Bread and Wine is Shauna Niequist's latest book about focusing on the haven created when people are brought around the table for food and drink, because food connects people and shows that you care about them. Each chapter is an individual essay of her life, usually ending in a recipe that pertained to that story. In addition, the chapters are divided into four parts to make it easier for book and cooking clubs (discussion questions are also included).
To say I enjoyed this book would be a gross understatement. It's probably because I normally choose weightier reading material, but few books have the ability to cause me to escape the beautiful cacophony of my life at present. It was the perfect book to read when you only have a few minutes at a time (like nursing a child), because each essay takes only a brevity of your time and it was usually followed by an amazingly delicious sounding recipe that made my mouth water and caused me to wish it wasn't midnight and that I had those ingredients on hand. (Disclaimer: I may have made a run to a nearby grocery store to pick up a few ingredients after reading certain chapters). Although she writes about some weighty issues (such as her emotional struggles with miscarriages), it is a light, quick read; except for the introduction and a few chapters, there isn't a large spiritual component to the book.
I loved this book. I loved how real and open Niequist was in her writing about many aspects of her life. It drew me in, made me feel like I knew her and her friends. And I found myself underlining a little gold nugget in almost every chapter, because this book is so applicable to where I am in life, always nervous about hosting, but desiring that atmosphere created when people are gathered around the table. The last few pages of advice about sample menus, weeknight cooking and a pantry list were an added helpful bonus. For me it was both an inspirational encouraging and chastising read, and I've already recommended it to quite a few friends.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ® book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
full of lovely stories, recipes, and encouragement
May 25, 2013
Bread and Wine is a collection of honest stories that grabbed my attention and kept me turning the pages. From the beginning, Shauna Niequist opens up and shares from her heart. Topics such as friendship, pregnancy, food, and family life are woven into the stories she tells. I was touched by how openly she shares... it soon felt like I was reading a letter from a friend and not just a book off my shelf.
For me, the icing on the cake is the recipes. I love food - I love to cook and eat and prepare all kinds of yummy things for my family. Shauna's stories each contain a recipe, and the recipe adds so much to the story! I hope to try some of the recipes the book contains (as soon as I get the ingredients I want to make Green Well Salad, especially).
I appreciate the way the book includes a lovely focus on faith. Bread and Wine is food, of course... and it also represents much more than that to a Christian. And this book has made me think about and treasure our large family's life around the table - the stories, the food, and the love that goes along with it.
I give this book an "A" for sure. (As a homeschool mama, I tend to give letter grades!) Whether you are looking for a good story, a good recipe, or simply an encouraging read I think you will find it in Bread and Wine. I liked it so much, I plan to read it again.
I recently had the chance to read "Bread and Wine" by Shauna Niequist from a program at BookSneeze that offers free books in return for an honest review, whether positive or negative.
I can not say enough about this book. You just kinda want to snuggle with it under a blanket and a nice glass of wine. It's cute and funny with serious undertones in some spots. You learn about the authors life, her background, her family. Why she is the way she is. Why she lives the way she does. Why she eats (ha!) the way she does. This is just one of those books you want to get and keep on your pantry shelf forever.
And the food... good lord... can we talk about the food? The recipes in this book (there are like, a million... at least) look good enough in black and whit type to make you want to lick the pages- I can only imagine what they would be like on your table for real.
So this is such a lovely little book. Read it. Share it with your best girlfriend (and then ask her for it back).
The first thing that caught my eye from Bread & Wine was the cover. I'm a lover of typography & photography done right, so I was automatically drawn with intrigue to this book. The second thing that caught my eye was the title. Who doesn't love bread and wine? These two elements play a big role in the significance of my savior Jesus Christ. I thought to myself, "Could this book possibly bring a more practical aspect to these elements in my everyday life?". As I read this book, I realized that the answer to my question was a resounding YES!
Shauna Niequist inspired me to recall my earliest memories of eating and sharing a meal. Growing up in a hispanic culture, every event revolves around food. I have more memories of funeral meals than birthday/weddings ones. I wasn't necessary taught to love cooking but I was definitely taught to love to eat. I have always been skinny, something that my family misunderstood as an obvious cry for "feed me! I need to eat!". I was constantly being offered a plate of something I could not refuse (it's insulting to refuse food). Looking back though, I recognize the importance of meals and I'm able to create meals for my husband with enjoyment. There is this desire in me to love people through the ability to make meals. Guests that visit us at home know that I am always offering something for their enjoyment, whether that's a piece of homemade cake or a soothing cup of my delicious french vanilla chai. Discovering that I related to Shauna in that way made me feel as if I was a guest at her home & I was enjoying one of her delicious recipes!
"The impulse to feed is innate. Food is a language of care, the thing we do when traditional language fails us, when we don't know what to say, when there are no words to say. And food is what we offer in celebrationâ€”at weddings, at anniversaries, at happy events of every kind. It's the thing that connects us, that bears our traditions, our sense of home and family, our deepest memories, and, on a practical level, our ability to live and breathe each day. Food matters."
I enjoyed this book because it pushes you to make, create and taste. This book is not meant to be enjoyed in the covers of your bed; this book is meant to be a companion in the kitchen as you try the recipes in each chapter. You'll laugh, cry & value the honesty that comes from Shauna, all the while you're getting stains on your apron. True interaction at it's best!
But above all, you will leave with an appreciation for God and the way He created us to bond over a hunger that we all share in common, both spiritually & physically. May we remind ourselves of the importance that came from the Last Supper and may we apply it to our ordinary lives.
"When you eat, I want you to think of God, of the holiness of hands that feed us, of the provision we are given every time we eat. When you eat bread and you drink wine, I want you to think about the body and the blood every time, not just when the bread and wine show up in church, but when they show up everywhereâ€”on a picnic table or a hardwood floor or a beach."
I already gave this book to a dear friend & I'm planning to give a few more away-that's the best way of appreciating a good read. You should definitely pick one for yourself!
Shauna Niequist 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. Shauna is the author of Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet.
Her new book "Bread & Wine" is a wonderful collection of her stories and favorite recipes. At first, I didn't quite really understand this book before I got it, I couldn't tell if it was a cook book or a book on the Christian walk, but it turns out_ that it's both!
Shauna explains it in her book, "It's not, actually, strictly, about food for me. It's about what happens when we come together, slow down, open our homes, look into one another's faces, listen to one another's stories."
Through her book she explains how food becomes this beautiful place to come together as people and build community. She talks about hospitality and how both preparing food and inviting people over can resonate as a spiritual practice. Our God is a creator God (a chef?) and He made us to live with each other in Community. Shauna's book has so many wonderful moments that really tie together some of the best experiences that we all enjoy.
Shauna is a great story teller, each chapter is filled with terrific emotion and just this wonderful sense of coming around the table, laughing and passing plates. Like I said earlier, most chapters end with a recipe that somehow tie back to what she was talking about. To be honest, I have not cooked or baked any of her suggestions (because my wife does the cooking in the house) but I could tell they were delicious just by reading them.
I have a great imagination.
Thank you to Zondervan publishing for a free copy of this book for a fair and honest review.