This priest fishes and cooks and has a great recipe for Potato Soup with Ruffles | National Catholic Register

When priests love to cook, and even hold cooking lessons for parishioners, you can bet that they not only understand the recipes, but also have a loyal following. This is what distinguishes Father Joseph Yokom in his former pastoral mission, the Scioto Catholic Community in Portsmouth, Ohio. He and his director of sacred music, Jordan Wearing, started the program during the pandemic and called it “Covid Cooking with Father Joe and Jordan.”

The first event, he said, was a fundraiser to help a local Catholic Social Services center, and in one hour they received pledges of more than $37,000 for food for the pantry. But, Father Yokom said, they also served as a means of communicating with the parish during the COVID-19 lockdown. They chose recipes from parishioners, Jordan, and his favorite family as well as from the cookbook, Cooking with the saints. “We’ll also make bakeoffs, find our own cookie recipes, and have parishioners judge them,” he said.

Father Yokom was born and raised in London, Ohio, and was raised in a small farming community and was the eldest of five children. He said his mother was a devout Catholic and brought up a very Catholic home environment. His father, who baptized him as a Catholic when he himself became a priest, is still very religious and attends Mass regularly.

Father Yokom noted that being a priest had been in his heart and mind since the second grade. In the early years of his life, he was adopted by his uncle and uncle.

He said, “It was a time, my St. Patrick’s School teacher, Sister Mary Pat, and Reverend Father Romano Ciutola, really impacted my life. And I knew I wanted to become a priest so I could give back to my family in the way and the love I’ve received.”

He said it took a long time to make that decision, but fate played a role: The girl he was dating in college was a Catholic and the two of them often went to mass.

He said, “The Lord spoke to me, saying, ‘I still call you to be a priest. “It was true at Mass. I was torn on the inside about the decision, but on my first day at seminary (Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland) I knew I was in the right place.”

His passion for cooking started at the same time that he wanted to become a priest. He started cooking when he was young by watching his grandmother cook, and as an Eagle Scout, he used to cook over a campfire. His father, who taught himself cooking by watching shows on PBS, also pushed his son to eat the spoon.

Some of his favorite recipes? Potato soup from the Frugal Gourmet cookbook (see below) and his grandmother’s raisin oatmeal muffins. “We all bring them for Christmas,” he said. “In my first parish, I would go home to lunch and then come back to the parish. In my new assignment, I am 20 minutes away from my parents and close to the whole family. I know how blessed I am.”

When he’s a chef, he enjoys cooking wild game. “I am a fisherman,” he said, “and I cook things that I have caught and use for a meal, such as venison cooked in a tarragon cream sauce.” “It’s delicious and the best way to make venison because the cream of tarragon takes off some of the oomph.”

He added, “I’m into Italian meatballs, I use different types of meat, and my favorite recipe was the Florentine one, and I try to replicate the sauce and the meatballs, using lamb and pork. … I still haven’t mastered the Florentine sauce.”

Now a pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Grove City, Ohio, Father Yokom is thinking of a way to teach the faith through food, and his parishioners are very excited about it. “We are setting up a format as a new way to reach parishioners,” he said.

“My dogs, Finbar and Colby, love the parish, too,” he added.

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Potato soup with ruffles

One of the Yokum family’s favorite recipes

This is potato dumpling soup, and it looks like a double batch of starch. It’s just that. The feathers, meaning “lumps,” give the soup a thick, plump richness that is very filling. This is a very healing dish on a cold winter’s day. Father Joe said home cooks could make chicken broth themselves, if desired. He added, “I like a lot of pepper in this dish.” Note: from American gourmet frugal chefs, and one of the Yokum family’s favorite recipes.

  • 1 liter canned chicken broth
  • 4 large sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, but not peeled
  • 1 tablespoon butter or more
  • 1 liter full fat milk or more as needed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 large egg, scrambled
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour or more as needed
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped, for garnish
  • Chopped parsley for garnish


Bring chicken broth to a boil in a 4 liter saucepan. Add the chopped potatoes and cook until soft. Add butter, milk and celery leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil over low heat and add salt and pepper to it

In a small bowl, stir the beaten eggs with the flour. Stir with a fork until you get granules
Mixture. Sprinkle small amounts at a time into the soup, stirring all the time with a wooden fork. Cook the feathers in the soup for 15 minutes. Be careful with these nails, as they will clump. Served with chopped eggs and parsley for garnish.


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