It matters because it nourishes our bodies and nourishes our souls.
It matters because it draws friends and family together, around one table, creating community over a shared loaf of bread.
Above all, it matters because two thousand years ago, God became Man. He lived, loved, then died upon a cross. And every day since that day, bread has become God. Wheat and wine have become Body and Blood, an eternal sacrifice of love, offered for us on a table like no other.
In that sacrifice—that Holy Eucharist—we see God for who he is: a generous Lover, a selfless Giver. In that same Holy Eucharist, we see food for what it is: a sign given to us at creation of blessing and gift, nourishment and strength, pleasure and comfort, sacrifice and love.
Just to see those truths, however, is never enough. With the seeing, comes two challenges.
First, we’re challenged to love God with the same total, selfless love with which he loves us, becoming, in effect, a gift, for him and for others.
And second, we’re called to eat eucharistically (eucharistia meaning, literally, “thanksgiving)—honoring God, creation, and the gift of our bodies by approaching every meal with gratitude, temperance, and joy.
Around my dining room table, those two challenges perpetually intersect. People come for dinner and come back for community. We pray. We debate. We laugh. And, of course, we eat, all the while learning to better love God and one another.
For me and for the friends who sit around my table, food does what it’s supposed to do: It creates family. And it does that not because I’m some Cordon Bleu trained chef. I’m not. I’m just a woman who wants people to know how precious they are—to me and to God. Because God shows us that truth every day by feeding us with his Body and Blood, I do the same by feeding everyone who walks through my door.
That’s really all I do. I love, so I cook. And it works. In a world wracked by loneliness, where more than half of all Americans claim to have no close friends, a little love and a lot of cooking go a long way.
So that, my friends, is why I’m launching The Catholic Table. Although I write for a living, no one is paying me to do this. It’s my passion project, my attempt to inspire more people to open both the doors of their homes and their lives to others, to break out a bottle of wine, whip up some risotto, and live life as we’re meant to live it.
And yes, it’s true, as a culture, we don’t necessarily need to think more about food. The thousands of food blogs and cookbooks out there suggest we’re already doing a whole lot of thinking on the subject. But we do need to think more deeply about food. We need to think more rightly. We need to value food not as an idol or an end it itself, but rather as a divinely created sign. Basically, we need to see food for what it is, and adjust our kitchens and habits accordingly.
We also need to think more deeply about friendship, community, and hospitality. Most of us have grown up in a culture always on the move, a culture where busy is king. We know how to survive an 80-hour workweek, but not necessarily how to forge lasting and real friendships or throw a dinner party with ease.
So, we’ll talk about those things here. We’ll talk about it all here—cheese, lamb, bread, wine, cookies, cookouts, baby showers, happy hours, Christmas parties, crawfish boils, over-sharing, under-sharing, Facebook invites, grocery shopping, toxic friendships, china plates, eating disorders, durable cookware, fancy stoves, long distance phone calls, messy homes, clutter busting, entertaining other people’s children, making homemade gin, the Eucharist, the Holy Spirit, and whatever else strikes this redhead’s fancy.
Some days (like tomorrow) there will be just recipes. Other days (like today), bits of theology, philosophy, and social commentary. Occasionally, there might only be pretty pictures and practical advice. Honestly, I’m not sure what you’ll find here from week to week. A little bit of everything I suppose. That doesn’t concern me too much, though. Content I can produce. The real question for me, at this point, is: “Will I get any of my other writing done?”
Here’s hoping. Thanks for stopping by. And please, come again tomorrow. Lamb and sweet potato stew is on the menu.