Food culture is nothing new to Jeff Young, founder of the Catholic Foodie blog and podcast.
“I grew up in southeastern Louisiana. If we’re not eating, we’re talking about eating. That’s just the way it’s always been.”
Young, whose blog mixes spiritual observations with recipes, also has a keen perspective about Catholics’ relationship to food: “Food plays a very important role in salvation history, starting with the eating of the fruit from the tree of knowledge.
“It’s one of the most intimate acts you can have. It’s the prefigurement of the Eucharist and prefigurement of salvation. Every covenant in the Old Testament ended in a shared communal sacred meal.”
But beyond the theological message, Young says, “there’s something very, very important about sitting around a table. We open up to each other through food. There’s a shared intimacy there.
“It gives the best of who you are as human beings. It starts in Genesis from the very moment of the fruit of the truth, all the way to Revelation, and, we’re told, what are we preparing for? The feast of the lamb.”
Young recently wrote on his blog about a “mini-Passover” lamb chop dinner he shares with his wife and children every Holy Thursday before Mass: “This simple celebration has helped my family (and me) to better understand what happens at Mass and how awesome is the sacrifice and victory of Jesus for us.”
He’s also familiar with the lament of families that “we’re too busy for our own good.”
The solution, he thinks, is a return to Sunday dinners. “I’m trying to reinforce the importance of that shared time — that leisure time around the table, because we live in the world today that’s fast-food nation. Families hardly know each other.
“I think back to my childhood in the 1970s. My cousins, my aunts and uncles, we were all at my grandparents’ house, and that was everybody.” Young learned most of his culinary skills from his mother.
Food culture may have some aspects of religion, he thinks, but then it becomes a matter of how to direct one’s effort: “You can make something that’s really, really good, delicious and present it in just a way that’s beautiful, so your mouth is watering. A visceral reaction, you know? That’s power!
“And that’s what happens with these TV shows and celebrity chefs. There’s nothing new under the sun. It’s all a play on something else. There are no really new recipes.”
In addition to his blog, Young hosts a daily program on BroadboxMedia.com and co-hosts “Around the Table Food Show” on Catholic Community Radio in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
“What a wonderful opportunity to evangelize. To meet people where they are. And if they’re fascinated by food, if they don’t know how to cook but would like to learn how, why not meet them right there. And slowly, over time, in little-bitty bites along the way, it may make an impact in their lives.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103