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The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection

4.45  ·  Rating Details ·  1,088 Ratings  ·  211 Reviews
From a passionate and talented chef who also happens to be an Episcopalian priest comes this surprising and thought-provoking treatise on everything from prayer to poetry to puff pastry. In The Supper of the Lamb, Capon talks about festal and ferial cooking, emerging as an inspirational voice extolling the benefits and wonders of old-fashioned home cooking in a world of fa ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 5th 1979 by Mariner Books
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Laura
Oct 16, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVE. Read immediately.

From Chapter 16. "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; it is an outlandish place, a foreign home, a session in via to a better version of itself—and i
...more
Jay Miklovic
Jan 11, 2012 Jay Miklovic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every once in awhile I read a book that I know has altered me in some way, and not necessarily for the better or for the worse. This is one of those books.

It's hard to even know where to start with this book. I supposed you start by saying it is a cookbook, a life altering cook book. Yet this is not the typical utilitarian cookbook that gives you a couple hundred choices as to what to have for dinner tomorrow, instead it gets to the very heart of cooking. Yet it goes beyond the heart of cooking,
...more
Moses Operandi
I bought a used, sparsely underlined, and I had to shake my head sadly at what the former owner thought was important. Capon's observations on the mechanics of food are no doubt helpful, but his inspired ruminations on food and spirituality are the real meat on this bone. It was distressing to see that someone could read this book and completely miss the point.

This is, of course, a book about food. More than that, though, it's a book about food as a testament to the "unecessariness" of creation
...more
Jordan
Jun 13, 2016 Jordan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best book I have ever read.
Jeremy
Introduction to the Modern Library Food Series
ix: what food people buy says a lot about them; food is a lens through which to view the world—it tells a story

Introduction
xi: first pub. in 1969
xii: humor and wit as the most compelling kind of argument; fast pace is unhealthy, but so is the tyranny of nutrition
xiii: Episcopal priest; enjoyment of God's creation; contemplation
xiv: gluttony vs. enjoying the fulness of life
xv: the art of cooking restores the art of cooking

Preface to the First Edition
x
...more
Phil
Mar 05, 2013 Phil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Matthew Green
Shelves: christian
This quirky little book (a much re-read one in our house, I should add) is a reflection not only on food and eating, but on life, God and everything in between. Father Capon's writing is witty and full of verve, starting with his address to an onion and ending on the subject of heartburn (the lesser and greater). In between, he discusses such things as tin fiddles (useless, but well marketed substitutes for useful tools), a lot of culinary technique, dieting and the joys of almost a well organiz ...more
mandy
Feb 23, 2007 mandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes food
Shelves: food-ish
This book is a fantastic addition to any chef's collection of quasi-entertaining, good-food-in-general, why-don't-we-as-a-society-stop-and-eat-together-more, with glimmers of faith shining through. It's more than about food; it's about sacrament and good times with friends. Among his more interesting assertions is that for 'a serious dinner party', one must have 3/4-1 bottle of wine per guest. Needless to say, he had my attention. Beyond the wine, he shows the reader how he or she can create 4 s ...more
Kiki
Jul 14, 2009 Kiki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was giddy by the time he finished the work on the onion in chapter one. You feel like you are sitting at an large old wooden table in the Farrar kitchen, while he cuts into a red onion and simply, easily, beautifully cuts into the secrets of life. Oh and the chapter on wine will make you dizzy. A beautiful and hearty book on everything from the view of your kitchen table.
Daniel Wolff
Jun 02, 2008 Daniel Wolff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is about the desubstantialization of modern life from the focus of how to properly cook a leg of lamb. I have learned much about both life and lamb.
Missy Wagner
Jul 15, 2013 Missy Wagner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is simply the best theology of cooking and food book I have ever come across. It is a joy to read and gives inspiration to my cooking.
Jesse Broussard
Magnificent. The prose is very reminiscent of Chesterton, with the same playfully bemused, grandfather smoking a pipe in his easy chair feel.
Stephen Case
Feb 03, 2014 Stephen Case rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Robert Farrar Capon can come across a bit pompous, even pretentious, I admit. There were several times I cringed or rolled my eyes reading this work. He writes with a spirit of absolute confidence, and his tone is not mitigated (or only slightly mitigated) by the fact that he is so absolutely, insufferably, correct throughout.

That intro almost makes it sound as if I didn’t love this book. This is a cookbook that will change your life, and anything that changes your life-- especially something th
...more
Auntie
Nov 02, 2007 Auntie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: a good cook!
I was facing a 9 hour flight to England this Fall and I brought along this new author. I'd read a glowing review in the magazine Christianity today and on impulse bought a few of Capon's books.

This particular book is a cookbook plus much more! Capon starts with the directive to buy an entire leg of lamb, from which a home cook with a good arm and excellent cleaver constructs 4 sections to be cooked in multiple ways for a total of 8 dinners.

But this is also a meditation on theology...and as he is
...more
Durrell
Apr 28, 2012 Durrell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The NYT review blurb, presumably from 1965 the year this book was first published, described "The Supper of the Lamb" as "awesomely funny, wise beautiful, moving, preposterous..." Preposterous it is. The meditation on cutting onions could be dropped into any anthology of food writing or Christian meditation.
However, 1965 keeps getting in the way. Capon's advice on cigars at a dinner party while presumably spot on for the need of good quality cigars feels like a missive from another planet. There
...more
BJ
Sep 11, 2013 BJ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Capon is one of the best writers I have ever read. Period. Here he weaves theological meanderings inside of a cookbook. I doubt anyone could do it as effectively as he. Capon and I would disagree on many theological matters, no doubt, but the way he engages the reader's heart when it comes to the majestic grace of God in Christ and enjoying the goodness and fullness of creation, there are few competitors. Eat, drink, and be drunk with love for food and love for God.
Brandon Andress
Apr 08, 2013 Brandon Andress rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am pretty sure that this is my favorite quote of all time: "“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 earth's gorgeousness lies hidden in the glimpsed city it longs to become.” ― Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
Jennifer
Jan 12, 2016 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I loved this book. I couldn't stop laughing, and the writing is sublime!
Ellen
Sep 05, 2011 Ellen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. Looking forward to reading it again soon. Beautiful mingling of theology, wonderment, and food!
Carrie
Apr 08, 2012 Carrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This took me a long time, but it was worth it.
Douglas Wilson
Great book.
Donovan Richards
In Consideration of the Cookbook

Don’t get me wrong; I love cookbooks. But they are a hollow medium. At its core, a cookbook is an instruction manual—many more pretty pictures, but an instruction manual nonetheless.

A successful cookbook inspires you to cook.

First, a succulent picture heats your metaphorical oven. The food—photographed to cut to the core of your carnal desires—rumbles your stomach and leads you toward the grocery store to collect ingredients.

Second, the text offers careful instruc
...more
Johan Haneveld
Mar 24, 2013 Johan Haneveld rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! What a book! Definitely recommended!
As a kid I had a habit of reading cooking books, with recipes, like they were novels. I remember climbing in the kitchen to get to them, and re-reading them even, until I knew them by heart. I liked to look at the pictures of well prepared food, but I also read the recipes, and devoured books without pictures as well, just to know all the ways foods could be prepared. Funnily enough this didn't lead to me wanting to be a cook, or spend time in the kitchen
...more
Laura
I just read a cookbook cover to cover. Not an ordinary cookbook. The kind of cookbook that drops the recipe to meditate on an onion or to raise a toast to the fact that "the world will always be more delicious than it is useful" (40).

No doubt the references to cigars and women are dated, but in some ways his observations are ahead of their time. I particularly appreciated his complaints about those spooky ghosts called "nutrients" that prevent people from enjoying good food. Capon wants us to ap
...more
Eric Chappell
Jan 29, 2013 Eric Chappell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-reading
Years from now when people accuse me of being a foodie (in the best sense of the word) this book will be to blame.

A delightful feast of a read. Not exaggerating when I say: life-changing. This was my first Capon book and I think I'm beginning to understand the hype.

The Supper of the Lamb is a culinary meditation on onions, sweetbreads, knives, water and wine, noodles, pots, dinner parties, heartburn, and God. Capon takes the reader on a journey around the kitchen and to the dinner table, showi
...more
John
Jan 03, 2016 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a strange book. It's 2 parts cookbook, 1 part culinary reflection, and 1 part theological reflection. It shouldn't work. But it does. That said, it certainly isn't for everyone.

Capon is a fantastic writer with a sharp and dry wit, carving words like a holiday roast and heaping them up for you to enjoy. Here is a taste of his strange book:

"Accordingly, I passed my plate back for seconds and then thirds, and made a vow then and there to walk more, to split logs every day and, above all, t
...more
Emily Schatz
Nov 16, 2011 Emily Schatz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A culinary reflection indeed. If God created the world and food is part of the world, then the theology of creation ought to bear out in how we approach our dinner plates (and the time in the kitchen beforehand). I had never thought of this before, and apparently neither have most other people, which is why the best description of the book is probably "surprising."

Another apt description is "funny." I laughed my way through the whole chapter on noodles and a good part of the rest of the book whi
...more
Leslie
Nov 22, 2016 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not just a cookbook, but a book which casts a beautiful vision for enjoying life well through God's good gift of food. This vision is cast through humble reflections on eating simple meals that are carefully prepared with an eye for how God speaks to us through food and creation. I determined not to be a hearer only, so I immediately began making my own beef broth from roasted bones purchased from the butcher. I make a giant batch and freeze it. This one change has had a tremendously pos ...more
Ryan Shelton
May 07, 2016 Ryan Shelton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Part cookbook, part theology, part philosophy of living; all organically interwoven so that one does not feel more central to the book than the other. Page by page, this is the most delightful book I have ever read for its literary splendor. This guy can write! I knew this book would be special when I turned the title page to the dedication: "To my wife: the lightning behind all this thunder."

I learned a lot about cooking, but I was captivated by the earthiness of the world and the communicative
...more
Sarah
Dec 05, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book ignorantly expecting a theological discussion of the Eucharist, only to find I'll never look at an onion the same way, and I'm re-inspired to try my hand again at baking croissants. Capon writes in a slow, meandering, whimsical style; perhaps reminiscent of Chesterton, and certainly lending itself to savoring.
"Cookbook" is too mean a classification; although I'll refer to it time and again for the recipes, I realized this book is more a celebration of simple, material thin
...more
Kirsten
Jan 30, 2008 Kirsten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: You who love cooking or eating, you who love fellowship over food and drink
Shelves: cookbooks
I've never encountered anything quite like this book. The author's narrative voice is entirely his own and undeniably charming. In that, the book is a well told theology of the enjoyment of food and of preparing it written by a priest who loves those things. His premise is that the one who loves what he does looks grace into the world by seeing what is good. The idea can be applied to most of life, especially the more ordinary kind that needs it most. Since reading it cooking and eating are rich ...more
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Robert Farrar Capon was a lifelong New Yorker and served for almost 30 years as a parish priest in the Episcopal Church. His first book, Bed and Board, was published in 1965 and by 1977 left full-time ministry to devote more time to writing books, though he continued to serve the church in various capacities such as assisting priest and Canon Theologian. He has written twenty books on theology, co ...more
More about Robert Farrar Capon...

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“Do you seriously envision St. Paul or Calvin or Luther opening bottles of Welch's Grape Juice in the sacristy before the service? Luther at least would turn over in his grave.” 36 likes
“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 earth's gorgeousness lies hidden in the glimpsed city it longs to become.” 31 likes
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