It matters because it nourishes our bodies and nourishes our souls.
It matters because it draws friends and family together, around one table, creating community over a shared loaf of bread.
Above all, it matters because two thousand years ago, God became Man. He lived, loved, then died upon a cross. And every day since that day, bread has become God. Wheat and wine have become Body and Blood, an eternal sacrifice of love, offered for us on a table like no other.
In that sacrifice—that Holy Eucharist—we see God for who he is: a generous Lover, a selfless Giver. In that same Holy Eucharist, we see food for what it is: a sign given to us at creation of blessing and gift, nourishment and strength, pleasure and comfort, sacrifice and love.
To just see those truths, however, is never enough. With the seeing comes two challenges.
First, we’re challenged to love God with the same total, selfless love with which he loves us, becoming, in effect, a gift, both for him and for others.
And second, we have to find our way back to eating eucharistically, honoring God, creation, and the gift of our bodies by approaching every meal with thanks, temperance, and joy.
Around my dining room table, those two challenges perpetually intersect. People come for dinner and come back for community. We pray. We debate. We laugh. And, of course, we eat, all the while learning to better love God and one another.
For me and for the friends who sit around my table, food does what it’s supposed to do: It creates family. And it does that not because I’m some Cordon Bleu trained chef. I’m not. I’m just a woman who wants people to know how precious they are—to me and to God. And because God shows us that truth every day by feeding us with his Body and Blood, I do the same by feeding everyone who walks through my door.
That’s really all I do. I love, so I cook. And it works. In a world wracked by loneliness, where more than half of all Americans claim to have no close friends, a little love and a lot of cooking go a long way.
So that, my friends, is why I’m launching The Catholic Table. Although I write for a living, no one is paying me to do this. It’s my passion project, my attempt to inspire more people to open both the doors of their homes and their lives to others, to break out a bottle of wine, whip up some risotto, and live life as we’re meant to live it.
And yes, it’s true, as a culture, we don’t necessarily need to think more about food. The thousands of food blogs and cookbooks out there suggest we’re already doing a whole lot of thinking on the subject. But we do need to think more deeply about food. We need to think more rightly. We need to value food not as an idol or an end it itself, but rather as a divinely created sign. Basically, we need to see food for what it is, and adjust our kitchens and habits accordingly.
We also need to think more deeply about friendship, community, and hospitality. Most of us have grown up in a culture always on the move, a culture where busy is king. We know how to survive an 80-hour workweek, but not necessarily how to forge lasting and real friendships or throw a dinner party with ease.
So, we’ll talk about those things here. We’ll talk about it all here—cheese, lamb, bread, wine, cookies, cookouts, baby showers, happy hours, Christmas parties, crawfish boils, over-sharing, under-sharing, Facebook invites, grocery shopping, toxic friendships, china plates, eating disorders, durable cookware, fancy stoves, long distance phone calls, messy homes, clutter busting, entertaining other people’s children, making homemade gin, the Eucharist, the Holy Spirit, and whatever else strikes this redhead’s fancy.
Some days (like tomorrow) there will be just recipes. Other days (like today), bits of theology, philosophy, and social commentary. Occasionally, there might only be pretty pictures and practical advice. Honestly, I’m not sure what you’ll find here from week to week. A little bit of everything I suppose. That doesn’t concern me too much, though. Content I can produce.
The real question for me, at this point, is: “Will I get any of my other writing done?”
19 thoughts on “About “The Catholic Table””
Wow…you are thinking about some things I’ve been thinking about but couldn’t quite express as you do, Emily. Keep the posts coming. You have a beautiful way to talk about this. Thank you!
Hi Emily, I recently read “These Beautiful Bones” and loved it! I also have a blog and love cooking so I’m looking forward to reading more of your work here.. Mind if we add a link to your blog on our sidebar?
You can check out our blog at http://www.faithandpeanutbutter.wordpress.com
Of course you can add a link, Rebecca. I’m flattered. And so glad you enjoyed These Beautiful Bones. I’ll look forward to reading your blog.
I just discovered your blog and am loving it already! Thanks for all the great work and writing you’ve done thus far and I can’t wait to see more! God bless+
Well, I saw you at the S.A. Women’s Conference and was disappointed Elizabeth Scalia, one of my favorites, was not there. Then you subbed for her and wow, I thoroughly enjoyed your talk, bought your book Lovely Bones. It was the book of choice to read for a spiritual book club I belong. Then I heard you on the radio speaking of your blog and here I am. I really, really like it. I have sent a link to all the women I know. Wishing you the very best in this endeavor and thank you!
Awww…thanks, Ree! San Antonio was so much fun. Glad you liked the book!
Thank you for repeating something (in another post) that my old dad told me many, many years ago (I thought he was nuts, because I was a teenager): “Food is sacramental.” One rather expects the world to have disordered ideas about food, but when *even* Christian diet gurus tell us that “food is fuel”, that has always struck me as heretical. You have a beautiful blog; keep up the holy work!
Hi Emily, you’ve sold me! Love the idea behind your blog. Looking forward to your posts. I too am a writer, Catholic and blog about my food adventures at brendonthesmilingchef.com. Feel free to check it out. God bless and keep smiling 😉
Hi Emily! My oldest daughter sent me your site. Thank you, Steph! You are speaking to my heart! So wonderful, to see through what others consider a mundane ‘job’, preparing and serving our food, and show forth it’s sublime meaning. I can actually get a physical reaction , (like, an internal sigh of relief), when someone is able to explain a deep Truth about life, love, food (!) that God has put before us and so many of us miss. You have this Gift!! Thank you for sharing. I look forward to your many musings!!
BTW~ can you share you china and crystal patterns? They are beautiful!
Peace of Christ to you!
Thanks so much, Janet. I’m glad you enjoy the site. I’ll have to check on the china patterns, but that will take a day or two. The downstairs is getting repainted, so everything is packed away. The crystal though is from Antropologie.
Please would you reprint the story of the catholic table? It speaks to me about letting go and passing the baton and realizing that different may be good as well. Thanks if you can!
Hi Emily! I am reading your book, “The Catholic Table” and I really enjoy it! It is one of those books where I have to read slowly because there is so much to digest, (no pun intended). In my opinion, this book lends itself to some great discussion.Do you have or have you considered writing a book study discussion guide? I can totally see a group of women getting together, discussing a chapter over some great dining and wine. Makes for a great mom’s night out or ladies group from your church. Thanks!
I’ve definitely thought about it. It’s more a question of finding the time to do it. I need to bring this up with the publishers though and see what’s possible.
Great idea from Heidi. I have been thinking of doing some event for moms with little ones…a treat, sort of, for them.
HI – So pleased God bless you with that precious child. I was receiving your posts via e-mail but somehow I seem to have not rec’d some. So I am “re-signing up” – hope that isn’t a problem. All good wishes, Louise T. Miller
Hi! Do you happen to have or know of any chapter discussion questions that go along with this book? We are thinking about reading it for a women’s bible study group? Thanks!
There is an entire companion video study that goes along with this. It has short videos of me talking about the book, discussion questions, activities, and even recipes to make if you want. You can learn all about it here: https://stpaulcenter.com/product/the-catholic-table-video-series/
Hi Emily! I just finished reading “A Catholic Table” about 5 minutes ago and would love nothing more than to say the biggest thank you for writing this! Let me start by saying I’m a recent Catholic convert as of Easter this year. I struggled (still struggle) with an eating disorder for about 7 years. From anorexia to binging, it’s been a journey. For YEARS I attended therapy, read books, tried online resources, but nothing hit me quite like your book because it’s based on biblical TRUTH! I’m beyond grateful to have come across this book. It’s exactly what I’ve been searching for for years. I was in tears by the end of it because of how thankful I am to have found this. Your story is incredible and your guidance is going to be life-changing. I really hope you see this comment and know what an impact you are going to make in my life! Thank you and God bless you!
Oh my goodness, thank you so much. Praise God that you found something helpful in what I wrote. I’ll be praying for your continued healing. The road can be so long, but having a clear understanding of what food really is and how God loves us through it makes all the difference!