Hospitality for Healing

(6 customer reviews)

olive tones with a monastery in an olive grove. Title Hospitality for Healing. Matushka Melissa Naasko



Seasoned with warmth and wisdom, Matushka Melissa Naasko brings us the living tradition of convalescent cookery learned from a lifetime of hospitality. From Mat. Melissa’s reading about monastic caretaking, to her hands-on learning in her abuela’s kitchen, to the mutual caretaking of dear friends, to feeding her household, to feeding her whole church family and the monks at the monastery attached to the church where her husband serves, these recipes and kitchen skills carry forward a lost tradition of caring for people going through long recoveries. With the practicality readers have come to expect from her workshops and popular cookbook Fasting as a Family, Mat. Melissa highlights what it means to help others recuperate in a time when new and chronic illnesses are more common than ever.


Table of Contents

Introduction: What is Hospitality?
Chapter One: Convalescent Diets
Clear Liquid Diet
Full Liquid Diet
Mechanically Soft or Pureed Diet
Gastrointestinal Soft Diet
Low Residue Diet
Renal or Kidney Diet
○      Low Liquid Diet
○      Sodium Reduced Diet
○      Potassium Reduced Diet
○      Phosphorus Reduced Diet
○      Low Protein Diet
Chapter Two: Appealing Meals
Chapter Three: Broth and Stock
Chapter Four: Soups and Stews
●      Creamed Vegetable Soups
●      Soupe Alexander
●      Chicken and Dumpling Soup
●      Beef and Barley Soup
●      Creamy Mushroom Soup
●      Sopa de Arroz (Mexican Rice Soup)
Chapter Five: Gelatin
●      Basic Fruit Gelatin
●      Basic Creamy Gelatin
●      Fruit Studded Gelatin
●      Basic Aspic
●      Kholodets (Studded Aspic)
●      Panna Cotta (Cream Gelatin)
●      Fruit Smoothies
●      Molded Salmon Salad
●      Fudge Pops
Chapter Six: Beverages
●      Flavored Dairy Coffee Creamer
●      Flavored Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer
●      Herb-Infused Simple Syrup
●      Spiced Simple Syrup
●      Simple Iced Tea by the Pitcher
●      Russian Style Tea by the Pitcher
●      Lemonade
●      Mexican Style Hot Chocolate
●      Mulling Spices for Apple Juice, Apple Cider, Wine
●      Hot Toddy
Chapter Seven: Entrees
●      Lower Phosphorus White Sauce Mix
●      Dairy White Sauce Mix
●      Gentle Cooked Cereal
●      Rich Cooked Cereal
●      Gentle Scrambled Eggs
●      Rich Scrambled Eggs
●      Easy Macaroni and Cheese
●      Mini Meatloaves
●      Chicken Salad Spread
●      Watched Pot Hard-Boiled Eggs
●      Easy Oven Baked Hard-Cooked Eggs
●      Egg Salad
Chapter Eight: Fruits and Desserts
●      Berry Compote
●      High-Protein Milkshake
●      High-Protein Sorbet
●      Whipped Cream
●      Whipped Coconut Cream
●      Coconut Milk Fruit Sorbet
●      Fruit Juice Granita (Chipped Ice)
Chapter Nine: Vegetables
●      Homemade Vegetable Purees
●      Maple Cinnamon Carrots
●      Buttered Spiced Beets
●      Creamed Spinach
●      Oven Roasted Zucchini

About the Author

Additional information

Weight .85 lbs
Dimensions 8.5 × 5.5 × .5 in

6 reviews for Hospitality for Healing

  1. Nic Hartmann

    Every faith community has someone who can feed people. And feed them well.

    In my home parish, it is Joyce, whose daughter owns a nearby bakery. Joyce can feed you in a way that you won’t even realize you’re fasting, and she always has something warm and loving to share with others. She also bakes the prosfora in our parish, and her heart is aimed at feeding others with love.

    The author of Hospitality for Healing, Matushka Melissa Naasko, is that person in her community, which not only consists of a Russian Orthodox church, but also a monastery where each monk has their own unique health needs. As the lead on food in her faith community, Melissa has a unique perspective that has made its way into this book, which is designed to not only help people feed their brothers and sisters, but also feed them properly and with reverence to their own unique needs. Not every sick person needs the same thing, and this book clearly shows that.

    Focusing on the idea of convalescent cooking and combining it with traditional health practices for ailing monastics, Melissa combines personal stories of hospitality (both giving and receiving) with practical advice for those who have special dietary needs during recovery. There are recipes with personal stories, and the collaboration with healthcare professionals makes this book a good addition to a family kitchen, a cooking ministry team, or a nutritionist’s library.

    The power of this book lies in how hospitality can be modeled in a parish. As part of a parish connected to a monastery, the setting for Melissa’s hospitality is in sharp contrast to that found in many modern Orthodox communities in the United States. However, the acts of hospitality, and the Christian love that they present, are something that can transcend community and distance. In talking with friends about this book, I found myself wondering how such close-knit hospitality can be modeled in my own parish, or among my group of friends and family. This book provides an example of how to try within our own worlds, be as they may.

    I was provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  2. Kathryn Reetzke

    In this newest publication from Matushka Melissa Fasting As A Family with Melissa Naasko and Park End Books has provided us with a timely resource to learn hospitality by supporting those who need care in illness. I was honored to read this book in the editing stages and now that it’s printed, the narrative of healing lived out in stories by the author are both comforting and encouraging for anyone who has found themselves as a caretaker.

    As I write this review, my youngest rests on my lap after two days of restless sleep because of a runny nose. The wisdom of caretaking from Matushka Melissa and the wealth of diet information included in this book make it a valuable addition to any home library. Having recipes and words of comfort on hand as either a long term caretaker or a family recovering from illness are truly blessings in our modern times where many food and healing traditions have been lost. Matushka Melissa has also consulted with a medical professional to include modern medical knowledge and diet information.

    From the interviews I have done through my job here at Park End Books with Matushka Melissa, it is evident she is living the words of hospitality she writes about, from caring for neighboring monastics, sick parishioners, her family of 11 children, or supporting people like me from afar with her offerings of prayer.

    I can also recommend that each parish purchase a copy to make this book available so that we can properly serve our brothers and sisters in Christ with nourishing meals when they are sick. I plan on buying a copy to keep with our parish “freezer ministry” where we store frozen meals on hand for anyone to take if they are sick or caring for the sick. In times where care-taking can be isolating, this book brings the sound advice and prayers of a close friend near to help you as you care for your loved ones.

  3. Sarah Gingrich

    I’ve had the joy of reading this incredible work by Melissa Elizabeth Naasko which offers recipes, wisdom, and counsel on how to care for the sick (and their caregivers!). It is love with an apron on, and it takes the mystery away from clear liquid diets, renal diets, soft diets, and making meals both appealing, varied, and safe for those convalescing.

    I love tools; having the right tool to meet a precise need is incredibly satisfying. Having this book on hand equips me to meet the needs that may arise in my family, friendships, and community with less hesitance and more informed cookery and care.

    Woven among the recipes are stories of both extending healing hospitality to others and receiving it as well, along with scripture and quotes from the saints to anchor us within the larger picture of serving Christ as we minister to His beloveds.

  4. Jocelyn Abyad

    I have never met author Melissa Naasko in person, but I like to imagine that if I did, we would be instant friends. You wouldn’t imagine I would feel that way given the two books I have read by her are cookbooks, but it is true! Her wit and charm shine through despite seemingly straight-forward content. She is faithful to her Orthodox faith without being overly rigid or adding undo burden to people already strapped by difficult health situations.

    Reading her latest book, Hospitality for Healing, feels like a long chat with a good friend. I thought at first that this book might not be very relevant to me without an obvious patient in mind, but quickly realized what a wonderful resource this is for all of us! I wish I had the book on hand when my teenagers had their wisdom teeth out this past summer. The applications for many of the recipes are endless and I honestly learned a lot! I am especially looking forward to trying some of the dairy free recipes and treats she provided since my family does not tolerate dairy.

    In the book, Matushka Melissa is realistic about feeding both soul and body of our loved ones when they are ill, while also providing practical tips for the caretaker cooking the meal as well. She provides multiple ways to make food appealing and healthy while meeting multiple dietary limitations and guidelines as well. She truly honors the patient as a suffering person in need of kindness and simple pleasures and not “just a burden.” She is realistic about the time and energy required to make food and care for a loved one and provides multiple preparation tips and store bought alternatives to time consuming ingredients.

    Like she says in her book, “When we don’t know what else to do, when we don’t know how to love someone ink the way that they need, we can fill that space with food.” This book gives you every opportunity to love others through the gift of food, no matter what they are going through. I truly can’t recommend it enough.

  5. Sara Clark

    * Note: I received a promotional copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

    Reading “Hospitality for Healing: Recovering Care Traditions,” written by Melissa Naasko and published by Park End Books, has been like uncovering a long-lost gem. In this book Mrs. Naasko has given the reader a wealth of knowledge through her years as mother to a large family, wife to a monastery priest, loving Matushka to the monks of the monastery, friend, and caretaker. I was first hooked on the book through her friendly writing style – I felt as if I could be sitting and drinking tea with her as I soaked in her stories. I was then impressed by the depth of knowledge as she navigated all of the different types of restrictions that caretakers may face when dealing with a loved one’s illness(es) – from liquid diets to renal restrictions to mechanical issues. Finally, the recipes! A bounty of delicious recipes, as well as modifications depending on diet, are laid out in beautiful detail. Whether you are a seasoned cook, or a novice facing the needs of a loved one, charts and gentle explanations are there to support you.

    This book would make a wonderful addition to any home library, and all parish bookstores should make sure to keep a stock as it will sell quickly! In addition, all parish kitchens should keep a copy on hand as we strive to feed the hungry and care for the sick. This calling of hospitality and healing is often a difficult and exhausting one but with the resource of “Hospitality for Healing” by Melissa Naasko, the burden can be eased as we all strive to be nourished by Christ.

  6. Amanda

    Hospitality for Healing is a beautiful invitation to serve not only the nutritional needs, but also the emotional needs, of those recovering from an illness or trauma. The recipes are wholesome and helpful, even addressing specific dietary needs. However, this book goes well beyond recipes.

    As Mat. Melissa points out, the skills she imparts in this book should not be relegated only to healthcare professionals. Rather, they are necessary skills for caring for the community as a whole, as to one degree or another we are all called to do. Hospitality For Healing is a trove of lost wisdom, once practiced by generations before us as a loving duty and common work of mercy. This beautiful book makes this knowledge common once again. May we not allow such an opportunity to pass us by.

    Hospitality for Healing deserves a place of honor is any home, parish, or kitchen library.

    I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *