The Spirit of Food    
34 Writers on Feasting and Fasting Toward God

With essays by Wendell Berry, Robert Farrar Capon, Andres Dubus, Lauren Winner, Luci Shaw, Jeanne Murray Walker, and many others.
Edited by Leslie Leyland Fields


  • 1 of 10 Best Books of 2010: Image Journal
  • 1 of 4 Best Books of 2010: Hearts and Minds Books
  • Best Books of 2010: Her.maneutics

You are invited to a feast for the senses and the spirit! Thirty-four renowned and adventurous writers open their fields, their kitchens, their tables, and their recipe files to illustrate the many unexpected ways that food draws us closer to beauty, to justice, to Christian community, and to God. All bring a keen eye and palette to the larger questions of the role of food—both its presence and its absence—in the life of our bodies and spirits. Their essays take us to an organic goat farm in Maine, a backyard tomato garden in Cincinnati, a kosher kitchen, a line of hungry Hurricane Katrina survivors, a church potluck, inside the translucent layers of an onion, and many other surprising places where we can experience Eucharistic eating. In a time of great interest and confusion over the place of food in our lives, this rich collection will delight the senses, feed the spirit, enlarge our understanding, and deepen our ability to “eat and drink to the glory of God.”

Featuring original recipes from every contributor: Lauren Winner’s Fresh Cherry Cobbler, Chef Gary Leblanc’s Jacmel Jambalaya, Tanya Berry’s Italian Green Beans, Lavonne Neff’s Mac and Cheese for Grown-Ups, Luci Shaw’s Mother’s Hot Milk Sponge Cake, Jacqueline Rhodes Ma Dear’s Authentic Cornbread, Jeanne Murray Walker’s Scalloped Potatoes for the Church Potluck, Laura Good’s Brownies of Love and many more! 

"I'm trying to resist the temptation to pun--describing this as a rich feast of essays, or essays one will relish with delight, or essays that one should savor, and so forth--but I can't. This collection is a meal for the mind."-----Mark Galli, Senior Managing Editor, Christianity Today 

"From the sheen on the belly of a fresh-caught salmon to the reassuring heft of homemade bread straight from the oven, this new collection by thirty-four outstanding writers opens by celebrating a sheer joy of eating, then ushers us into the realm of holy sacrament. The Spirit of Food, edited by Leslie Leyland Fields, is not only rich in wisdom gained the hard way--through the gathering, growing, and preparing of what winds up on our multifarious tables--but shines with luminous gratitude at the abundance graciousness of God."-----Paula Huston, author of Forgiveness: Following Jesus into Radical Loving

"This is a gift to the Body of Christ--delicious prose and glistening dishes to assist the necessary recovery of our whole persons. As Saint John Chrysostom proclaims: 'The table is rich-laden; feast royally, all of you! The calf is fatted; let no one go forth hungry! Let all partake of the feast of faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness.' Taste and see, indeed."----Scott Cairns, author of The Compass of Affection