‘Recipe for Joy’ reminds us that God alone satisfies our deepest longings

| Allan F. Wright | August 15, 2013 | 0 Comments

“Recipe for Joy: A Stepmom’s Story of Finding Faith, Following Love and Feeding a Family” by Robin Davis. Loyola Press (Chicago, 2013). 147 pp., $13.95.

recipe4joyThere were three things Robin Davis said she would never do: move back to Ohio, get married and join any organized religion. God, it seems, has different designs on an otherwise beautifully planned life that this author had been leading as a food critic for a top-notch newspaper in San Francisco.

“Recipe for Joy” is not about a dramatic conversion back to the Catholic faith, but rather how life apart from God reveals the void that possessions, position and prestige alone can’t fill. This book takes us on one woman’s journey to experience true joy as she bumps into God along the way in some of the most unlikely places. The book reminds us that the deepest longings of the human heart are satiated by God alone.

The author respectfully unfolds her own spiritual journey as she moves back to Ohio and meets her future husband, Ken, a father of three and recent widower who lost his wife to cancer. In reflecting on the events that bring her back to Ohio, Davis speaks honestly about her life growing up in a house without any real connections to religion or faith, and with parents who struggled with alcoholism and disappointment in varying degrees.

The relationship between Robin and Ken blossoms as she begins to integrate her life with his children and extended family. Food, shopping, cooking and eating become daily rituals that draw the author closer to the kids and the idea of family. Fear looms however, as she struggles to come to terms with the vocation to which God may be calling her.

A menu to follow

The Catholic faith is never imposed on her during her courtship with Ken, but is modeled beautifully by him and his family. Their faithful Catholicism is lived out through the peaks and valleys of everyday life. Ken is a man who is comfortable sharing his prayer life and the strength and peace it brings him. The story has a joyful ending while exposing some of the bumps along the way.

Each chapter is titled cleverly like a dinner menu: Soup, Salad, Bread, Main Course, and reminds us that God is still at work, drawing ordinary people toward himself so that we may experience true joy. “Recipe for Joy” is an excellent book for those who may be away from the Church and out in the world seeking, perhaps silently, a spiritual home.

Wright is academic dean for evangelization in the Diocese of Paterson, N.J., and the author of several books, most recently “Jesus the Evangelist: A Gospel Guide to the New Evangelization” (Franciscan Media).

Category: Book Reviews