Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bread & Wine - Book Review


I don't know if I should put this book in the non-fiction section of my book shelf or in my cookbook basket on top of the fridge. But one thing I know for certain: I'm keeping this book forEVER!

I had never heard of Shauna Niequist before reading this book. I didn't know she had a blog or had written other books. But now I want to follow her blog and read her other books to get wrapped up in her beautiful, poetic writing, and hear more about her powerfully faithful stories.

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll know that I love food and cooking. So books about food and cooking are right up my alley. Bread & Wine is about food and cooking: cooking for others and sharing your food, sitting around a dinner table with friends and family and eating something delicious that was made in your kitchen. This isn't a cookbook, not really. It's an homage to gathering together, no matter what you cook. As Shauna writes in the introduction: "But I do want you to love what you eat, and to share food with the people you love, and to gather people together, for frozen pizza or filet mignon, because I think the gathering is of great significance."

The book is divided into four parts and each part contains several chapters. After some of the chapters, there are recipes. And most of them are gluten-free or can easily be made gluten-free. Which I LOVE! Shauna's husband doesn't have Celiac Disease, but he is on a gluten-free diet, so Shauna is familiar with cooking minus gluten. (However, I do need to say, if you're cooking with broth, always make sure that the broth package says "gluten-free".)

Aside from the recipes, the chapters are about Shauna's love of food, memories of great dinner parties, memories of sad dinner parties, and even just vignettes into Shauna's life. This book is part cookbook, part food essays, and part memoir. There were times when I teared up, and there were times when I was SUPER hungry. This is a book that I'm going to go back to again and again for recipe ideas and for spiritual encouragement.

In the back of the book, there is a book club/cooking club discussion guide. It really makes me wish that I was part of a cooking club or had a similar spiritually minded group of lady friends with whom to discuss this book (and eat some of the food from it).

There is so much more that I want to say about this book, but I'm still in such awe of it that I can't formulate words. It has definitely inspired me on many levels: to want to host dinner parties at least every other month and to realize that, in Shauna's words, "God knows more than I know, that he sees what I can't, that he's weaving a future I can't even imagine from where I sit this morning."

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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