Cookbook served family-styleBy Sheldon C. Good Mennonite World Review
EXTON, Pa. — Esther Rose Graber, 81, spent much of her Holy Week baking dozens of bread rolls for the 60 people she goes to church with in Aibonito, Puerto Rico.
On Easter, before flying to the U.S. to spend two weeks promoting her first cookbook, she played piano accompaniment at the church’s sunrise service.
She had arranged for the closing hymn to be sung right after the sermon so she could leave immediately for the airport.
Rather than packing her bags at the last minute, Graber celebrated Jesus’ resurrection and God’s wondrous creation.
“There we were, up on a mountain looking over the valley, as the sun rises, the clouds fall away, the sun comes in and creates color on that,” she said. “It was a stupendous sight. We’re overwhelmed with the beauty.”
Graber knows beauty when she sees it. She’s a Mennonite artist — a baker and an illustrator with uncanny aesthetic impulses — who seemingly approaches life with just the right mix of intensity and grace. She’s also a missionary, who moved from the U.S. to Puerto Rico in 1965 with her husband, Ron, a surgeon.
And now she’s an author, too.
Graber, her five daughters — Jane, Ellen, Sibyl, Ann and Susan — and their brother’s wife, Yvonne, have written The Daily Feast: Everyday Meals We Love to Share, published this month by Good Books.
Over the years Good Books has published dozens of cookbooks by Mennonite authors, including Phyllis Pellman Good’s Fix-It and Forget-It and Fix-It and Enjoy-It series, which have sold more than 10 million copies.
In The Daily Feast, each of the seven cooks presents three complete menus — a soup meal, family weeknight supper and a more elaborate guest dinner. As artists, the women value the meals’ visual presentation.
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