Here is my latest post for the North American Anglican. Have you read the Supper of the Lamb by Robert Farrar Capon? It’s been just the right book for me to be rereading lately….
Finding myself cooking more than ever and in need of some inspiration, I’ve lately returned to Robert Farrar Capon’s Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection. Written by an Episcopal priest back in 1967, The Supper of the Lamb is both a quirky cookbook and a doxological digression on the nature of reality. Since he describes himself as an “Anglican, or moderately high-church, cook,” readers of this publication may discover a guide to Anglican identity even unto the kitchen (7). Yet regardless of tradition, this book is full of practical and theological insights that are pertinent in these strange days.
Now that we are trying to minimize grocery trips, I’ve been reminded of Capon’s distinction between “ferial” and “festal” cooking. While I’ve always seen his thoughts on “ferial” cooking as applicable for Lent, they’re even more practical now during the pandemic. When he refers to ferial cooking, he means everyday meals that depend on stretching out more expensive food items, like meat, as far as they possibly should go.
Here are the two principles of ferial cooking: “Never serve anybody a whole anything” and “If you can possibly do so, contrive to make even a part of anything come to the table twice”(23). While, he admits, these limitations can lead to miserliness, they have also led to superb culinary creativity.