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  • Writer's pictureFaith Hakesley

Beauty and Tradition During the Holidays

A review of The Vatican Christmas Cookbook by David Geisser & Thomas Kelly

+JMJ+ One of the many beautiful things about the Catholic Church is its rich history. Sometimes I forget to stop and appreciate the richness of beauty and tradition, but they do tend to come to mind especially around the holidays.

For years my family has enjoyed incorporating our Catholic Faith into our holiday celebrations. For example, when I was growing up my family celebrated the Polish Wigilia (Christmas Eve celebration) and there are many traditions we practiced that centered around the Faith. Even some of the foods have religious significance. I always loved to hear my Babcia (Polish grandmother) share stories of her own Christmases as a girl, sharing the history of traditions, and passing on the richness of her faith and heritage to her family.

I’ve always been fascinated by how holy days are celebrated in different parts of the world, and I suppose there are few places on earth that have such diverse traditions than the Vatican. When you stop and think about it, you realize that each pope must bring his own customs and traditions to Rome. The word Catholic means “universal” and so it makes sense that the head of the Catholic Church would reflect that.

I recently received a copy of The Vatican Cookbook and I am certain that this cookbook will inspire readers to incorporate new traditions into their holiday celebrations. Flipping through the pages is like taking a tour into Rome and the Vatican. This is a wonderful addition to any Catholic kitchen but would also make a lovely gift!

It's amazing to think of how food and tradition can help people come together! We might not always agree with our family, friends, and loved ones (relationships can be tough) but sometimes coming together is possible and, when we do, we are able to share in Our Lord's goodness. Sharing traditional foods and customs is just one of many ways we can do that.

First off, the photos are stunning! I am definitely a visual person when it comes to choosing recipes and so I really appreciated the photography. There aren't just photos of the various prepared dishes, however. There are absolutely beautiful photos of the Vatican as well. On a side note, here's a disclaimer: giving a cookbook with images of tasty food to a pregnant woman could be a bad idea. The photos alone made this pregnant lady have several different cravings at once!

The recipes are ones served for centuries but also pay tribute to our more recent popes favorite holiday dishes. Most of us will probably never dine with a pope, but the opportunity to be able to bring some of their favorite foods onto our tables is pretty cool. Although the recipes seem positively delectable, I especially loved the stories included here and there. There are beautiful, memorable stories of Advent and Christmas traditions started by great popes, traditions started by the Swiss Guard, and even some Advent and Christmas prayers.

The holidays will soon be upon us and, though they are wrought with uncertainty and frustration over COVID19 restrictions and unrest in our church and country, there can still be beauty and goodness in them. We may be celebrating very differently than in years past, but that shouldn't stop us from celebrating the true meaning of the time of year. We can still incorporate special traditions and maybe even create some new ones.


To order your copy of The Vatican Christmas Cookbook, you can go HERE (non-commissioned link).

Disclaimer: this post is in no way sponsored by Sophia Press. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest feedback and am simply sharing my thoughts in this blog post.

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