeper into realms of spirit and soul—to the bright center of your own life.

In Babette's Feast, a woman flees the French civil war and lands in a small seacoast village in Denmark, where she comes to work for two spinsters, devout daughters of a puritan minister. After many years, Babette unexpectedly wins a lottery, and decides to create a gourmet French dinner--which leads the sisters to fear for their souls. The invited village elders all resolve not to enjoy the meal, but can their moral fiber resist the sensual pleasure of Babette's cooking.  This lovely movie is impeccably simple, yet its slender narrative contains a wealth of humor, melancholy, and hope.

Big Night is an intimate look at the immigrant struggle to attain the American Dream, set in New Jersey in the 1950s. The brothers in Big Night--chef Primo (Tony Shalhoub) and businessman Secondo (Tucci)--have come to open a bistro named The Paradise that serves the finest in traditional, authentic Italian cuisine. It’s about the struggle between art and commerce and the risk of staying true to yourself.

Mostly Martha is the domineering chef at a fancy restaurant, has her rigid routine broken when her sister dies in a car wreck, leaving behind her 9-year-old daughter Lina. Martha takes the girl in, but has no gift for maternal expression; she offers Lina food, but Lina refuses to eat. Meanwhile, her control over her kitchen is threatened when her boss hires a buoyant Italian named Mario to assist, and Martha finds herself flailing in an effort to reestablish control of her life.  The relationship between Martha, Lina and Mario is portrayed with all its awkwardness and complications intact; the result is wonderfully affecting.

Bon Appétit

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