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Fr. Brian J.W. Clarke, Holy Trinity, Cresco

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PASTOR CHEF: Fr. Brian J.W. Clarke, working alongside Stephanie Thompson

PREPARING: Homemade Soft Pretzels

Thank you for visiting the Rectory, Set, Cook! II: Turning Up The Heat page of Fr. Brian J.W. Clarke, who learned how to make hand-rolled soft pretzels under the watchful eye of Trinity Treats overseer and parishioner Stephanie Thompson.

A coffee shop and café inside a church? That’s Trinity Treats, which offers free hot coffee and freshly baked or prepared snacks after all Masses at least once per month. Soft pretzels – in addition to pot pies – have been a favorite Trinity Treat.

Father Clarke himself is neither a chef nor a cook. When he says he can’t boil water, he means it, explaining that he once walked away from a pot, which boiled over … and, well, you can fill in the rest with your mind’s eye.

Stephanie, on the other hand, owned her own bakery back in the day and loves to cook and bake, especially for family, friends and the people of Holy Trinity.

“I come from a wonderful Italian family, and we always loved to cook,” she says. “My mother always let me help out in the kitchen, and I’ve passed that on to my children. I think it’s so important.”

Stephanie promises these pretzels are quick and easy and anyone can do it. Perhaps the best part is how customizable they are. Stephanie and Father Clarke seasoned one batch with Montreal steak seasoning, another with kosher salt, and still another with dill pickle seasoning. They also made a batch with cinnamon sugar and melted butter. The moral of the story? Use what you wish. Experiment. Change things up! That even applies to the beer in this recipe. Stephanie used Miller Lite but suggested seasonal beers also would be great.

Please consider supporting Fr. Clarke and Stephanie with a vote (or a few) over the next six weeks. Holy Trinity Parish will benefit from your voting dollars, and so will Catholic Social Services’ anti-hunger efforts: food kitchens, food pantries and other hunger outreach efforts.

As Catholics, we are ALL called by Christ to feed the hungry, and we can do great things by working together daily to help us carry out these and other core Catholic missions.

Please also consider purchasing a Rectory, Set, Cook! cookbook. Proceeds of the cookbook sale will do a little more to help us fight the good fight against hunger in Northeastern and Northcentral Pennsylvania.


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