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The Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living: A Loving Look at the Lighter Side of Catholic Faith, with Recipes for Feasts and Fun Paperback – September 1, 2005


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The Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living: A Loving Look at the Lighter Side of Catholic Faith, with Recipes for Feasts and Fun + The Bad Catholic's Guide to Wine, Whiskey, & Song: A Spirited Look at Catholic Life & Lore from the Apocalypse to Zinfandel (Bad Catholic's guides) + The Bad Catholic's Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins: A Vital Look at Virtue and Vice, With Quizzes and Activities for Saintly Self-Improvement (Bad Catholic's guides)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: The Crossroad Publishing Company (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824523008
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824523008
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #691,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"The book is outrageous… What rescues it is that it is not based on a sophomoric parody of Catholic exaggeration, but on a clear love for the sheer facticity of Catholicism." -- Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete, theologian and author, former president of the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, and professor at the John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and Family.

"Silly some of the time, respectful most of the time and hilarious all of the time, even the squirrel recipes sound delicious and will have me driving slower thru the red states, chumming for low cost snacks on the two lane all the way to Mardi Gras." -- Mario Batali, chef, host of Molto Mario, Mario Eats Italy, and Ciao America on the Food Network, author, The Babbo Cookbook.

"The ideas outlined here for food and fun are zany, sophisticated, and delightful! How many guides to seasonal cooking urge their readers to flambé chickens, smother squirrels, put antidepressants in the punch bowl and sell indulgences? Not nearly enough, if you ask me." -- Georges Briguet, proprietor, Le Perigord, NYC, which opened April 1,1964.

About the Author

John Zmirak is an editor, a journalist, a college teacher, and a political commentator. He is the author of The Bad Catholic's Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins and the coauthor of The Bad Catholic’s Guide to Good Living; The Bad Catholic's Guide to Wine, Whiskey, and Song; and The Grand Inquisitor. He has contributed to Investor's Business Daily and the National Catholic Register. He lives in New York City.

More About the Author

John Zmirak received his B.A. from Yale University in 1986, then his M.F.A. in screenwriting and fiction and his Ph.D. in English in 1996 from Louisiana State University. His focus was the English Renaissance, and the novels of Walker Percy. He taught composition at LSU and screenwriting at Tulane University, and written screenplays for and with director Ronald Maxwell (Gods & Generals and Gettysburg). He was elected alternate delegate to the 1996 Republican Convention, representing Pat Buchanan. He has been Press Secretary to pro-life Louisiana Governor Mike Foster, and a reporter and editor at "Success" magazine and "Investor's Business Daily," among other publications. His essays, poems, and other works have appeared in "First Things," "The Weekly Standard," "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "USA Today," "FrontPage Magazine," "The American Conservative," "The South Carolina Review," "The Atlantic," "Modern Age," "The Intercollegiate Review," "The New Republic," "Commonweal," and "The National Catholic Register," among other venues. He has contributed to "American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia" and "The Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought." From 2000-2004 he served as Senior Editor of "Faith & Family Magazine" and a reporter at "The National Catholic Register." He works now as an editor for several publishing companies.

Customer Reviews

The second book by the same authors is equally good, just a tad more serious.
A. Berka
So while at times I learned some interesting facts about the lives of the saints mostly I laughed out loud while reading it.
Jeffrey Miller
The book is organized chronologically, and includes feast days both great and obscure.
Robert T. Davis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Robert T. Davis on October 15, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was hooked on this book by page three, and by page seven had decided that it was going to be my Christmas gift to my pastor, priest friends, fellow deacons, and more than a few others!

It starts out with an introduction by Pope Alexender VI, one of the better Borgia popes, who died in 1503 and, according to the introduction, currently resides in the Seventh Terrace of Purgatory. That gives the reader a clue as to the sense of humor John Zmirak and Denise Matychowiak will inflict upon the reader!

The book is organized chronologically, and includes feast days both great and obscure. Just about every one includes suggestions for a celebratory meal or other, occasionally twisted, but always fun, way to observe the day. Sprinkled throughout are informative pieces on the sacraments, and any mention of Catholic practices and beliefs is, if humorous, always accurate.

It's not often you'll find yourself laughing outloud at a "cookbook", as I did at the Dallas airport, but if you love the Church, and you love to laugh, and you love to eat, this book is definitely for you!!!
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Eric Brende on September 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
What if George Burns and George Carlin and St. George of England had collaborated on a book about Catholicism? If they had, it might have come out something like this. This quirky compendium fills a niche that until now was absolutely empty. I don't think a book like this has ever been written, nor will one likely appear again. It makes a supposedly staid institution like Catholicism infinitely

interesting, opening up oddities and profundities galore with an offbeat mirth and zest to inform--however arcane or germane the information. For his bawdy humor, alloyed with surprising insights, John Zmirak deserves to be named honorary "Court Jester of the Catholic Church." Besides being a romp, this book is also remarkably educational. I can picture it becoming a kind of reference guide to be found in every Catholic household, combining strands from "The Joy of Cooking," the "Lives of the Saints," and "Jokes for Every Occasion." And make no mistake: the recipes it contains are quite usable, and were supplied by a gourmet chef. (For Pentecost, e.g., we have two choices, both seeming delicious: a flaming salad and a flaming cheese). Definitely not a book to read cover-to-cover, but one to consult or browse through. Best of all, the authors do genuinely love their title subject, the Church, and despite all the snickering, stand up for her when they feel the occasion warrants. The discussion entitled "Contraception,

Bulimia, and Frankenfoods" (p.27) was the most illuminating statement I've ever seen on the Church's most controversial teaching, i.e. Humanae Vitae (about contraception).
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Meredith Gould on September 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
Zmirak and Matychowiak have found -- and tickled -- the funny bone in the Body of Christ. Thanks be to GOD. Their wickedly smart book about sacraments, saints, and holy days is grounded in rigorous research, solid scholarship, and clearly a love for Catholicism, oddities and all. Every page includes laugh out loud funny observations about Catholic belief and practice. Church doctrine is poked at with wise irreverence. The illustrations are brilliant. What kind of [adjective] would choose a poodle to illustrate the Hound of Heaven? Too too funny. I love this book as much as my own! Actually, I'm jealous. John? Denise? Is that a sin??
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Marty on September 2, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You will not find a book on the Saints or Church history like this, anywhere! As a traditionaly minded Catholic, I have wanted fellowship with other like minded Catholics. All too often the Catholics I met were not people I wanted to "hang out" with, they could not laugh at themselves.

Zmirak & Matychowiak show Catholics that The Faith can be fun and interesting. The authors are real poeple, that are not afraid to wrestle with their Faith, but remain orthodox.

In the book you will learn little known facts about the Church, her Saints and her history. They also provide fun and clever ideas and recipes, to celebrate the Feasts of the Church.

You will laugh out loud and grow in virtue. What a great and welcomed combination.

Traditional, as well as Christmas and Easter Catholics, will enjoy this book. You will use it throughout the year and many years to come.

I really enjoyed the story of St. Agatha found on February 5th. I can't wait to put into practice the author's recommended recipes and action for that day.

Enjoy the book!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Helen Hancox on May 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is great fun! It's also a surprisingly interesting read for a protestant who didn't previously know that much about Catholic saints. The book moves through the year featuring different saints and other holy people, the stories behind them and occasional recipes and other suggestions for celebrating these feast days. The saints' histories are written in a very lighthearted way although the underlying theme of this book is strong - the authors stick firmly to traditional catholic doctrine including some of the more controversial areas such as contraception which sometimes sits a little oddly with the modern up-to-the-minute feeling of the book. It's written for an American audience and this comes through with the recipe ingredients, measurements and some rather American-centric comments (I'm British). Anglicans and Episcopalians also have rather a hard time in this book. However, I found this a fun and interesting book and the authors were able to very effectively and convincingly explain some more tricky and controversial catholic doctrine.
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