Great Texts professor invites families to ‘Dine with the Saints’ in new cookbook

Dr. Michael Foley adds "Dining with the Saints" to his series of pastoral books. Grace Everett | Photographer

By Allie Sczech | Reporter

In addition to his academic publications on St. Augustine, professor of patristics Dr. Michael Foley has branched out to write a series of pastoral books. His newest addition, “Dining with the Saints: The Sinner’s Guide to a Righteous Feast,” is a cookbook.

“‘Dining with the Saints’ brings the Catholic liturgical year to life, pairing over two hundred saints’ stories with an irresistible smorgasbord of international recipes,” the cookbook’s description reads.

Foley said the cookbook builds on his previous books that focused on creating the “liturgically correct cocktail,” including “Drinking with the Saints: The Sinner’s Guide to a Holy Happy Hour,” Drinking with Saint Nick: Christmas Cocktails for Sinners and Saints” and “Drinking with Your Patron Saints: The Sinner’s Guide to Honoring Namesakes and Protectors.”

“The purpose of the cocktail books wasn’t to encourage drunkenness,” Foley said. “It was to encourage merriment among couples — the evening cocktail to strengthen the relationship between Mom and Dad.”

Whereas the cocktail books are geared toward couples, Foley said the cookbook is aimed at families and encourages the practice of the family meal.

According to the Family Meals Movement website, the family meal is “the foundation for a healthy nation,” not only improving diets with greater fruit and vegetable consumption but also enhancing family connectedness, problem-solving and communication.

They have done all of these studies that link the loss of the family meal to smaller vocabularies, lower academic performance, high substance abuse [and] more unwanted pregnancy,” Foley said.

Associate professor of philosophy Dr. Tom Ward said he admires Foley for writing a book that addresses traditional ideas that have largely been forgotten.

C.S. Lewis once described himself as a ‘dinosaur’ relative to the modern, post-WW2 generation he was teaching,” Ward said. “Foley, too, is a dinosaur — someone who stands for convictions and manners that so many people have abandoned.”

Ward said Foley is also unique in his ability to write both academic works and more lighthearted pastoral books.

What stands out about Foley as an author is that he can go back and forth between technical, scholarly writing and enjoyable, accessible writing, Ward said. “But when he is in his ‘popular’ mode, he is still bringing his great learning to bear on whatever he’s writing about, whether it’s an obscure Catholic custom or the proper way to mix a martini.”