Filled with countless stories about the saints that grace Catholicism, Cooking with the Saints reads more like a textbook in history then a recipe book.
Title: Cooking with the Saints: An Illustrated Treasury of Authentic Recipes Old and Modern
Author: Ernst Schuegraf
Publisher: Ignatius Press
~Lasagne Al Forno (Baked Lasagna)
~Pan De Santa Teresa (St. Teresa’s Bread)
~St. Patrick’s Bacon
~Talmouses De Saint-Denis (St. Denis Turnovers)
WOULD WE RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO OTHERS:
Yes if they want to add a little inspiration to their growing library of Catholicism information and books.
No because of the incomprehensible recipes.
My parents purchased this cookbook for me a few years ago while visiting the Saint Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe.’ Although I am not Catholic, I grew up in the Catholic faith and thought this book was an excellent combination of history and recipes. I couldn’t wait to dive into making them. As I made the first recipe, then the second, my disappointment started to sink in.
My feelings eventually ended in a huge pile of regret after the third and fourth were made. The list of ingredients for each recipe were paired oddly (boiled eggs in lasagna) and the directions were not clearly stated (do I need the cream cheese to be at room temperature before I mix it with the other ingredients). The recipes were also lacking in appearance and taste.
With all of this being said, I did enjoy reading about the saints that were featured. The book read more like a history book then a cookbook in my opinion. My mother requested that I save the book for her. Not to cook through it, but to read more about the saints that she grew to love throughout her life.
Cooking with the Saints
LASAGNE AL FORNO (BAKED LASAGNA)
Naturally, if I see a recipe for lasagna, I’m going to want to try it. As odd as the ingredients were for this dish (little meatballs instead of normal ground beef and boiled eggs as one of the layers), I figured it was worth a shot to make.
From start to finish, it took the entire day to make, with the most tedious step being the rolling of the meatballs. Right before we started eating, my 9 year old son started to cry because he did not like the appearance of it and said he was really looking forward to my skillet lasagna. True story!
The rest of us ate it, while begrudgingly picking at the noodles. We weren’t fans. Although we did like the homemade tomato sauce and even snacked on the meatballs before they were placed with the rest of the ingredients, the idea of eating boiled eggs in a lasagna dish turned our stomachs. We weren’t fans.
PAN DE SANTA TERESA (ST. TERESA’S BREAD)
Since this was a cousin of French Toast (according to the author), I thought it would make a delicious breakfast recipe before church on a Sunday morning. It looked delicious in appearance, however, it definitely did not taste delicious.
The texture was soggy as you bit into each piece and because they were fried in olive oil, the smell felt a little off (we are used to frying our french toast in butter). There was a cinnamon-sugar topping, but it couldn’t save it. Once again, we weren’t fans, although I thought the usage of lemon peel in the mixture was a good idea.
ST. PATRICK’S BACON
I had hoped making this recipe would save the last two that we made. With sliced potatoes, sliced onions, a liquid mixture of eggs and milk, then topped with bacon strips, it reminded us of a hashbrown bake. However, it lacked in appearance and was a little bland.
Husband Man actually ended up tossing the entire thing in a skillet and frying it, then topping it with cheese. We actually ate it after that, with our 11 year old daughter telling us “this tastes so much better then when it was in the oven!” Yet again, we weren’t fans.
TALMOUSES DE SAINT-DENIS (ST. DENIS TURNOVERS)
With this being a puff pastry with a savory filling, we literally figured it would be the ‘star’ recipe out of the entire book. We were wrong! The filling consisted of cream cheese, salt, pepper, eggs, and flour. The directions did not state whether the cream cheese had to be at room temperature, so I took it upon myself to make sure that it did.
Each pastry required a teaspoon cream cheese mixture before it was set to bake. They did make the kitchen smell delightful, however, once we bit into them, we found out that the cream cheese had baked into pastry dough. The recipe also did not specify how much salt and pepper to place inside, so I erred on the side of caution and did not place much inside.
We felt like we were eating just a plain puff pastry. We ended up eating half of what we baked, then threw the other half in the trash. Once again, we weren’t fans.
If you see this book, Cooking with the Saints, in your local book store or church, be aware that the recipes, no matter how interesting they may seem, may not be worth trying. However, if you enjoy a little Catholic history, then I would definitely consider purchasing it just for that reason alone.
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