It all started with a post about beer can chicken back in July 2010—that’s when Veronica Gantley shared her first recipe on her blog, My Catholic Kitchen. Born and raised Roman Catholic, Gatley (who works for a regulatory agency with the State of Virginia by day) and her family attend St. Pius X Church in Norfolk, Virginia, and her faith very much inspires her recipes: Think hot cross buns to celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, or Calcutta chicken curry with chickpeas to celebrate the feast day of the newly canonized St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa). “It still amazes me how a few ingredients can be turned into a meal that can rekindle a memory, express love or, in the least, set the stage for a wonderful gathering,” says Gantley, whose original dishes each have their own story to tell.
What inspired you to start a blog that blends faith with food?
My blog is inspired by the ever-changing liturgical season. When I am inspired to cook for a saint, or to cook in general, I always use the freshest, in-season ingredients.
How would you describe your blog in a nutshell?
I am a self-taught cook and photographer. I am a work in progress. The blog serves as a creative outlet for my faith and my cooking passion. I started my blog to chronicle my life, and it has morphed into what it is today. I love to eat, so I learned to cook. I like to photograph food, and like my cooking, sometimes the pictures are good, and sometimes not so much.
What do you seek to be to your readers?
I think I would love to be someone who inspires them to get into the kitchen and cook something delicious. I think my fans are a diverse group of people who have the inclination to want to cook something wonderful.
Are there any special dietary needs or restrictions Catholics follow?
We fast on certain days in the liturgical calendar; it is obligatory on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting is the reduction of food you would normally consume in a day. The Catholic Church defines this as one meal a day and two smaller meals, which, if added together, do not exceed the main meal in quantity. Catholics also abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent.
Do you find cooking for and eating with others to be spiritual?
Eating is a communal event, similar to Eucharist. God wants us to seek communion, and one of the best ways of doing that is around the table. Whether it is the Eucharist at Mass or a meal with the family, it is the communion that brings us closer to God.
Click through to get Gantley’s recipe for Eggs in Purgatory.