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Heather King Talks Food and Faith


Friend of the show Heather King stops by the studio to discuss her new book, “Famished: A Food Memoir with Recipes,” and her other recent writing. Heather shares the inspiration for her column at Magnificat, and the inspiring discoveries she has made along her career journey.

Father Dave asks Heather how she got into writing. “The writing was always a deep desire of my heart. But basically, I was a huge drunk. I was an alcoholic. That was the path I took for 20 years. I went to law school during that time, and then I sobered up and realized I was not cut out to be a lawyer, and that call in my heart from my youth came up. And I started writing and converted around that same time.”

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Father Dave points out that Heather uses humor in her writing. Heather shares, “I think humor is born from deep, deep pain and sorrow. This is the Cross. As Mother Theresa said, the joyful participation of the sorrows in the world. You can get morbid and overfocus on suffering, which of course is not Christ, but neither is it focusing on pleasures, like having lots of money and taking three vacations. That’s not Christ either. The most responses I get to my work is when I talk about some pathetic resentment I have for my 4-year-old neighbor. You know, just the stuff of our daily lives. It’s important to be honest.”

Heather discusses her Magnificat column, “Credible Witnesses.”  “It’s finding those in our history, that maybe one day will be saints. It’s a blast. I get to find out about all of these people. And the Church, to her great credit, attracts eccentrics. We get to have martyrs, people who survived on the Eucharist alone for 40 years. There was Bartolo Longo — he was a Satanist priest, and he came back to the Church. There are composers and artists … It’s a blast.”

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Father Dave asks why she chose to focus her new book on food and faith. “Christ himself said they knew him in the breaking of bread. And didn’t he know human beings? He knew we love our food. I remember when my father died, all eight of us kids were there, and it was this sacred, holy time, but then an hour later everyone was like, ‘What are we eating for dinner?’ It’s that part of life that goes on. … The Mass is about connecting all of us. This other Catholic guy interviewed me and asked what a food memoir has to do with Catholicism. I didn’t even know how to respond. The Mass is a meal! Christ is our model for everything. How did Christ spend his time? He loved sitting down for a meal. What is the first thing he does after he is resurrected? He tells the apostles to build a fire and cook some fish. His first public miracle at the wedding of Cana has to do with food and drink. And the Last Supper: The last thing he does is share a meal with his beloved friends. The Gospels are shot through with beautiful stories about food and communion.” (Original Air 6-25-18)