September 6, 2014

7 Quick Takes – My First Ever – About Cookbook Writing, Radio, the Holy Land, My Baptism Anniversary and More!

7 Quick Takes – My First Ever – About Cookbook Writing, Radio, the Holy Land, My Baptism Anniversary and More!

I have always admired Jennifer Fulwiler and the 7 Quick Takes that she hosts at Conversion Diary every Friday. Many of my blogging friends faithfully take part in the 7 Quick Takes, but I have never done so myself. Until today. After reading, please let me know what you think. Should I make this a weekly practice?


Take 1

Writing a Cookbook: the down-and-dirty behind recipe testing and food photography – The end is near. I mean the end of the cookbook writing adventure that I have been on since February. At least it’s almost over for the first cookbook. There will be more.

The edits are almost done, and in just a couple of weeks the book will be off to the presses. It is due to be released November 1st (but you can pre-order it now from Liguori Publications and Aquinas & More. [Hint, hint!]

Around the Table with The Catholic Foodie

My experience of writing Around the Table with The Catholic Foodie: Middle Eastern Cuisine has been nothing like I expected it to be. First of all, I didn’t conceive the idea for the book. Sure, I’ve been wanting to write a book for years and years, and I have actually been approached by several publisher to do so. But Liguori Publications was the first publisher to approach me with a specific idea… a cookbook tied to my family experience of Middle Eastern cuisine (my wife’s family is Lebanese) and my “Food Meets Faith” pilgrimage last February to the Holy Land. Having that solid starting point has made all the difference.

In addition to doing all the writing, I also did all the cooking and the food photography for the book. There are 78 recipes in all. Some of them we have been cooking for years, others were given to me (or inspired by recipes given to me) by chefs here in the States and in the Holy Land, and some are brand new creations based on my culinary experience and travels.

One of the recipes (for home-brewed beer!) is a sneak peek recipe from my friend Sarah Vabulas, The Catholic Drinkie. She also is publishing a book with Liguori Publications, which will be available in 2015.

All of the recipes in the book had to be tested. All of them had to be written out in a way that would make sense to both the amateur and the avid home cook. And all of them had to be photographed.

Here’s a juicy detail: all of the photos in the book (minus the cover and the professional photos of yours truly) were taken with my iPhone 5s. What an amazing little device!

In the coming weeks, I plan to tell some behind-the-scenes stories of the making of this cookbook… from culinary fiascos and failures to some of the silly arguments and fights that this endeavor caused… to some of the surprising little successes we discovered in the kitchen and around the table. Please be sure to stay tuned for that!

Take 2

Radio Interviews: fun and hard to schedule – The Around the Table Food Show airs on Friday afternoons at 3:30 in New Orleans (690AM) and Baton Rouge (1380AM). It is also released following the broadcast as a podcast episode and archived at The radio show is a lot of fun and it is something that compliments The Catholic Foodie podcast. My co-hosts – Msgr. Christopher Nalty and David Dawson – are constant sources of inspiration and encouragement. They are also full of fun… and Catholic to the core.

Jeff Young The Catholic Foodie with Chef Leah Chase
Me and Chef Leah Chase

We have been running encore shows the last half of the summer, while programming upgrades and changes are being made at the station. Our new “season” is set to debut on September 19th and our first guest is world-renowned Chef Leah Chase of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant.

Now for a little secret… as long as you promise not to tell anybody… Some of our radio shows are pre-recorded. Like the one with Leah Chase. We actually recorded that one a couple of weeks ago. On location. At Dooky Chase’s restaurant. I can’t wait for you to hear it!

Chef Leah Chase is a gem. In a matter of 30 seconds she summed up what The Catholic Foodie is all about and what the Around the Table Food Show is all about. You’ll have to listen to hear it. If you miss the broadcast, the show will be available as a podcast afterward.

Did I mention that she fed us? Yeah. It was a special treat.

Take 3

Interview / Content Requests this Week – I am frequently called upon for interviews, whether for radio, web or print publications. Not all the invitations are from Catholics either. But that stands to reason. If you google “Catholic” and “food” guess who comes up right at the top? That’s how I stepped into the hornets nest last fall when Kuma’s Corner came out with that hamburger topped with a communion wafer. I was interviewed, I said it I found it to be offensive, and then the world decided to stand up and yell in my face about how wrong I am to be offended by a hamburger.

It was fun.


Ever since then I have been somewhat reluctant to speak to secular journalists. But this week I received an email from an editor at Good Magazine wanting to talk to a Catholic food professional about… fasting. My first thought was Uh-oh. But then another thought sneaked in. What would Pope Francis do? Would he refuse to talk to the secular media? So I accepted. I’ll be talking with the editor early next week.

Two other invitations came in this week, but I can only tell you about one of them right now. My friend Fr. Peter Preble, an Orthodox priest in Massachusetts, hosts a podcast called Shepherd of Souls, which is hosted on Ancient Faith Radio. Fr. Peter extended an invitation to me to produce a 5 to 8 minute segment monthly to be included in his show. I am thrilled about this collaboration for many reasons. Of course, Fr. Peter is a friend. But beyond that, I love the idea of working together with the Orthodox in any capacity. The New Orleans Greek Fest has a special place in our hearts, and my family has made friends over the years with some members of the Orthodox community in New Orleans. And, then… well, there’s Jesus’ prayer to the Father “that they may be one.” There’s more that binds us together than tears us apart.

Take 4

New Places to Find The Catholic Foodie – More news on The Catholic Foodie front… You can now find Catholic culinary inspiration in the pages of the Liguorian Magazine each month. In the current issue, I share my recipe for Lebanese Shish Kebab, which is perfect for any football tailgating party. You can check it out here:

Take 5

Holy Land Pilgrimage Update – The next Food Meets Faith Pilgrimage to the Holy Land is still on, and registrations continue to come in… but there is still room!

Travel to the Holy Land with Jeff Young The Catholic Foodie Chef Matt Murphy and Fr Kyle Sanders

The pilgrimage is from February 26 to March 8, 2015, and space is limited. Register by September 15 and receive a free autographed copy of my new book Around the Table with The Catholic Foodie: Middle Eastern Cuisine.

Food Meets Faith Pilgrimages provide a unique pilgrimage experience – a food and faith experience. In order to make this kind of pilgrimage work, we aim for smaller groups rather than larger. We want to preserve the intimacy of the experience. Register now to secure your spot. Register by calling Susan at 1-800-842-4842.

If you have never been to the Holy Land, this is a wonderful opportunity to experience the places where Jesus walked, talked, and ate with his disciples. It’s where the gospel was first preached and where the mysteries of our salvation took place. It’s a life-changing experience.

If you have been to the Holy Land before and are inclined to go again, I would encourage you to travel with me. These food and faith pilgrimages are different than a regular pilgrimage. In addition to all the usual pilgrimage experiences, you will be treated to a deliciously foodie buffet of events, including dining in some of the best restaurants in the Holy Land. The aim of a Food Meets Faith Pilgrimage is to grow in faith around the table of the Eucharist and around the dinner table too.

Take 6

My Wife, the Triathlete – OK. Here’s another confession. Excitedly and full of ambition, I started writing this post yesterday morning. Then life happened. As if usually does, of course.

Today is no longer Friday. It’s Saturday.

I’ve been up since about 4:30 AM. Why? Because my wife ran a triathlon today. This is not her first. She’s been a triathlete for a couple of years now. However, this is her first out-of-state triathlon. We are in Florida at the moment (Perdido Key), but the triathlon took place in Gulf Shores. She came in 5th in her division, which ain’t too shabby. 😉

The pic at the top of this post was taken this morning before the race started.

Take 7

Tomorrow Is the Anniversary of My Baptism… 44 Years Ago – Again, today is now Saturday. So 44 years ago today I became a child of God. I have to say that baptism is a life changing experience. (tee-hee). I remember nothing of that day or of the event itself. I was only a couple of months old when it happened. But it has made all the difference in my life. I would not be who I am today without the grace of God that I received first in the Sacrament of Baptism.

Thank you, Mom & Dad, for making sure that I was baptized… and that I received the proper Catholic education as I grew up. I will be indebted to you forever.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!