“Cookies of Joy” and Saint Hildegard of Bingen
The feast day of Saint Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) is coming up on September 17. We consider her the patron saint of Creator Mundi! But is she also the patron saint of chefs and people who work with food in the widest sense? Read on to find out from Loyola Press (and then check out the recipe for her Cookies of Joy!):
“St. Hildegard is not officially the patron saint of anything. But a mystic nun who wrote recipes and developed a nutritional philosophy belongs on any list of Catholic saints associated with the culinary arts.
St. Hildegard’s interest in the healing properties of food makes her a very modern saint. To promote health and cheerfulness and to slow the aging process, St. Hildegard recommended a diet high in foods she considered most nutritious (spelt, fennel, chestnuts, chickpeas, meat from animals fed grass and hay, certain fruits and vegetables) and low in harmful ones (strawberries, eel, refined sugar, and sausage, to name a few). Among her dietary principles were that breakfast should be eaten late and served warm, and that a walk should be taken after dinner.
A brilliant woman, she also invented an alphabet, composed sacred music, founded monasteries, wrote books on medicine and botany, spoke out against corruption, travelled through Germany as a preacher and healer, and corresponded with popes and emperors. Never formally canonized, St. Hildegard was recently named by Pope Benedict a Doctor of the Church, one of only four women to be so named.
St. Hildegard’s recipe for “Cookies of Joy” is still used today. She encouraged bakers to eat the cookies often: “They will reduce the bad humors, enrich the blood, and fortify the nerves,” she wrote.”
And here is the recipe for Hildegard’s “Cookies of Joy!”