Feast and Fast
Christina Rees, Darton, Longman and Todd
This book from Christina Rees, a member of the General Synod of the Church of England, is an invitation to a greater mindfulness in the ordinary practices of our lives during Lent, particularly eating and drinking, and also shopping, sleeping and exercising.
The dialectic in the title — Feast and Fast — is reflected throughout the book, which talks as much of abundance as it does of abstinence, of plenty as well as lack, of receiving and letting go, and of resurrection as well as death.
The author is clear that giving something up — intentionally creating emptiness in our bodies and in our lives — is not simply about self-denial but about creating space for something new.
With gentle wisdom and humour, she gives an intimate portrayal of her own experiences of Lenten discipline and offers suggestions for preparing for Lent, entering into the spirit of Lent, and for fasting and eating well.
Throughout there are questions for further thought, suggestions for prayer and scriptures for further reading. There is also a series of reflections for Holy Week and Easter.
The recipes, which comprise almost half the book, are much-loved favourites from the author’s family and friends, some of which have been handed down for generations.
The food is simple and nutritious, for all times of day. Some recipes feature meat and fish, some are vegetarian and there is even a fabulous raw food lasagne.
Recipes for Sundays (feast days) are also not neglected.
This book, which comes with a recommendation from Archbishop Rowan Williams, understands Lenten discipline as deep embodiment and deep relationship — that we might come to know ourselves, God in ourselves and our place with and in God more wholly and fully.