By Barb Arland-Fye
Our Catholic Messenger staff looks forward to annual retreats at Our Lady of The Prairie Retreat near Wheatland as much for the delicious meals served as for the picturesque setting. Colorful salads made with produce and herbs from The Prairie’s gardens, homemade soups and breads, locally produced eggs, hand-picked berries and nuts make for a feast of the eyes and palate.
“I remember all the fresh vegetables we had and the fresh bread. They even had fresh honey butter for the bread. It was a memorable meal,” said circulation manager Nancy Hamerlinck. “Lunch there is better tasting, fresher and healthier than meals in many restaurants,” reporter/page designer Celine Klosterman added.
We’re not the only enthusiasts of the delicious, wholesome and attractive meals served at Our Lady of The Prairie Retreat, a ministry of the Davenport-based Congregation of the Humility of Mary. Guests’ requests for recipes motivated Prairie director Sister Kathleen Storms, SSND, to create a cookbook titled “Spirit of The Prairie, Catering to the Soul.” More than 200 cookbooks have been sold in just a month’s time.
It’s far more than a cookbook, though, because it provides lessons on healthy living, stewardship of the earth and hospitality along with 298 recipes and helpful hints for food preparation.
“Part of the ministry of The Prairie is to provide nourishing, locally grown foods. We believe that healthy eating is a spiritual act. Hence the subtitle of our cookbook: Catering to the Soul,” Sr. Storms says in the cookbook’s introduction. “Careful thought and planning goes into each meal. We have found local farmers who can provide us with naturally raised chicken and eggs, pork, vegetables and honey.”
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