Halligan on Food, Family and Melancholy

It is Christmas in Newcastle and the family home is full of family. We moved the big dining table into the garden, under the shade of the pohutukawas that I had given my parents for Christmas the year I was eighteen; a tree their size is a rare thing in this wind-scoured seaside suburb. I…

A review @ Koorong Books

There’s a lovely review of Eating Heaven from Paul over at Koorong Books: Simon Carey Holt has a great gift to write engagingly, proved by his authorship of his book God Next Door, which won Australian Christian Book of The Year in 2008. In Eating Heaven he has managed to convey lucidly his love of…

Eating Heaven with the Carmelites

The Carmelite Centre here in Melbourne hosts a monthly spiritual reading group. In May I’ll be speaking on my book Eating Heaven. Details below:

A ‘grace’ from the Dead Sea Scrolls

Author of my wellbeing, source of knowledge, fount of holiness, height of glory, all-mightiness of eternal splendour! I shall choose that which he shall have taught me and I shall rejoice in that which he shall have appointed unto me. When I put forth my hands and feet, I shall bless his name; when I…

Eating, knowing and lust

‘Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, and “the eyes of both were opened and they knew they were naked …” (Gen 3.7) The Hebrew word “to know” can have sexual connotations … The knowledge that Adam and Eve acquired included the knowledge that humans are sexual…

A little Shakespeare

‘This night I hold an old accustom’d feast, Whereto I have invited many a guest, Such as I love; and you among them the store, Once more, most welcome, makes my number more.’ William Shakespeare (1564-1616) Romeo and Juliet, act 1, scene 2, line 20

Christian weight loss books

I’ve been collating titles of Christian dieting books for a while now. Not just for fun, nor to make fun of them, but as part of a small research project. The earliest I’ve found is Charlie Shed’s 1957 ‘Pray Your Weight Away’. If you know of any I’ve missed, I would love to hear.

A ‘grace’ from Julian of Norwich

Be a gardener, dig a ditch, toil and sweat, and turn the earth upside down and seek the deepness and water the plants in time. Continue this labour and make sweet floods to run and noble and abundant fruits to spring. Take this food and drink and carry it to God as your true worship….

On vegetarianism

I’m no vegetarian. I’ve confessed my love of meat before, not as virtue but simply a fact of preference and of my complete inability to conceive of a meatless kitchen. Ten years ago I read a thoughtful but unconvincing book on the theology of vegetarianism. The argument was that a vegetarian diet is God’s plan for humankind and that…

White chocolate mousse … with raspberries

Ok, so I have a thing about raspberries. But being at the butt end of the season, you can’t begrudge me one last hurrah. Besides the punnets I found at the market were sensational. What’s more, an Easter Sunday lunch requires chocolate (whatever colour) and something that can be made the day before. Let’s be clear: ministers don’t do major…

Credo bowls

New bowls for Credo, the space that’s been providing food, rest and friendship to our neighbours here in the heart of Melbourne for more than fifteen years.     A Credo Lord’s Prayer God our creator, provider and carer, you are our best and fairest. We are committed to searching out and living the way you want…

Review in Perspectives

Merridie Costello has written a very generous review of Eating Heaven in the Autumn issue of Zadok Perspectives.

Zadok Perspectives on faithful eating

Zadok Perspectives is the quarterly journal of Ethos: Centre for Christianity and Society. It’s an award winning publication well worth a subscription. When it comes to issues of food, the latest instalment ‘Faithful Eating in an Unjust World’ is certainly worth a look. It includes some terrific articles on the big issues of agriculture and globalised food production from…

The Preacher’s Chicken and Dumplings

Twenty-five years married to my Southern Belle and I’ve never once made her chicken and dumplings. I hang my head. In the rural South, chicken and dumplings is a signature meal. While it may not win a prize for the prettiest, it’s a defining dish of the family table. Though nowadays cheat’s versions are as common…

dinner time at your place

A while back I clipped an article from a newspaper. The reporter had asked a group of young people to describe dinner time at their house. Here’s what they said: ‘I eat dinner with my mum, my dad and my dog, We don’t talk a lot, ’cause we’re too busy watching catch-up TV that we recorded earlier in…

Supermarket Pilgrims

Back in February, as part of the unit my friend Marcus and I teach on spirituality and food, I sent students off to tackle the mystifying task of ‘reading’ the local supermarket. Before they departed, reluctantly I think, we read a reflection from Terry Monagle’s book Fragments. Sadly, Monagle has gone now. I never met him…

Sex in the Kitchen

Sex in the kitchen is not what it used to be. For men of my father’s generation, the kitchen stove was a woman’s place and home cooking an almost entirely feminine task. Men did other things. Granted, the kitchen sink was sometimes less gendered territory, but the distance between the tasks of cooking and washing…

Eating with kids

If ever I talk of eating as a spiritual experience, I am inevitably eyed with weary disbelief by parents of young children: ‘Honestly?’ they say, without the need for words, ‘You’ve clearly never been to my house!’ A few years back I came across an essay by Joey Horstman. He makes the same point, though with much…

The silent meal

From time to time I’ve participated in a silent retreat, an ancient religious practice of prolonged silence — five days is my personal record. Most often such retreats are in the company of others. You gather at some agreed place conducive to the practices of quiet and, according to an ancient routine of prayer, solitude and…

There are ghosts in our kitchens

In February this year I taught a unit called Table Spirituality. I’ve taught the subject before, many times, and each time I begin the first session with an extract from one of Jill Dupliex’s books, the unfortunately titled Old Food. Though Dupliex writes beautifully, I keep returning to this piece for more than good writing. For…