Book Reviews2 A Lenten Cookbook? Yes, and it is great!

The Lenten Cookbook The Lenten Cookbook/ Sophia Institute Press

Like every good recipe, a good book has to do a lot with the ingredients. So what happens when you combine top biblical scholar and evangelist Scott Hahn with former Suiss Guard and award winning chef David Geisser? You guessed it: the best Lenten cookbook ever.

In The Lenten Cookbook, Geisser offers a long list of very doable recipes for Lenten breakfasts, snacks, salads, main course lunches and dinners, while Hahn describes for us the deep, ancient roots for fasting and how, paradoxically, thanks to Catholic traditions, fasting is not opposed to the joy of cooking well and elegantly. To the contrary, done well, it is a beautiful act of charity.

From breads to stews to omelets and desserts, Geisser provides 75 new international recipes magnificently illustrated and specially conceived for the penitential season of Lent from a Catholic perspective.

As the editors highlight, "Much more than a cookbook, this first-ever guidebook for mealtimes in Lent features essays from acclaimed biblical scholar Scott Hahn, who reflects on the history of fasting and its integral role in our personal spiritual growth. Hahn guides you on how to practice a holy Lent that will enable you to return your focus to Christ, and how to carry the unique and extraordinary joys of Lent forward into the rest of the year."

As you go through scores of meatless simple and savory dishes -including over a dozen meals suited for those pursuing a most rigorous Lent - you navigate more than 50 pages of Scott Hahn's meditations, as well as Scripture verses and quotes from the saints to keep us on track during Lent.

"We are finding once again than fasting, and prayerful self-restrain in food choices generally, doesn't have to be either monastic or a few-times-a-year imposition, but it can be part of the everyday arsenal for spiritual growth (and warfare) available to every Christian," writes Hahn.

Thus, as you get to cook the several variations on the traditional Lenten hot-cross bun recipe, you will learn about Catholic traditions and timeless customs, such as St. Martin’s Lent, Ember Days, and Rogation Days, and how you can apply these time-honored periods of grace to your spiritual life today.

As Hahn writes: "we are rediscovering what so many generations of Christians before us knew: Fasting is part of the good life, and fasting is joyful."

The Lenten Cookbook - Sophia Institute Press

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