Tag Archives: theology

One Year (plus a few days)

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I realised a few days late that I’ve been working on this blog for a year and nearly six days. When I started this blog I simply intended to write about the experience of eating and the communal implications that accompany the meal. After finishing my Theology degree with a nine month long project on the theology of food and eating, the communal meal has become so much more than a bite to eat with friends or, as incredible as it is, a time to build relationships with others. The ethos of the communal meal, and I mean a community that extends beyond the immediate table members as well and particularly, has become a way of life for me that is ever expanding, holistic, and encompasses all areas of life.

I have eaten at many delicious restaurants this year, cooked many incredible foods, made lots of culinary mistakes and many successes as well. I’ve gone vegan, decided to pursue the tiny house lifestyle with Kaitlyn, and have set many goals for ourselves that emphasise a communal bonding that, for me personally, simply started at the table.

Thinking before you chew can be quite the dangerous exercise.

Thanks to anyone who actually read this blog this year! It is greatly appreciated. More posts soon to come!

~Cooper

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Communio Sanctorum: The Theology of Food

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Hello everyone. It is my distinct pleasure to announce that my senior research project, the culmination of my four years of higher education, is complete. I started this blog almost a year ago with the intent to write not only about my adventures with food, experiments with recipes, and the overall wonder that cuisine incites in me, but also to describe the theological, philosophical, and spiritual implications of eating. I began my research project with the desire to write about “the Theology of Food” in relationship to the church sacrament of the Eucharist (or the Last Supper). Over the course of nearly nine months of work it evolved into an intensive study on sacramental eating, church practise, and agrarianism.

It is therefore my distinct honour to present to you for your intellectual pleasure my theological studies thesis dissertation entitled “Communio Sanctorum: Sacramental Eating for the Body of Christ in an Industrial Age.” In this dissertation I place theologians Norman Wirzba and John Howard Yoder in dialoge to assert that churches must adopt ‘sacramental’ eating habits in order to embody the mission established by Jesus in his exemplary life.

Note: this is quite long. If you like reading long stuff, eat this up. But if not, don’t start reading it. Also, ©2013 Cooper Flatoff. Yeah. You’ve been warned. One more thing: special thanks to Norman Wirzba (who actually emailed me!) and, rest his soul, John Howard Yoder. You guys wrock theology hardcore.

Here we go.

ATTENTION: I HAVE REMOVED THE CONTENT OF MY PAPER FROM THE INTERNET DUE TO MY OWN PARANOIA THAT SOMEONE IS GOING TO JACK IT AND COME UP WITH A BETTER IDEA, THEREBY BEING EVIL. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO READ IT, PLEASE VISIT THE CONTACT PAGE AND SEND ME AN EMAIL. THANKS!

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Food is just so commonplace. Everyone eats, everyone has an opinion about food. But taste is not exclusively a matter of individual perception, and food is never ‘just food.’ Whether we like it or not, what we eat affects how the world looks. And that affects the way we understand it. When we look at a plate of food, we should see the greater ecosystem too. If we find out where the food comes from and where it goes to, maybe this knowledge can be made into a kind of flavour-enhancer. It matters whether the potatoes came from New Zealand or from the Lammefjord area of Denmark, and I can see great potential in not dividing knowledge and flavour (just as in art, we should not separate form and content.) They can be part of one and the same food experience. In the same way , cooking and eating and taste are assocaited with many other things. Food can be political. Food can be about responsibility, sustainability, geography and culture.

I finally got my hands on a copy of Rene Redzepi’s NOMA: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine (review soon to come). As I read the introduction by artist Olafur Eliasson, I was amazed when I discovered that his essay, and particularly this quote (if not the entire message of the ‘cookbook’), essentially summed up the concept of my blog. I’m glad we agree, Olafur and Rene.

A Word from Olafur Eliasson

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Campus Cooking

There comes a time each fall when students all over America rue the day they were conceived (and rue the fact that they thought of their conception). As do the bus drivers. But thankfully, the back-to-school rush is nothing but utter pleasure for the dedicated, intellectually starving eccentric types such as myself who enjoy gorging our grey matter with wonderful information that will most assuredly escape our brains in a few months.

Enough with the self-indulgent introduction – time for the food. My wife Kaitlyn and I have been comfortably settled in our on-campus apartment for less than a week, but the flames are bright and the boiling hot tempura oil is flying (into my face) in the kitchen. Yes, the oil was a bit hot; yes, it exploded, spraying bajillion-degree olive oil into my face; yes, I cussed out the tempura. But then I ate it aggressively and maliciously, which made me feel quite happy, inside and out.

Anyway, I figured I would share some of my recent kitchen exploits from the past three days. Here’s some homemade mac and cheese I casually threw together (note the sarcasm here). I wasn’t super excited about the recipe since the 2 cups of heavy cream that was essentially the sauce caused the dish to maintain a very dense and heavy feel (particularly for early fall). Plus, I used sharp cheddar instead of the requested aged gouda. However, it was creamy and had a tasty albiet rich flavour. Garnished with a little parmesan cracker thing I baked in the oven, fried onions, and basil from our window herb garden (visible in the background).

I also tried my hand at creating risotto for the first time. I resolved to learn this classic, fundamental dish after watching Masterchef contestants flounder during a risotto challange earlier this season. I made my risotto with vegetable stock, arborio rice, olive oil, butter, onion, parmesan cheese, lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper, and a bit of parsley to garnish. I don’t have any photos of that because we ate it all without taking a picture. Plus, it was dark. No natural light = no food photography.

I previously mentioned my tempura attempt, and this is something I should address in full. I have previously created this delicious Japanese dish of fried fresh vegetables (in this case zucchini and onion), but this time I was limited by a small fondue pot and minimal amounts of olive oil. Yes, you’re probably thinking, “This dude displays ludicrous inferiority in the realm of tempura fabrication – who makes tempura in a fondue pot?” and I completely agree with your musings. For my batter I used 1 cup of flour and 7 oz of Pellegrino sparkling water. However, I am beginning to realise that Pellegrino may not contain enough CO2 for a light and crispy batter, so I recommend purchasing some super sparkly seltzer if you want to make a light and crispy tempura.

So that’s all. I just wanted to do a quick post (since it’s been five thousand years since my last one) and show off Kaitlyn’s food photography (once again, click HERE to see more of her work). Happy eating, and for all you college and grad students out there, I promise you’ll get a job someday. The economy isn’t as bad as they say 😉

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