I was recently introduced to Robert Farrar Capon by Douglas Wilson in his book Writers to Read: Nine Names That Belong on Your Bookshelf. And Wilson was right, Capon is worth your time. Not only for content, or what you can learn from him about writing, but for the sheer pleasure of reading him. I’ve often said of some of my favorite writers, “I would read a cookbook if they wrote one.” Well, Capon actually did, and I actually am.
It’s called The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection, and here is a morsel to tempt you to go further and buy the whole meal.
Let us fast, then — whenever we see fit, and as strenuously as we should. But having gotten that exercise out of the way, let us eat…If this book has any culinary point to make, it is that the ferial cuisine must once more be exalted among us. Between the diet mongers and the prepared-food hawkers, we are in danger of losing the greater part of our heritage. Herewith, therefore, a little prayer for the return of sanity to our tables:
The poor shall eat and be satisfied. They that seek after the Lord shall praise him; your heart shall live forever.
O Lord, refresh our sensibilities. Give us this day our daily taste. Restore to us soups that spoons will not sink in, and sauces which are never the same twice. Raise up among us stews with more gravy that we have bread to blot it with, and casseroles that put starch and substance in our limp modernity. Take away our fear of fat, and make us glad of the oil which ran upon Aaron’s beard. Give us pasta with a hundred fillings, and rice in a thousand variations. Above all, give us grace to live as true men — to fast till we come to a refreshed sense of what we have and then to dine gratefully on all that comes to hand. Drive far from us, O Most Bountiful, all creatures of air and darkness; cast out the demons that possess us; deliver us from the fear of calories and the bondage of nutrition; and set us free once more in our own land, where we shall serve thee as thou hast blessed us — with the dew of heaven, the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine.