How a chef’s cooking helped to heal

Bison and biscuit dinner in the residential short term emergency stay

As I walked along rain-soaked farm fields, getting my daily exercise, I asked myself, “What truly feeds us?”

Doughnuts from a local boutique donut shop delight but don’t nourish. The Eucharist both delights and nourishes me. I get excited when it is time for communion. I don’t feel the same intensity at every Mass. Preparing my heart to welcome my saviour is silent prayer before the Mass. And reading the scriptures beforehand.

The Eucharist has become even more precious to me to receive because of the obstacles of Covid-19.

Attending Mass in person is my highlight on Sunday. If I can get to daily Mass during the week, I am so happy.

The Eucharist is how I find my way through the darkness. I’ve experienced many uncomfortable and difficult things in the hospital and while changing to new medications. There are side effects, and it takes getting used to.

The sacred body of Christ, my beloved, has become the ultimate comfort food. I mean this with the utmost respect. It’s better than any family dinner, though those are good too. Jesus’ presence in the holy host nourishes me in a way that no other food can.

When my family has breakfast with bacon, eggs, and pancakes, it gives us time to bond. Our family already has strong bonds. My brothers and sisters make each other laugh.  And we talk about troubling circumstances and stressful situations in the world. We have each other’s back when needed and support one another with a myriad of gifts. We are all so unique—makers, writers, singers, musicians, innovators, and peacekeepers.

There was a kind and talented chef at the residence I stayed at during my recovery. Anthony not only served up plates of tasty food but smiles and encouragement.  At one time, I was the only patient in the residence after all the others were discharged.  He made the most flavourful thanksgiving dinner for me and the people next door.  I had never eaten turkey that tender. 

It was a time for being fed, a time to restore the senses.  My soul is touched through the senses.

There was pasta, spicy nachos, and homemade hamburgers.  There was chow mein, perogies, and roasts.  There were so many comfort foods, like macaroni and cheese, pizza, and soups. 

When I was in self-isolation due to a COVID outbreak in the residence, I couldn’t swallow food because of my anxiety.  Shakes and sandwiches cut up into small bite size pieces were sent to me. Anthony always spoke to me with kindness and empathy like a good friend.

I wrote a poem, called My Prayer is Food, inspired by his cooking.  

My Prayer is Food

Garlic green beans with scallions

Creamy mashed potatoes

Peppercorn and rosemary pork roast

Brought dinner time healing

From my head to my toes

Fuel for my body

Reminds me of the Lord’s supper

Food is for the body

As prayer is for the soul

This is my duty and delight

To plant, to grow

To prepare, to cook

And to eat
Each day and night.

I am grateful to Anthony who was part of the team in improving my health and wellbeing.  The cooking was as important as the care of the nurses, mental health workers, and psychiatrist for me.  I still can remember the smell of spicy chicken wafting towards me from the barbeque on a cloudy day.  Everyone has a gift to serve others.  He found his.

There may be hard times that seem like it is the end of the world.  The wonderful thing is that Christ never changes.  Through it all Jesus, remains available to us in the Eucharist anywhere in the world every day. 

St. John Paul II said, “The Eucharistic Sacrifice is the ‘source and summit of all Christian Life.’ It is a single Sacrifice that embraces everything.  It is the greatest treasure of the Church.  It is her life.”  

Now that feeds me. And thanks be to God for every blessing he sends, opportunity for Mass, family bonds, and Chef Anthony.


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