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The Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living
By John Zmirak, Denise Matychowiak
The Crossroad Publishing Company
ISBN 0824523008
Reviewed by William I. Lengeman III

What do you get when you mix a healthy measure of Catholicism, a heaping dose of recipes and spice it up with some offbeat humor? That's right - it's The Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living.

Before kicking things off, the authors weigh in with a brief tribute to the late Pope John Paul II's sense of humor. Pope Alexander VI chimes in with an introduction from the seventh heaven of Purgatory and then it's on to the book, which is broken down into twelve chapters - one per month - and further broken down into shorter entries.

Thus, on February 5, for example, we find an entry called Agatha: A Feast of Breasts. It's about a martyr whose breasts were removed and then miraculously restored. Accompanying recipes include Nipples of the Virgin and St. Agatha Popovers.

Other noteworthy entries include one on Ursula, the Saint of Slasher Movies and another on John of the Cross, the Saint of OCD (which stands for Order of Carmelites, Discalced, in this case).

Among the many memorable recipes are Smothered Squirrel, Easter Bunny Fricassee, Baby Jesus Cookies, Greek Flaming Cheese, Feta Cheese Cigarettes and Nun's Farts, a deep-fried pastry-type confection.

And frankly, if reading the words Nun's Farts didn't make you giggle, at least a little bit, then you're probably not part of the demographic for this offbeat, entertaining book.

William I. Lengeman III is a freelance journalist, food writer and book reviewer. More info at http://wileng.home.mindspring.com

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