The Convent Cook

One benefit of a new house mate is that we now have new cookbooks! I tried a new recipe today out of The Convent Cook, Divine Meals for Families Large and Small by Maria Tisdall. It's written by a woman who cooks for the Benedictine Sisters of Elizabeth, New Jersey.

I tried the "Quick Quiche," which I called "Convent Quiche" in honor of both the cookbook and because I cooked it in our kitchen, which is of course in a convent. The recipe was easy to follow yet precise, which is just the combination I need. She offered choices for the variety of quiche - I ended up using ham and swiss cheese. It was quite yummy. I paired it with a nice green salad and some french bread.

I've probably never cooked so consistently in my life as I have this year. This might be surprising, since I only cook once or twice a week - we take turns. But when I lived alone, I rarely cooked. What I did was more what I like to call "prepare food" - boiling some pasta, heating a can of soup, making a small salad. When I did cook I'd have to eat the same thing for an entire week, unless I was super crafty and managed to freeze it. That had its own challenges though, until I learned to freeze things in single servings. I was also a regular at the cafe at my local health food store - they had an awesome build your own wok bowl bar! (A salad bar type thing with veggies and noodles and stuff - you'd put what you wanted in the bowl, they then cooked it for you on the wok).

But now I cook. In community living, the evening meal is a main gathering time. This was true at my house in Seattle and is true in the Novitiate. Like a family, we gather for dinner and share our news. In most religious houses I know, it is a sacred time.

Cooking is not my favorite activity, but it can be fun. I've noticed that everyone has their own cooking style. I need to figure out what I'm going to make days ahead of time and have a simple yet precise recipe I can follow. I'm not very good at improvising. Others in the house look at what's in the fridge and pantry and whip up something yummy. The only problem is, they can't necessarily recreate it at a later time!

I'm sure I'll be doing some cooking in England, although it will be different. Different ingredients, different measurements, different tastes. I'm bringing some of my favorite recipes to share with the 2 Sisters I'll be living with in London. I hope they like Eggplant Parmesan ... or is is Aubergine Parmesan??


Turtle Lady said...

Rhubarb yogurt. They have rhubarb yogurt over there. It is delicious! I tried to recreate it here by making a rhubarb sauce and stirring into plain yogurt which was too sour and then stirring it into vanilla yogurt which was good enough, but not the same.

Lisa said...

Convent style cooking is a valuable skill!