April 8–9, 2011 • Off-Campus Event
Catherine Mandell, author of When You Fast: Recipes for Lenten Seasons, a cookbook published by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press (2005), made national news this past weekend. She appeared on the popular PBS program "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly" in a segment titled "Orthodox Lenten Meals," hosted by Bob Abernathy. In the show, Ms. Mandell shared with her audience not only the fasting rules and regulations within the Orthodox Christian tradition but also the ethos underlying them.
Expressing the joy associated with the season of Great Lent, Ms. Mandell presented the spiritual benefits of fasting, and commented upon practical works that normally accompany fasting, such as almsgiving and refraining from gossip. She also described her initial attempts at keeping a strict fast, and her continuing expertise in cooking proper foods for lenten periods.
Ms. Mandell's decade-long quest to attain a rule of fasting in accordance with the traditional Orthodox Christian discipline resulted in her cookbook, When You Fast. The cookbook contains 200 recipes for easy, nourishing, and appealing fasting meals; sprinkled among the delicious recipes are sayings from the Mothers and Fathers of the early Church regarding how the body and soul are affected by eating habits. The PBS interview featured the Mandell family at their Clearfield, Pennsylvania dinner table, partaking of the lenten foods featured in Ms. Mandell's cookbook.