Of Cooking, Baking and Saints

Inspiration for St. Elizabeth of Hungary’s feast day and beyond.

(photo: Unsplash)

“Come, have breakfast.”

Jesus says just that in the Gospel of John 21:12, and as someone whose favorite meal is generally breakfast, I couldn’t agree more.

A decidedly earthy statement from Christ shows what Catholicism has always taught — we are body and soul.

For those cooking-inclined readers who are looking for inspiration, look no further than Cooking With Saints and The Vatican Cookbook, both of which have found a place in my cookbook collection. The saint biographies and papal and Church-related tidbits sprinkled among the recipes are welcome extras.

There are so many recipes to try in Cooking With Saints — some are already on my to-bake list: madeleines and Papal Cream Cake. There’s even a rose-flavored cake for St. Thérèse (of course!)

I have made Papal Cream Cake before because it was Pope St. John Paul II’s favorite dessert.

On the day of Sts. John Paul II and John XXIII’s canonization, April 27, 2014, I was in the kitchen baking. I wanted to make a tasty treat to celebrate as my family and I watched the canonization events via EWTN. So as we watched JPII become a saint, we ate a quintessentially Polish pastry.

The Cooking With Saints recipe looks simpler, which appeals to me. Someday soon I will try it!

Likewise, the papal-themed cuisine resource offers Eternal City options from our recent pontiffs, including Papal Cream Cake.

Whether I am cooking an old or new recipe, and seeking the intercession of St. Martha (her feast day is July 29), I aim to make it a labor of love. From pasta salads packed with summer veggies to heartier casseroles in cooler months, I want family and friends to enjoy what I am making.

Acts 2:46 comes to mind: “They broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts.”

Then there’s baking.

Baking, of course, is St. Elizabeth of Hungary’s domain. The Church celebrates her just ahead of Thanksgiving, on Nov. 17. When I’m in a baking mood, I seek her intercession.

On March 17 I have been known to bake Irish scones, which I feel reflect St. Patrick’s British heritage and love for the Irish people in a decidedly delicious way.

I have made bread in the shape of a staff in honor of St. Joseph’s feast day — and St. Joseph’s Day cream puffs, too.

Polish donut day (Ash Wednesday here in the U.S.) is observed in my home, too, though I still have making homemade pączki on my long to-bake list. Aiming for next year!                                                                                                    

And homemade lamb cake is a delicious family Easter-dinner staple.

Now I feel like baking!

Bon appétit! And St. Elizabeth, pray for us!