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A Taste of Heaven
A Guide to Food and Drink Made by Monks and Nuns

by Madeline Scherb

     

In A Taste of Heaven: A Guide to Food and Drink Made by Monks and Nuns, Madeline Scherb takes us on a journey to the past, to a time when stories were written in glass (the glass windows of the churches) and life was ruled by the toll of the bells.

Amazingly enough, this lifestyle has been preserved into our time. And as the author takes us through about 40 monasteries and abbeys in Europe and the States she has visited, we get a glimpse into the lives of these remarkable men and women, who still today follow the teachings set down by their ordersí founders hundreds of years ago.

Although they donít live anymore as their predecessors did, by farming the land, they still purchase their products locally and in season, make their own food and survive by selling their surplus goods. But, unlike so many of us, they do not live to work, but to pray. And never try to make a profit.

In her lavish descriptions of their wares, which include cheese, beer, wine and spirits, and sweets, the author manages to convey how food can be a sensual pleasure that transcends a physical need.

The recipes that follow each chapter incorporate the product manufactured in the specific monastery described to create a mouth-watering meal. Some of the recipes are plain enough (Savoy cheese melt), while others will expand your culinary horizons (chicken livers on a bed of apples comes to mind). All of them are not to be rushed, but crafted with love. They are recipes prepared from scratch, at leisure and with the freshest ingredients, to create the heavenly taste the book title promises.

A shopping guide—a list of places from which to order these products—and a suggested reading list complete this highly recommendable book.

The Book

Jeremy T. Tarcher/ Penguin
August 2009
Paperback
978-1-58542-718-5
Food / Cooking
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Excerpt
NOTE:

The Reviewer

Carmen Ferreiro
Reviewed 2010
NOTE: Reviewer Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban is author of the award-winning YA fantasy novel Two Moon Princess [2007], recipient of the ForeWord Magazine Bronze Award for Juvenile Fiction. Its sequel, The King in the Stone, is scheduled for publication in 2010.
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