Cooking show is this New Orleans priest’s recipe for sharing the faith

Leonardo Colon   By Leonardo Colon for CNA

 

Father Robert Cooper on the set of his online cooking show. / Screenshot of YouTube video.

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Feb 26, 2022 / 10:00 am (CNA).

Last Holy Thursday, a New Orleans-area priest decided to go live on Facebook for his local parish community and make Resurrection Rolls. Little did he know, that would be the start of a cooking series tailor-made for the online Catholic community.

In 2021, Father Robert Cooper, pastor of Divine Mercy Catholic Parish in Kenner, Louisiana, began “Cooking with Father Cooper,” a video series where he creates various dishes inspired by feast days and celebrations of the Church — from crispy monstrance waffles to teach children about the Eucharist, to seasonal sweets like the Mardi Gras staple King Cake.

With the help of his 4-year-old assistant Lucy, Cooper has not only been able to find a new way to connect to his home parish, he has also created a form of online evangelization well-suited for the younger generations. He  spoke with EWTN News Nightly on Feb. 21, 2022 about the series’ beginnings, as well as his inspirations for creating it. You can watch the interview in the video below.

“Well during the pandemic my communications director Becky Delatte got with me and said let’s do something on Facebook Live, something for the individuals, and our community just to sort of rally around the beginning of Holy Week,” he recounted.

Initially, the cooking show was meant to be a “one-episode show,” she said. However, the positive reception he received from his parish, as well as seeing the potential for building a faith-based online community around the series, resulted in his decision to continue making the delectable dishes online.

“From there it just became a big hit, and we just continued to sort of do the episodes in order to teach the faith,” he elaborated. You can check out the videos here.

Clearly, Cooper has plenty of ideas still in store — as many of his videos’ ideas seem to draw from the rich, symbolic tradition of the Catholic Church. Being native to New Orleans likely hasn’t hurt, either, as the city is known for its proud food culture.

“Born and raised here in New Orleans, I came from a family where the Three F’s were important, and that would be Faith, Family, and Food,” Cooper explained..

“And so because of that we put those Three F’s together … to bring the Bible to life, to bring the stories of Christ to life, [and] to bring the teachings of the Church and the feast days to life.”

Watching some of the episodes online, it becomes clear to see that Cooper has managed to create a fourth F for the series — fun!

As for what’s next, Cooper is looking forward to sharing a special recipe for King Cake on his next episode, just in time for the Mardi Gras celebrations to welcome the upcoming Lenten season. While some may be disappointed to know that there are no plans for a formal cookbook, all of his recipes are freely available on the series’ official Pinterest page.


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