If you've been around my corner of the blog world, you've probably noticed that I enjoy the occasional tasty dish and sharing it with good people. As a matter of fact, I've written about it a few times, like here and here. Cooking and good food are a big part of my story, so naturally when I found out that my favorite author was writing a book about life around the table, I was stoked.
You've also probably heard me say that Shauna Niequist is my most favorite writer. I love pretty my much anything she writes, whether it's on her blog, an online article or a book. She has such a beautiful way of looking at life and the world and puts it into words better than anyone I've read. Plus, she just seems cool-- I'd be friends with if she offered, just saying. So, when I found out that I would be getting an early edition of her upcoming book to read and review, again, I was stoked.
I inhaled Bread & Wine just about quickly as I do a piece of chocolate cake. I couldn't put it down. I looked forward to each opportunity I got to pick it back up again. Shauna's short story writing style has a way of pulling you in, in such a way, that grabs at your heart. Her stories aren't necessarily of big life events, although a few are, or tragic tales, although a few are, but of the ordinary day to day.
If you read anything she writes, it's pretty easy to tell that Shauna loves to entertain and cook, but most of all, she loves the people in her life. One of the best features of this book is that serves, not just as another great memoir, but it includes the recipes that are connected to her stories. It seems that Shauna has a natural gift for bringing people together and typically, the most common method is through food. So after you read the story about her tale of running a full marathon-- you can read about the harvest salad that she loves so much when she was training. (Side note: I made that salad on Monday and it got a big thumbs up!) Or you can find a recipe for flourless brownies, or watermelon and feta salad, or mango-curry chicken, or risotto or her favorite enchiladas. You get the idea. And I've tried multiple recipes and haven't been disappointed yet.
Regardless of the great recipes, I fell in love with this book because something about creating community around the dinner table and being real and present with those you love resonates so deeply within me. It's something that we need much more of in this life. Her writing energized my soul in its own way and I plan to read it again, very soon. But even if you aren't much of a reader, at least check out the recipes.
Definitely check out Shauna and more of her writing on her website.
Oh, and you can purchase the book on Amazon, too.
Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet, and Bread & Wine. Shauna grew up in Barrington, Illinois, and then studied English and French Literature at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. She is married to Aaron, who is a pianist and songwriter. Aaron is a worship leader at Willow Creek 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.