One Year, 12 Months of Monastery Soups

Well here we are, the end of 2018. The new year won’t start for 2 more days, but since I have a long weekend ahead of me I decided to get an early start on my New Years resolution.

This year, I am going to attempt to cook through every recipe in the 12 Months of Monastery Soups cookbook, by Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila Latourrette.

I picked this cookbook up back in November, when I found myself with a glut of root vegetables from my local CSA. I had gotten busy at work and had minimal time for cooking, and when the stress subsided I realized I needed to figure out how to use a lot of vegetables rather quickly. Since fall is a good time for soup, I decided to see if I could find a seasonal, not terrifically complicated cookbook to help me use them up. Amazon suggested this one, and it looked right up my alley.

It was a good call.

The soups were delicious, and I got more and more intrigued by the whole concept of monastery cooking. The whole set up fascinated me: soups tied to seasonal produce and liturgical year, feasts for Saints, recipes handed down for generations, and an overall focus on frugality and simplicity. In a world where cookbook authors seem to be in a bit of an arms race trying to constantly one up each other, this was a cookbook made purposefully low cost and accessible. It was a breath of fresh air.

I learned that Benedictine monasteries like the one Brother Victor resides in (Our Lady of the Resurrection in New York) were supposed to be self sufficient, and therefore growing your own food and making good food was a necessity. I was fascinated that this kind of lifestyle and approach to food still existed today, and I wanted to know more. I decided I wanted to spend a year cooking through the cookbook and looking in to the traditions around cooking, feasting and food production in Brother Victor’s and others monastic traditions.

Hey, it’s better than yet another lose weight/eat more vegetables/go to the gym every day/give up by February type resolution. At least this way I’ll get some interest

Anyway, I figured this blog would be a good place to document the journey, and it would give me a reason to work on my (quite frankly non-existent) food photography skills.

Oh, and because I think no day of cooking is complete without a drink, I figured it was only fair to pair the cooking with some cocktails from Drinking with the Saints: A Sinner’s Guide to a Holy Happy Hour.

Here’s to some good eating in 2019!


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