Another extravagant food entry

It’s time for some shots of really extravagant food!

Yesterday for lunch, I splurged on …

… and… wait for it …

I included the sprig of parsley to annoy the creepy people who think we should be rubbing gravel through our hair and drinking water from sidewalk puddles… which – come to think of it – would be hard to do this time of year.

The grilled cheese sando and tomato soup with crackers were very tasty, which was probably a bad thing.

And for today! 

I admit, this, like the sandwich above, was homemade… from actual leftover chicken bones and … meat!

I bought the little ravioli.  Was that wrong?

More evil parsley, I know.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. William says:

    Father Z: Bon appetit! Good food and good cooking are not the province of the filthy rich. It’s a God-given talent to able to use what is at hand to make a delicious and nourishing meal. All the best recipes have humble origins. Just love your cooking demos!

  2. A. J. D. S. says:

    Nothing is more satisfying on a cold day than a grilled sandwich and some hot soup!

  3. Bede says:

    Surely a little joy in a decent meal is to be allowed? Even by the sour grapes crowd?

    It’s funny, but the tomato soup and toasted cheese sandwich bring me right back to my midwest childhood. It was the lunch my mother always made for me when I was home sick from school.

  4. Ohhhhhhh… grilled cheese sandwich…
    Now you’ve gone and made me want one.

    I do have to admit I prefer cheese on toast – cheese, with a little fresh egg mixed (to bind it) and a dash of Worcestershire Sauce, salt & pepper to season, then under the grill until just browned.

    Excuse me a minute… I have to go do some stuff in the kitchen…

  5. Supertradmom says:

    We are having left-over gazpacho with left-over turkey for lunch today, and we had grilled cheese sandwiches a few days ago. Yummy. By the way, does anyone know if it is true that the Northerners in America eat their grilled cheese with pickles or relish, and the Southerners with grape jelly? I have seen this in my limited experience of travelling and grilled cheese experiences!

  6. An American Mother says:

    Whoa~~ I am a Southerner born and bred, with deep roots in Maryland (the 1640s) Virginia (the 1680s and 1700s) and South Carolina (johnny-come-latelys in the 1740s). I have occasionally seen locals have a pickle with (not on) their grilled cheese, but GRAPE JELLY???? Never!

    Must be the sort of folks who put ketchup on everything (even their scrambled eggs — and I HAVE seen Southerners do that!)

  7. An American Mother says:

    Grilled cheese and cream of broccoli soup go very nicely together. And you might as well put a little parsley on the soup — it goes bad if you don’t use it up!

    But today we were dog training, so we stopped by Crowe’s Open Air Bar B Q in Madison GA and picked up a bag of pulled pork sammiches.

    The dogs got to pick up the crumbs from the masters’ table.

  8. wanda says:

    Oooh, now I’m hungry. No Fr., it wasn’t wrong to buy ravioli, I’m with you. Love grilled cheese with tomato soup. Oh, btw, never ate it with a pickle or jelly on it! Arrgh.

    Did I miss something? What is with the references to gravel and drinking out of a puddle? Why is Parsely evil, again?

    A little Thank you!

  9. Frank H says:

    I like to slip pickle slices in my grilled cheese sandwiches!

  10. Penta says:

    My only objection to the food posts: They make me hungry. Every time.

    Given that I’m a poor student again, that can get…very expensive.

  11. boko fittleworth says:

    Do you do meatless Fridays, Father.

  12. r.j.sciurus says:

    Appears to be a splendid use of God’s simple gifts. Seems to me it would be a sinful to take them for granted and not treat them with respect. In fact, can we not draw a parallel with our liturgy? Even the simplest occasion for Mass should be treated and presented with the same care, honor and respect as a Solemn High Mass (to the extent possible of course). Doing the best we can do with what we are given gives glory to God, the giver of all gifts. How can we complain about Masses that are thrown together with all the care of Hamburger Helper (Tuna Helper on Fridays) and then do the same thing with God’s gifts of life and sustenance?

    Therefore, I must conclude that not only was the parsley in the soup appropriate, but you should have in fact, taken even greater care to ensure that all the crackers were separated. It seems you missed a couple during the cracker fracture.

  13. Frank H says:

    Wanda, take a look at some of the comments in this post from 2008. I think it will give you a flavor of some of the rude comments Fr Z has received concerning his wonderful posts on cooking and dining. Evidently certain readers would deny the good Father the joys of cooking and entertaining friends.

  14. Mariana says:

    Please explain to those of us who aren’t American why we should rub gravel through our hair and drink from puddles, and why parsley is evil? Or perhaps gravel is politically correct shampoo?

  15. wanda says:

    Frank, Thank you. Eeesh, such comments. Sour grapes, perhaps.

    Thank you Father Z., for the beautiful pictures of your tasty-looking meals, and for the cooking tips. All is gift from God, I’m fairly certain that He doesn’t mind if we enjoy his gifts and take delight in them.

    Throw on some more Parsley for me!

  16. r.j.scirus: can we not draw a parallel with our liturgy?

    Indeed we can. You have, I am sure, seen my analogies involving steak and cabernet for adults or mashed goop for infants.

  17. joebebopper says:

    I remember the grilled cheese and tomato soup from when I was a kid. No meat then, though. I’m trying to stick to no meat on Fridays now late in life. It is not coveniently easy at times.

  18. catholicmidwest says:

    Now this looks better!! I can tell what’s in it. =)

  19. Mariana says:

    Frank H,
    Thank you (your comment to Wanda), I missed that before I wrote my above, I thought perhaps the gravel and puddles referred to something all Americans know : ) !

    As far as I can see Father’s cooking is mainly cucina povera, so how could anyone object, and even if it weren’t, making nasty dishes is just spoiling God’s gifts. I’m all for steak and cabernet on all levels!

  20. Dr. Eric says:

    In my quest for a smaller spare tire my wife and I have been cooking all our meals and following a diet plan. There are plenty of leftovers and Wednesday I made tortellini vegetable soup from scratch for our Wed and Fri meatless days. I appreciate Father’s posts on food. I think making food from scratch allows a person to know how food is made and to appreciate where it comes from.

    Keep up the good work Father!

  21. dcs says:

    By the way, does anyone know if it is true that the Northerners in America eat their grilled cheese with pickles or relish

    Do you mean pickles on the grilled cheese? Never heard of it, much less seen it. Tomatoes, ham, or bacon, yes, but pickles?

    My son will eat grilled cheese and peanut butter.

  22. marthawrites says:

    Yesterday I brought my husband home from a two-day stay in the hospital for some elective surgery. His only request was for tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich with pickle relish–the perfect comfort food!

  23. I didn’t thinkg this grilled cheese and pickle thing was so widespread!

  24. Immaculatae says:

    MMmmm. What a great idea! You made me laugh aloud with the “rubbing gravel through our hair and drinking water from sidewalk puddles…” ! Even the Orders which are most penitential make the most of flavors and the serving of the meals. Not to mention the art of order & cleanliness of life. They also make some of best soup and sandwiches. I think we should send the Sisters a panini maker…

  25. Mariana said: “As far as I can see Father’s cooking is mainly cucina povera, so how could anyone object, and even if it weren’t, making nasty dishes is just spoiling God’s gifts.”

    Exactly! Personally, I’m glad to see Father Z keeping up his strength with good food. Also, it’s logical for him to point out the beauties of cookery in his photos, just as he records the glories of Creation at the birdfeeder and in the plants around the Sabine Farm.

  26. I forgot one:

    “For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and you say: ‘He hath a devil.’ The Son of man is come eating and drinking: and you say: ‘Behold a man that is a glutton and a drinker of wine, a friend of publicans and sinners.'”

  27. laurazim says:

    As for cheese with jelly, we ate those when I was a kid. (Pop was from Baton Rouge, if it matters.) Sharp cheddar with grape jelly, lightly toasted…….delish!!

  28. A. J. D. S. says:

    Even here in Pittsburgh (not the South by any means), grilled cheese and a pickle is a common combination. Many restaurants serve sandwiches with pickle spears as the default garnish.

  29. Will D. says:

    I wanted to check the calender to see if we had arrived at Lent already, since a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup are my default meals on Good Friday and Ash Wednesday. I can’t really warm up to them any other time of the year.

  30. PatrickV says:


    It was not wrong to purchase the little ravioli, they are quite tasty in soup. I also like the tortellini that come from the freezer case. A handful of those, and the soup is transformed.

    All in all good hearty fare for the current tropical weather in your neck of the woods.

  31. Supertradmom says:

    Just curious,why is parsley “bad”? I always thought it was the poor person’s herb, as it is so easy to grow anywhere.

  32. wanda says:

    Immaculatae, YOU made me laugh out loud, to the point of wheezing, thinking of you laughing at ‘rubbing gravel through our hair and drinking from sidewalk puddles.’ Gosh, that sounds incredibly painful. Perhaps the sidewalk puddle water could be put through a Brita filter?!?
    (Only kidding.)

    Thank you for the extra laughs, wheeze, wheeze.

  33. laurazim: Sharp cheddar with grape jelly, lightly toasted…….delish!!



  34. PatrickV: It was not wrong to purchase the little ravioli

    Really? Whew! I was worried that I was supposed to feel guilty for having made good food and that I spent more than $3.25 for three meals.

  35. Supertradmom: why is parsley “bad”?

    Parsley is bad because it makes food look good.

    I worked my way through grad school as a cook on evening shifts and on weekends. I learned to put “personality” on a plate. Sometimes all that took was a change of arrangement, a dash of color, some creativity, and maybe even a sprig of parsley.


    Parsley will grow from a crack in the sidewalk. In the depths of winter I have parsley growing on my kitchen counter.

    Italians love parsley. They compare themselves to parsley! As a friend of in Rome says, “We Italians are like parsley… we’re everywhere!”

    This is really easy. But there is a certain kind of person who thinks that beauty is bad, that material things are evil, that anyone of you who enjoys food or anything else, must be wicked.

    I make simple food look good. Some creepy idiots think it is evil because it both looks good and it might taste good.

    In any event, if people look at the recipes I prepare, and pay attention, they will find that I use mostly simple ingredients in interesting ways.

    Don’t get me wrong! I do happily use more expensive things when I get them, usually because guests bring them or someone gives them to me. I know food and wine because I was a cook and I worked selling wine once upon a time. I appreciate them. And when we use them well we can also give thanks to God for having placed us at the summit as the stewards of material creation.

  36. Legisperitus says:

    I think I see an image of the Great Green Arkleseizure on that sandwich.

  37. Dr. Eric says:


    Do you think that the attitude that you get over the food posts is a holdover of the various strains of Jansenism that came over with the Irish clergy?

  38. The Egyptian says:

    The grilled cheese, one of my favorite things about lent, grilled cheese (with bread and butter pickles grilled inside) and tomato soup, food for the soul

  39. An American Mother says:

    Laurazim . . . must be a Crescent City thing.

    Never seen it in the Southeast.

    Grape jelly!?!?!? (still shuddering slightly here)

  40. JustDave says:

    One of my favorite breakfasts foods is toast with jelly topped with cheddar cheese. I remember being a little boy watching my grandfather eating this. I told him that it was gross. He asked me to try it and my opinion changed right away. Try it! Now it is not only good for me to eat, but it is a fond memory of my grandfather too.


  41. An American Mother says:

    Father Z, I don’t understand the fuss at all. Your dishes are simply prepared with nice, fresh ingredients, and that’s the basis of the best everyday cookery anywhere in the world.

    I am a plain cook, with none of your foreign kickshaws (I think that was one of Jane Austen’s bluff old squires who said that), but none of my guests even at “company dinners” have ever seemed displeased with the rather simple meals they get from my kitchen. The very freshest and best meat and veggies obtainable carry the day on their own, with a little touch of lemon, salt & pepper to taste, perhaps a simple sauce or gravy, and garnish for looks (yes, parsley!)

    The only conclusion I can come to is that some ‘health food’ or ‘organic kitchen’ nuts just can’t cook, so they figure that if it isn’t watery, too tough to chew, or grey and ugly, it must be bad. [The trouble usually doesn’t come from the health food crowd, but rather from those who are spiritually defective.]

    To quote from the old Joy of Cooking, in its turn quoting from Howard Weeden’s Bandanna Ballads, “Cookin’s like religion is/ Some’s ‘lected and some ain’t/ And rules don’t no more make a cook/ Than sermons make a saint.”

  42. claiborneinmemphis says:

    Pickle? sure.
    Bacon? Rarely anymore, since it’s such an artery-clogger.
    Jelly? Never. Never even heard or thought of it, and we’ve been in Virginia since the mid 1600s, and in Tennessee since before it was a state.

  43. Supertradmom says:

    Father, thanks for the insights into parsley. I too have been “into wine” in the past and have raised herbs in the past. Write a cookbook, please, Father.

  44. irishgirl says:

    Oooo-your food pictures look good, Father Z!

    I like grilled cheese ‘sammiches’, only I end up making them black and crispy! My mother always told me whenever I was using the stove, ‘Turn down the heat…you’re just like your father!’ (my father turned the gas knob on HIGH whenever he cooked something!)

    I’ve made grilled cheese with raost beef slices or ham slices….but grape jelly? Bleah-sounds awful.

    But, to each his own….

  45. Supertradmom says:

    I have a friend raised in Galveston, who told me that grape jelly on toasted cheese was de rigueur. Growing up in Iowa, we did the pickle thing.

  46. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Certainly everyone has enjoyed baked brie with a sweet fruit topping [cranberry, fig, raspberry, etc].

    So cheddar and grape jelly isn’t that far off. I might even try this.

    And cheddar cheese with sweet pickles used to be a favorite snack – until I couldn’t find pickles without High Fructose Corn syrup. boo hoo. [The instant I eat HFCS, my brain gets cobwebby and i get really dizzy.]

    MMMM. Tomato soup – its good with cheddar cheese in it too.

  47. ssoldie says:

    O Boy, grilled cheese sandwich with cheese ravioli in broth(lots of parsley) and tomato basil soup, fit for a king

  48. ssoldie: Yah… really living high on the hog. Today for lunch… oatmeal!

  49. BillR says:

    Ah…Grilled Cheese with pickle relish was an old standby of my youth. Much like a tomato or in your case chicken, it adds something to an otherwise pedestrian sandwich. Of course, that’s what those fuddy-duddies think priests are supposed to eat, when honey and locusts are out of season. Keep up the good work Padre.

  50. laurazim says:

    I’m tellin’ y’all, the sweet of the grape jelly really tempers the pungeant flavor of the sharp cheddar. Extra sharp works well, too, if you can cut it without it crumbling. Don’t knock it ’til you try it! C’mon, Fr. Z–be a little adventurous…I’d even be willing to send you some good Wisconsin aged sharp cheddar to aid in your efforts. What’d’ya say? :)

  51. Never have I seen such a debate about a cheese sandwich.

  52. An American Mother says:

    But that sandwich is sitting right on top of some interesting issues . . .

    After going back and reading some of the earlier kerfuffle, I see exactly what you mean, Father, about ‘spiritually defective’. I sort of struck this an inadvertent glancing blow before, because the fanatic ‘organic’/vegetarian foodies have a quasi-religious devotion (and a reflexive impulse to condemn those who don’t agree). Not unlike the folks who are in a tizzy about your food posts.

    But surely there is a place for appreciating God’s bounty and using it wisely, somewhere between making the belly a god and putting gravel in ones hair and drinking from puddles!

  53. Girgadis says:

    You know Father Z, I had no idea to whom you were referring until I went back and
    read the comments that Frank H linked to in his post. For an hysterical moment,
    I was actually wracking my brain to see if calling a vegetable “rustic” in appearance
    could be construed as an insult. Reading those previous comments, I now know
    better. FWIW, I love your food posts and so does my family because they know
    what an inspiration you’ve been to me in the kitchen and more importantly, at
    Holy Mass. St. Teresa of Avila, my personal heroine, once remarked to one of her
    Carmelites, “there is a time for penance, and a time for partridge.” The Good Lord
    does indeed walk among the pots and pans and it’s a shame some folks would
    begrudge a priest of God for enjoying His bounty. I’ve never grown
    parsley but I have various varieties of thymme growing out of the cracks of the
    sidewalk in front of my house. For obvious reasons (dogs) I don’t cook with it
    but it’s beautiful to see it growing, especially the Veronica.

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