Book Review: A Continual Feast

If you like to cook, you must have this book:

A Continual Feast (Evelyn Birge Vitz)

A Continual Feast: A Cookbook to Celebrate the Joys of Family and Faith throughout the Christian Year

by Evelyn Birge Vitz

 

Just what the subtitle describes, this is the cookbook you need for feasting with your Domestic Church–well, for feasting mostly, but there is even a little chapter on fasting. (Of course, there are plenty of meatless recipes included, for Fridays, Lent, Ember Days, etc.!)

Being a cookbook, one expects to find recipes inside it, but there are lovely extras that one wouldn’t expect. I love the quotes and scripture verses sprinkled throughout the recipes. Also, there is a page featuring suggested meal blessings, even the traditional Catholic “Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts” in Latin! On many of the pages are charming drawings that highlight the happy hominess of dining within your Domestic Church.

Beautifully explaining the beloved feast day traditions of her Faith, traditions that come from the Faithful of many countries, the author shows a constant appreciation for all the good things that dining together can bring. She discusses traditions of Christian hospitality, family meals, the special days each particular family celebrates, and universal feasts and seasons of the Church Year. Although I personally dislike most cooking, I understand and agree with her culinary philosophy:

We need to think of all cooking–not just fruit cakes at Christmas–as gift-giving.

The recipes have commentary before them to intrigue and inspire you to make the dishes, and also to educate you as to their origin and suggest potential uses in your home. Helpfully, the ingredients of each recipe are listed in the margin of the pages for easy reading and cooking. (As you might guess, easiness and speed are high-priority evaluation criteria for my cookbooks!)

When I was growing up, sitting around the table day after day with my dear mother and father, and my brother and sisters, I felt serenely and supremely at home. Cooking is a gift, an art form, and a way to love your family and friends. With this cookbook, you’ll be able to bring your Faith into your cooking, bringing the best things in this life all together to share.

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