Bread & Wine is a rare collection of heartwarming stories and beloved recipes with the common thread of sharing food – and love – around the table. Beautifully written essays from the author’s life create the foundation as she invites us into her own home where we are welcomed as guests at her table.
Being the foodie that I am, I jumped at the chance to review Shauna Niequist’s newest book. I was not disappointed; in fact, the book exceeded my expectations. Her descriptive writing style not only made me want to read more, but somehow she also magically made me feel right at home. I was completely enthralled by the recipes and found her storytelling to be so compelling that I simply could not put the book down.
I connected with Shauna on many levels while reading this book. Perhaps it was the fact that she too is a mother. I found that I could easily relate to her joys and frustrations, the days of never-ending diapers, and the struggle to remain sane (which, believe me, is still a struggle some days!).
The message of self-worth also resonated with me. As women, we are faced with tremendous societal pressure to be thin. Or that we’re never thin enough. Shauna approaches this touchy subject by candidly sharing her own personal story about swimsuit season. She implores us not to be ashamed of our bodies, an important message I hope I can pass along to my own daughter.
As a person of faith, I love the spiritual connection Shauna creates through her writing. Food and hospitality are inexplicably intertwined with the sharing of God’s love. When you open your home and heart to others, God’s presence can be felt – and the mundane becomes sacred.
What makes me feel alive and connected to God’s voice and spirit in this world is creating opportunities for the people I love to rest and connect and be fed at my table. I believe it’s the way I was made, and I believe it matters. For many years, I didn’t let it matter, for a whole constellation of reasons, but part of becoming yourself, in a deeply spiritual way, is finding the words to tell the truth about what it is you really love.
Bread & Wine, p. 15
What do you really love? I truly love to bake and cook, so I savored each and every delicious recipe in Bread & Wine. I wish I had countless hours to try them all! The next time I need a chocolate fix I’m going to bake Nigella Lawson’s decadent brownies. I can’t wait to cool down with the watermelon feta salad during the hottest days this summer. I’m dying to try the sweet potato fries with Sriracha sauce, and I just know that my children will gobble up the Gaia cookies. The french lover in me adores the simplest dark chocolate mousse recipe. This fall I’ll warm up with a bowl of white chicken chili. And for those festive holiday parties? What could be better than bacon-wrapped dates and dark chocolate sea salted toffee? There is one more thing. Rest assured: if you can’t cook, Shauna can show you how.
I hope you enjoy Bread & Wine as much as I did. There’s even a cooking club discussion guide with sample menus at the end that I’m dying to try with some of my friends. Time and time again, Shauna brings us back to the one thing that connects us all – love shared around the table. A reminder we all need to hear.
And I believe that Jesus asked for us to remember him during the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the wine every time, every meal, every day – no matter where we are, who we are, what we’ve done.
Bread & Wine, p. 252
I couldn’t do a review of this book without making at least one of the recipes, so I chose Blueberry Crisp – what could be more delicious in the summertime? You can find the recipe on page 26 in the book.
Simple and easy to make, this crisp is also gluten-free and has no added sugar or butter. It is bursting with flavor. I absolutely loved it!
(Hint: Adding a scoop of ice cream on top makes it divine.)
For a summary and additional reviews of Bread & Wine, click here.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® 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.