This is a fun book that entitles short stories and a recipe at the end of each story. It is a book that you will want to share with friends and family, exactly what the author wants. Each story is about sharing memories with your family and loved ones. The author suggests that you first read through each story and then try the recipe for your family or friends and while eating talk about the story in the book that goes with the dish you just cooked. All recipes are easy to do and the ingredients they require can be found in any grocery store. Meals in the book are healthy and can be made into anyone's special dietary needs.
I really enjoyed this book and plan to get copies for those that love to cook and entertain. I even think my friends that don't like to cook, would enjoy this book and it will encourage them to start.
I love the whole idea that the author is trying to get us to do with this book. Let's get family, friends and memories back to when everyone sat around laughed and enjoyed each other for an evening.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Handlebar bloggers 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: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Before I read "Bread and Wine: A love letter to life around the table, with recipes" by Shauna Niequist (published by Zondervan), I did something I usually never do before reviewing a book: I watched the author's promotional video about the book.
Authors and publishers are always trying to get reviewers to watch videos and include links and do things I just do not do as a reviewer because I want my reviews to be thoroughly independent and entirely about what the author actually wrote.
But the video captivated me! It promised a message by the author that I thought the church had long forgotten and could sorely benefit from hearing again. "Bread and Wine" was to have three key ingredients to it: fellowship around the table, food, and faith.
Niequist delivers on her promise when it comes to re-introducing the church to the immense value of swinging wide the doors of our homes to practice hospitality by inviting people around our tables to share in authentic fellowship.
"Both the church and modern life, together and separately, have wandered away from the table. The church has preferred to live in the mind and the heart and the soul, and almost not at all in fingers and mouths and senses. And modern life has pushed us into faux food and fast food and highly engineered food products cased in sterile packages that we eat in the car or on the subway --- as though we're astronauts, as though we can't be bothered with a meal," Niequist writes, "What happens around the table doesn't matter to a lot of people. But it matters more and more to me."
Much of the rest of the book is a testimony to just how much fellowship around the table matters to the author, as most of the content centers around what has happened around her table or other tables with her friends. Niequist writes so glowingly of those times around the table that it makes the reader want to immediately plan a dinner party and gather friends around their own tables.
The book also delivers on sharing the author's love for food, including the sharing of recipes at the end of some of the chapters. In fact, Niequist so persistently raves about her passion for food I soon began to be concerned as to whether she was placing too great a value on it, then she clarified the matter.
"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," Niequist wrote.
So the book delivers on highlighting the great value of gathering people around our tables and enjoying the rich fellowship that can come from sharing a meal together. But on the aspect of faith, the book fails to deliver much.
The author does mention praying together around the table, and having a house church (of sorts) in her home that focused on fellowship around the table. But there are only glimpses and fleeting mentions of faith; this certainly is not the kind of book where scripture is shared (none are).
In fact, when it comes to the issue of faith, there are a couple of items mentioned by the writer that brings to question just what the author means by "faith." On pages 159 and 160, Niequist tells of praying in a hospital chapel and how a friend had told her she prays to Mary at such critical times. The writer noted she kneeled near a statue of Mary to pray, and upon leaving the chapel adds, "I don't know the Hail Mary, but I knew enough for that moment. I nodded at her, like dipping your head before royalty. Hail Mary, full of grace." This scenario from a Protestant made no sense to me with regard to any expression of a biblical expression of faith.
Additionally, the writer states she serves as an officiant at weddings, but neither the author's bio nor the content of the book itself mentions anything about Niequist being an ordained minister --- so how does she officiate at weddings?
Once you get past the positive and powerful message at the opening of the book regarding the value of fellowship around the table, the remainder of the book is very "Seinfeld-esque," a lot of writing about nothing of real significance. The content isn't quite a series of personal stories told by the author as it is more like the writer reminiscing on events in her life that involved being around the table or the sharing of food. Some of the chapters lack any substantial subject matter, but that doesn't stop the author from writing them.
Whether on purpose or not, "Bread and Wine" is appealing mostly to a female audience due not only to the way it's written, but also because of some of the content. For example, the author strings across multiple chapters her very personal struggles with pregnancy, and shares this story in a way one woman would relate to another. Men would have to be diehard foodies to make their way from cover-to-cover with this book.
If you're female, a foodie, and like the idea supposedly sharing your faith with others around the table or while cooking, you might love this book. For the rest of us, it's a little too much like a bad batch of bread --- it initially has a lot of promise, but ultimately falls flat.
I received this book free from Handlebar as part of their book review bloggers 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: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Shauna Niequist in her new book, "Bread And Wine" published by Zondervan brings us A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes.
From the Inside Flap: This is what I want you to do: tell someone you love them, and that dinner's at six.
Bread & Wine is a collection of stories about life around the table-about family, friend- ships, and the meals that bring us together. It's about Bacon-Wrapped Dates and Mango Chicken Curry and Blueberry Crisp. It's about the ways God teaches and nourishes us as we nourish the people around us. It's about recipes, entertaining ideas, and meals to share with friends and family, made by hand and with love.
Many of the most sacred moments in my life, the ones in which I feel God's presence most profoundly, when I feel the goodness of the world most arrestingly, take place around the table. Something extraordinary happens when we slow down, open our homes, look into one another's faces, and listen to one another's stories around the table.
This is my love letter to life around the table.
For me the best time of the year was always Thanksgiving. It was the one day when everyone was home, we all were pitching with the food or preparing the table and we spent a lot of time together talking, playing games, eating and having lots of fun. It was a magic time. Shauna Niequist understands magic time and she has given us "Bread and Wine" so that we can experience magic time and pass it on to others. "Bread and Wine" is not a cookbook even though it has some outrageously great recipes that are not difficult to prepare and are supremely delicious. Somehow it is that moment when everyone is at the table, sharing their experiences, listening to each other and having fun. Each chapter has a story that brings you into that moment and then makes you want to go cook. If you are stressed or feeling burnt out read a chapter I guarantee you will feel oh so much better when you finish. Magic time. Jesus likes to eat and hang out and have fun. You will find Him in The Bible at dinner parties, weddings-the big feast in Heaven is the marriage supper and He tells us He wants to eat with us. He likes magic moments also. "Bread and Wine" will help you experience it. This book is a great gift to give to friends and family so that they can experience the moment also and pass it on. I recommend this book highly!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from DeChant Hughes Public Relations. 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: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Shauna is a bread and wine person - a Christian. She recognizes them as food and drink yet much more. They represent the sacred as well as the material. So she writes about family, friendships, and the meals that brought them together. She writes about God nourishing us as we nourish others. "Food is a reminder of our humanity, our fragility, our createdness." Every meal is, or at least can be, a reminder of what Christ has done for us.
Shauna is honest about her own lessons learned from eating, like the experience of finding that her husband needed a gluten-free diet. She shares her passion for food and how she has come to her own rhythm of feasting and fasting.
She has included recipes that have become meaningful in her life. Being pretty much a vegetarian, many did not appeal to me (meet, chicken and fish eaters will love them). But I did make Robin's Super-Healthy Lentil Soup. It was delicious! And even now, Sullivan Street Bread is ready to go in the oven.
Appendices include suggested discussion questions and menus for four weeks of meetings, be it book group or cooking group. She gives suggestions for week night cooking, including pantry lists. Next she gives tips for entertaining, including sample menus.
Even if you are terrified of having people over for a meal, she has great ideas on how to start. We learn by doing. Recipes are the training wheels, Shauna says, leading us to two wheeled adventures.
Shauna wants us "to stop running from thing to thing to thing, and to sit down at the table, to offer the people you love something humble and nourishing..." Put down your phone and your to-do list. "The table is where time stops. It's where we look people in the eye, where we will tell the truth about how hard it is, where we make space to listen to the whole story, not the textable sound bite."
Shauna's book brought to mind so many memories of my mother's Sunday dinners for our family of four sisters. My mother was one who showed her love through the food she made and the atmosphere she created as we ate. Mom is in heaven now, as is my oldest sister, but we three still get together once a month for Sunday dinner. We take turns hosting so the hourly drives are a small price to pay for keeping the tradition alive. I treasure the varied menus (two of my sisters spent decades overseas) as I do the family ties.
As my mother, born of Dutch immigrants, would say before our family meals on Sunday, "Eet smakelijk!"
I received a complimentary galley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
"a love letter to life around the table with recipes"
Author Shauna Niequist shares her passion for family, friendships and food in this new book published by Zondervan. Each chapter stands alone with a short essay or story about her family or friends and a recipe. It is easy to get to know the characters in the stories and learn about their lives.
The recipes range from simple to rather complex, but after reading the story that accompanies it, the reader seems empowered to try it. Through out the book Niequist shares cooking and entertaining tips. The book also includes basic entertaining guides, pantry lists and a reading guide to use the a book club.
This book would be a nice gift for a foodie or wanna be foodie. Also those who enjoy cooking and entertaining would like this book. It would make a nice mother's or father's day gift.
Disclaimer: I received this book from Zondervan. All opinions expressed are my own.
mama to 4 wonderful kids. live on a farm and raise sheep
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