“The culinary variety is also an expression of the rich culture of peoples and nations around the world,” says the priest from Virginia, “some of which I have had the privilege of visiting over the years.”
Scrolling the Internet often brings up remarkable and attractive websites or videos. And for food-focused Catholics, what a treat to find a priest’s cooking video, like this one. Of course, family members and his friends and parishioners at St. Mary’s Basilica in Alexandria, Va., must understand this about Father Edward Hathaway: He’s a foodie, with a discerning palate.
When he travels on pilgrimage to various countries, he is delighted to taste different cuisines.
“Benefiting from a sanguine temperament, I have always been open to exploring the wonder of God as revealed through food and cuisine from different parts of the world,” he said. “The culinary variety is also an expression of the rich culture of peoples and nations around the world, some of which I have had the privilege of visiting over the years.”
And as Father Hathaway says: “When you come back from a trip abroad, like a trip to Spain or Italy, preparing and tasting a local dish is a way of remembering the pilgrimage. For example, on the feast day of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, tasting a good French white wine and Normandy style soleis a fun way to honor the saint and enjoy the fellowship that a good meal brings.
Ultimately, he explained, his passion for food and cooking started in childhood. He grew up in a household with a large family and a stay-at-home mom. It was by watching his mother cook, he says, that he learned many culinary skills. Father Hathaway recalled that for brunch after Mass, his family was in the kitchen preparing brunch dishes, such as bacon eggs and English muffins.
“My mom was a good cook,” he said, “and as teenagers we could bake cookies…and help make homemade pizza. We ate dinner together as a family. … The connection with food was particularly important on Sundays. Cooking and sharing a meal certainly brought joy to Father Hathaway, and he found that cooking itself can be relaxing.
Inspired by various cooking shows, “I decided to film, like a lark, the making of a tiramisu with a priest brother,” he said, “and it was a bit of a hit with my friends. I’ve done 10 or 15 videos here at St. Mary’s and it started after I made tiramisu for a staff Christmas party here. A lot of people loved the video, so I decided to mix cooking with liturgy.
“I think a video is a way to be present to people,” he said, “and people like to see their priest doing normal things. It creates a personal connection because we all have to cook and eat … and when they see us [priests] doing normal things brings us together.
As a priest, Father Hathaway understands how God created humans with the need to eat every day, and how God offers himself to humanity in Holy Communion.
“Jesus comes to us in bread and wine when receiving the Eucharist,” he said.
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Recipe: Croissant Tart
This recipe is featured in Santa Hathaway’s Christmas video and would be delicious any time of the year. The recipe was originally published on March 2, 2021, in delight.
For 4 to 6 people
- 1 box of croissant dough
- 6 eggs
- 2/3 cup white cheddar
- 4 slices of cooked bacon
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp. chopped chives for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400° and line a medium baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the croissant dough on a baking sheet and pinch the seams together.
Fold the edges of the dough to create a crust. Crack the eggs onto the croissant dough and sprinkle with cheese. Place the bacon on top and season with salt and pepper.
Carefully transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until the crust is golden brown and the egg whites are set, 10 to 15 minutes. Garnish with chives. Cut into squares and serve hot.