Milton Brasher Cunningham is a writer, chef, teacher, minister, small urban farmer, and musician from Durham, North Carolina. You can visit him at where he shares reflections and recipes.

Sara Miles has written the foreword to Keeping the Feast where she admonishes us: "Don't eat alone because unexpected things happen when you prepare food and eat with others."

Cunningham charts his journey as a cook. When asked what his "signature dish" is, he gives a round-about answer ending with this:

"The signature — the distinguishing mark — of a great meal is in the memory it creates."

Reusing our own mothers' recipes is a way of recreating the warmth and the satisfaction of special dishes they cooked for our family. The same thing happens when we crave comfort food from the past: we remember how good it made us feel and we want that feeling again. We thought of this while perusing Cunningham's recipe for "Open-Faced Chicken Pot Pie."

In a society that still is wary of strangers, the church sets another standard with Communion. Everyone is welcome at this table. Come and join the conversation. Take and eat. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad.

Cunningham is convinced that the time factor is what lies behind the difference between a good meal and a great one. We need to slow down and savor each bite.

Food creates special bonds that can be celebrated. For example, Cunningham's great grandmother's recipe for shortcake became a link to this ancestor he never met. He concludes: "That recipe is my geneaology."

With its admirable mix of commentary, recipes, poetry, and reverence for Communion, Keeping the Feast by Milton Brasher-Cunningham is a delight to read from start to finish.