A convert to Catholicism, Alexandra Greeley is a food writer, restaurant critic, and cookbook author, who is passionate about every aspect of the food world—from interviewing chefs to supporting local farmers and to making the connection between food and faith
A resident of Austin, Minnesota, techie Ryan Langr may be passionate about creating online games and web content, but he has two even more fervent passions: cooking and creating recipes. Putting those passions aside, what has really directed Langr’s life has been his Catholicism.
“Faith has played a role in my life since I was as young as I can remember,” he said. “It was definitely a part of my upbringing. We were not ‘pray the Rosary daily’ Catholics, but we talked about God.” And when Langr was in middle school, the Church took first place in his life. “It felt like a real community, and it helped me solidify my faith,” he said. “Going to church and the Eucharist makes faith so complex and interesting. You cannot dive deep enough when trying to find more about Catholicism.”
Even as an adult, Langr volunteered faith formation coordinator, youth minister and music minister for about 10 years. Although he has changed focus, he said that he can still help teach people about Catholicism through his writing, blogging and freelance work. “This helps me interact with people,” he said, “and helps them to interact with each other. I get to interact with teens and academics professors. I really like the breadth of interaction.”
Putting his tech interests aside, Langr’s other main passion is cooking, which he attributes to his mother and grandmother, though for them cooking was not a ritual.
“I have always had a passion for cooking,” he said. “It is a creative process, so I don’t follow recipes, because they are too restrictive. If I want it done right, I do it myself,” adding that creating recipes combines elements of creativity and of science. “Cooking is a rich field,” he said, “I can cook my whole life and never be perfect.”
Because ethnic recipes for him bring awareness of the universality of Catholicism, he plays around with assorted Polish recipes, but loves exploring Chinese, Egyptian and Italian dishes. “One of the reasons it challenges my cooking skills is to play with flavor palate. It is a growth experience in the culinary field,” he said.
By merging his passion for cooking, writing and converting others to the faith, Langr has become a regular contributor to the website, Peanut Butter & Grace, especially to its feature, “Cooking with Catholic Kids.” As a dad himself, Langr finds that presenting a special recipe for celebrating a feast day and adding a prayer helps him and his fellow contributors show the interconnection between food and faith.
As an at-home dad, Langr says he is super-blessed to care for his preschool daughter. ”I can help and form her knowledge in the faith,” he says.
Note: For anyone who loves to play online games, check out Langr’s game website and enjoy.