If prayer is raising our minds and hearts to God, then anything can be prayer. Preparing a meal can certainly be a wonderful prayer. If our cooking is for our family or others with whom we live or our friends, then it can also be a great act of love.
Stews: The recipe for stew that follows is an example of healthy meals that people have made for a long time. Many families grow the food they eat, and stews like these can be much more than meals. They are part of a culture, a way of life, a set of values.
If we start with a great desire to let cooking draw us closer to the Lord and to those in need, then the preparation of these special meals can become a time of grace.
3 yellow squash
5 or 6 plum tomatoes (or canned)
2 bell peppers
1 medium onion
6 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon each of basil and oregano
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
Peel and cube the eggplant, zucchini, and squash. Slice the tomatoes. Remove tops and inner membranes from peppers, and cut into eighths. Slice onion, and then cut into quarters. With the flat side of knife, press down on the garlic cloves, remove the skin, and slice.
In a large soup pot, sauté the peppers in a small amount of olive oil. As they soften, add the onions and the garlic and sauté until the onions are transparent. Then add eggplant, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, and herbs. Add enough water to cover vegetables.
Cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for one hour, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, pour the mixture into a casserole dish, cover, and bake at 350 degrees for forty-five minutes (remove cover the last fifteen minutes). Top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.
This is from Praying Lent by Andy Alexander, SJ, and Maureen McCann Waldron.