Faithful food

9_holy-grubFrom Jesus sharing food with his disciples to modern-day community meals, eating and drinking have long provided fellowship in Christian communities.

The release of Holy Grub, produced by North Balwyn Uniting Church, continues this centuries-old tradition. Not only does it contain more than 100 tried and tested recipes, all proceeds go to support Boroondara Community Outreach Good Grub program.

Held every Tuesday morning, Good Grub provides a free three-course lunch as well as fresh fruit and vegetables for more than 50 residents of the Boroondara area. Many of those who access Good Grub suffer from mental illness and are socially isolated. The program provides other essentials such as clothing and bedding, as well as helping people connect to other support services.

Rev Anneke Oppewal is the minister at North Balwyn UC. She said the cookbook highlights the importance of food in faith communities.

“In church, eating and drinking together is a time-honoured, sacred activity where the community practices what it preaches,” Ms Oppewal said.

“Before he died, Jesus left his friends with the sacred commandment to remember his life with the sharing of bread and wine. Ever since then, meals have been at the heart of the Church’s identity.”

As Ms Oppewal explained, the release of Holy Grub also pays homage to the countless women who have provided meals to worshippers in more modern times.

“A whole generation of women who so generously provided church meals are moving into their 80s and 90s,” Ms Oppewal said. “We felt it would be a good idea to ask them to share their recipes, enjoyed for so many years, with a younger generation.”

Congregation member Tarn Buasuwan is a design graduate who volunteered her time over the past three years producing the book. Recipes come from nearly 30 contributors representing various age groups and ethnic backgrounds.

Food critic for The Age, Michael Harden, officially launched the book in September.

Ms Oppewal said she has been really pleased with the initial response, with more than 200 books sold so far.

To order a copy of Holy Grub go to: or contact UniChurch Resource Centre: or phone (03) 9340 8807

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