Yesterday, one of my very favorite authors passed away at the ripe age of 88. Robert Farrar Capon is his name, and he’s the author of that indescribably brilliant culinary reflection: The Supper of the Lamb.
If you know anything about how much I love sheep, you’ll know just how outlandish it is for me to promote a book which, at its premise, is about all the different ways you can cook one. Outlandish or not, I promote it nonetheless.
Here’s an excerpt from the last few pages:
“For all its greatness (trust me — I am the last man on earth to sell it short), the created order cries out for further greatness still. The most splendid dinner, the most exquisite food, the most gratifying company, arouse more appetites than they satisfy. They do not slake man’s thirst for being; they whet it beyond all bounds.
Dogs eat to give their bodies rest; man dines and sets his heart in motion. All tastes fade, of course, but not the taste for greatness they inspire; each love escapes us, but not the longing it provokes for a better convivium, a higher session. We embrace the world in all its glorious solidity, yet it struggles in our very arms, declares itself a pilgrim world, and, through the lattices and windows of its nature, discloses cities more desirable still.
You indict me, no doubt, as an incurable romantic. I plead guilty without contest. I see no other explanation of what we are about. Why do we marry, why take friends and lovers, why give ourselves to music, painting, chemistry, or cooking? Out of simple delight in the resident goodness of creation, of course; but out of more than that, too.
Half of earth’s gorgeousness lies hidden in the glimpsed city it longs to become. For all its rooted loveliness, the world has no continuing city here… We were given appetites, not to consume the world and forget it, but to taste its goodness and hunger to make it great…
The road to Heaven does not run from the world but through it… Eat well then. Between our love and His Priesthood, He makes all things new. Our Last Home will be home indeed.”