An Episcopal on Cooking, Parties and Spirituality


While in London a few weeks ago, I read a fantastic little book on food and spirituality by Father Robert Farrar Capon called The Supper of the Lamb. I loved the book, even though it was written in the 60's. Especially because it was written in the 60's. Its still works today! This guy has similar taste in cuisine and talks in my language. He loves economy, taste, celebration, hospitality, thrift, pleasure, and more importantly, he sees the divine in the breadcrumbs and the yeast. Now I see that Michael Spencer has a very hyper-linky post on Capon's work that he blogged yesterday at Boars Head Tavern – obviously the first step for anyone discovering this priest-chef.

The church began with a meal. The Church needs to come back to the kitchen and get itself sorted again. The Church needs to rethink the puny wafer and thimble ritual and get back to the love feast which is a MEAL that takes TIME and happens MORE than once a week and has LEFTOVERS which can given to the POOR (the justice element) and resembles a PARTY that is full of HOPE towards the FEAST that awaits us with our SAVIOR who is not drinking wine until we get there to toast with Him. Jesus said DO THIS in remembrance of me. We would do well to ask "WHAT?"

Other books on cooking and spirituality that I recommend are:

The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking by Brother Rick Curry (also recommended by Michael)

Mealtime Habits of the Messiah, by Congrad Gempf, which is bigger on Bible than bread but worth reading.

Appetite, by Nigel Slater, which does not count as a "spiritual" book per se but it will teach you to love cooking and advise you on how to stock your kitchen. Nigel's "New Cook Survival Guide" from this book [read it for free here] is a great guide to get started.

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Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Jason Blair says:

    Back to the kitchen – Amen. One of those things I’ve noticed about any good party is that people end up in the kitchen chatting and munching.
    My church’s Saturday night ministry makes it a point of having a meal as part of the “service.” The idea came from the early church love feasts. Out group is small, but you can see community happening.
    Andrew, you can be sure you have a standing invitation any time you’re in Minnesota.

  • brodie says:

    Great thoughts Andrew. I’ve just been to s couple of schools to take lessons on the “last supper”, part of which included me trying to explain how we’d gone from a meal to a bit of bread and a thimble of wine.
    Also, just got Slaters “The Kitchen Diaries” as we’re trying to shop and cook more in season, it’s a great book.

  • andrew says:

    Slater’s “Real Food” is also one of his books on my shelf.
    he is the man and not jamie.

  • At Five says:

    Back to our Roots

    TSK really knows how to party church over food – I’ve been lurking at his feet and absorbing his thoughts since I started blogging. I ain’t gonna stop now! πŸ™‚

  • ConradGempf says:

    Capon has been one of my heroes since the 70s. Why didn’t his books ever take off, I wonder?

  • Simple Church Roundup – April 7th

    Maven Tim’s Roundup of Simple Church Links and Quotes β€œThe church began with a meal. The Church needs to come back to the kitchen and get itself sorted again,” suggests The Skinny. Great Resource for finding Demographic info for

  • Steve says:

    Great post. I quoted your “back to the kitchen” paragraph in this post. Thanks for your words.

  • Jen Rose says:

    Thanks for reposting this! It seems that I am drawn more and more lately to explore food and spirituality. I was particularly intrigued some months ago, when I happened across the New York episode of Jamie Oliver’s American Road trip on television, to notice how food and enjoyment and fellowship and ministry all seemed to come together around a dinner table (regardless of Oliver’s personal faith). I definitely want to buy this book!

  • Mick Porter says:

    Thanks so much for (re)posting this! We used have a church running in Brisbane with a weekly communion meal – people still remember the Guinness stew I cooked πŸ™‚
    I’d be really interested to hear your views on the wider issues of agriculture, food security etc. – especially with your Africa experience.

  • tsk says:

    some thoughts on a cruelty free diet here but not really related to africa.
    i love brisbane. have been there in years.

  • Mick Porter says:

    Cool – I saw the cruelty-free thing. You’ve helped me think through lots of stuff over the years like that.
    I’ve been heavily interested in sustainable agriculture for the last 20 years, but I find few Christians mixing it up in those circles – seems to be an anti-hippy reaction.
    The more I hear about issues of global food shortages, deforestation, etc., the more bothered I am that Christians don’t seem to be wading in. Seems like plenty of Christians doctors and engineers ready to help, but not so many missional sustainable agriculturists.

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