The traditional Collect for the Sunday before Advent (22nd November this year) starts with the words ‘Stir up’ and goes on to emphasise ‘the fruit of good works’. Generations of preachers used it as a launch pad for sermons on the importance of being prepared, illustrating it with references to Christmas cakes and plum puddings being made at that time of the year, well in advance of Christmas.
In Douglas Union with Frankfield, throughout the season of Advent, we hope parishioners will be stirring not only cake mixture but also trying out some of the delicious recipes in this 60-page parish cookbook. In October, as we entered another period of increased restrictions, parishioners were invited to contribute a family favourite recipe and the personal story behind that recipe.
As the introduction in the book explains ‘The idea for a Parish Cookbook came about for two reasons. Firstly, we know that there are a lot of keen cooks and bakers in the parish. Secondly, because of the current health restrictions and lockdowns, we are all spending much more time at home, and for many, this has been an opportunity to try baking and cooking more than usual, and to experiment a little in the kitchen.
Food is powerfully evocative. The smell and taste of a particular dish, or the act of cutting a slice of a particular cake, can bring us back to familiar family occasions in the past, or memories of loved ones who were great experts in the kitchen in their day. Food connects us to the past and it is something we can share with those around us in the present. That is why we requested not only the recipe, but also the personal story behind why each particular dish is important to the contributor.’
The book contains recipes from people of all ages. The oldest contributor is still cooking at the self-declared age of 92. There are recipes shared which have been passed down several generations, as well as meal ideas for those with special dietary requirements or who are looking for something a little different and exotic. There are stories about earning the cooking badge for the Girl Guides, curries being enjoyed in a family home in Cork in the 1930’s, as well as rare varieties of apple being found in an overgrown garden in Monkstown.
A good meal and conversation with family and friends is something we all enjoy. While the current COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have deprived us of many opportunities to share in such things, we hope this modest parish cookbook will not only be an enjoyable read, but will also help keep us connected to each other. The book is only €10 per copy and all proceeds will go to parish funds. While the churches remain closed, people wishing to buy the book are asked to contact the Rectory.