Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes
By Shauna Niequist Published by Zondervan
Book Description – As a follow up to her two bestselling books, Bittersweet and Cold Tangerines, author and blogger Shauna Niequist returns with the perfect read for those who love food and value the community and connection of family and friends around the table.
Bread and Wine is a collection of essays about family relationships, friendships, and the meals that bring us together. This mix of Anne Lamott and Barefoot Contessa is a funny, honest, and vulnerable spiritual memoir. Bread and Wine is a celebration of food shared, reminding readers of the joy found in a life around the table. It’s about the ways God teaches and nourishes people as they nourish the people around them. It’s about hunger, both physical and otherwise, and the connections between the two.
With wonderful recipes included, from Bacon-Wrapped Dates to Mango Chicken Curry to Blueberry Crisp, readers will be able to recreate the comforting and satisfying meals that come to life in Bread and Wine.
About the Author – Shauna grew up in Barrington, Illinois, and then studied English and French Literature at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. She is married to Aaron Niequist, who is a pianist and songwriter. Aaron is a worship leader at Willow Creek Community Church and is recording a project called A New Liturgy. Aaron & Shauna live outside Chicago with their sons, Henry and Mac. Shauna writes about the beautiful and broken moments of everyday life–friendship, family, faith, food, marriage, love, babies, books, celebration, heartache, and all the other things that shape us, delight us, and reveal to us the heart of God. You can find out more about Shauna and read her blog at http://www.shaunaniequist.com.
My Review – I had heard good things about Bread & Wine from a friend and was excited to read the book myself. After hearing Shauna Neiquist speak at a Mothers of Preschoolers Convention in August 2012, I came to the conclusion that she was one of my favorite speakers there. I was drawn to her warm personality and humorous stories. She was honest, transparent, witty, relatable. I felt much the same way as I was reading Bread & Wine, being drawn to Shauna’s warm, honest, transparent, witty, relatable and humorous stories about her life around the table.
I liked that Shauna included recipes in her book. After reading the first chapter about her mom’s blueberry crisp, I went out to buy the ingredients, made it and enjoyed eating it. I’m not much of a cook but in the chapter “start where you are,” I felt encouraged that I could be good at it one day. Shauna said it so beautifully when she wrote,
“If you put in the time, the learning, the trying, the mess, and the failure, at the end you will have learned to feed yourself and the people you love, and that’s a skill for life – like tennis or piano but yummier and far less expensive.
I’m not talking about cooking as a performance, or entertaining as a complicated choreography of competition and showing off. I’m talking about feeding someone with honestly and intimacy and love, about making your home a place where people are fiercely protected, even if just for a few hours, from the crush and cruelty of the day.”
Whew! That takes the pressure off, doesn’t it? It’s not just about the food but about the relationships that are formed and nourished. I hope to make my home like that one day, a place where people feel safe and loved and encouraged. I also want people to see glimpses of God and his love for them when we gather and share our lives together.
Shauna is a great story-teller and I loved reading Bread & Wine. I learned that life is often times messy and unpredictable, yet it can be even more incredibly beautiful and memorable. Now it’s my turn to invite people to come and share life around my table.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.