“‘Interfaith Cookbook’ celebrates how food brings us together”, published, Faith Matters column

‘Interfaith Cookbook’ celebrates how food brings us together

Faith Matters

Anne Taylor

Guest columnist

Usually, the Faith Matters column features just one faith tradition. Stepping away from the norm, this one features a small sampling of stories and insights about many different faiths. For example:

What if you, as a child, got to help your mom make a sweet Ambrosia Salad on Holy Saturday for their Easter dinner, after fasting during Lent – a ‘finally’ moment!

Maybe you’ve always loved Challah but had no idea of the spiritual aspects and moments of prayer during its making.

Want to support the Ukrainian people during these difficult days? Perhaps you can cook their Classic Meatless Ukrainian Borsch.

These moments and recipes are included in the ‘Interfaith Cookbook,’ generated by Arizona Interfaith Movement, which now comprises more than 20 different faith groups, with many of them being featured in the cookbook.

Who wouldn’t want to ‘sit at the table with ‘Kindness, Empathy, Civility and Respect’’? As listed in the book, most faiths and ethical standards have a Golden Rule text in their scriptures and teachings.

The stories and connections continue …

‘’Lord have Mercy’ and Mentorship’ story paints a beautiful experience of women in the church mentoring and supporting ‘in spiritual things … and in the art of cooking.’

Did you know that Chicken Biryani is part of the Islamic New Year (Lunar Hijri) celebration?

Could one consider a birthday cake for Jesus with ‘ingredients … available on Jesus’ day’?

The Hindu faith shared two of its festival celebration dishes with insightful stories – Savory Coconut Rice and Karanjikai Sweet Pastry.

Sheer Korma is a delicious dish Muslims celebrate prior to and after the Eid Prayer for both Eids.

Heri Heri is a hearty meal to ‘spark up your energy’, originally one ‘the slaves created to boost their energy and get them through the day.’ Today, it is prepared all over Suriname.

Full of rich history, Japanese Pork Soup from the Soka Gakkai (Buddhist) faith, was first made by their Second (peace-activist) President who made this for 6000 youth before passing the ‘baton of leadership’ on to them.

Daily offerings to Hare Krishna deities include Khara Mung Dal. Another, often made by children, is ‘Simply Wonderfuls’ or Khara Pera.

The Jain’s Kheer is a classic Indian dessert which is included during religious occasions, rituals and as they offer food and clothes to the needy.

Who wouldn’t want some Okra Goulash and a slice of Pecan Pie? Years ago, people from the four Black churches nearby often drove by Lizzie Jones’ home, waved, and sometimes stopped in for wonderful (interfaith) fellowship and delicious food.

A Jain recipe, Boodni Ladoo serves as ‘a collective symbol of unity, just like a community can be strong and held together with sweetness and goodness from each other.’

Our Sikh friends shared a most popular Punjab/North Indian dish, Saag Paneer, one of the healthiest dishes for vegetarians. (Plus, it’s always included in Arizona Interfaith Movement’s annual ‘Experience Interfaith’ dinner – watch for it this fall.)

This cookbook is a treasure and may be found on Amazon.com. It is our hope that you will enjoy using its recipes, and learn some interesting facts about each recipe’s religious or cultural significance. For your convenience, you can view the many faith groups who contributed to this collection and see the Table of Contents at www.AZIFM.org

And remember, ‘you’re invited to a seat at our table.’

Anne Taylor is the business manager of the Arizona Interfaith Movement.

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