Good bread and wine are two things I have grown to love over the years. As I become older, I appreciate more and more the simplicity of gathering around the table with friends or family to break bread and drink wine. My roommate Nikki, who knows how much I adore spending time in the kitchen, gave me this book for my birthday and I finally had the time to read it over Spring Break. Shauna Niequist’s Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes has now become one of my favorite reads.
In the book, Shauna recalls why her favorite place among all others is being around a table with those she loves. She shares stories–both high and low–about her life and how many things were healed, celebrated and cherished while sitting around the table. She talks about her struggles with pregnancy, her European travels with family, being an author on book tours, and how at the end of the day, all she craves is sharing a meal with people around the table. Shauna writes, “It’s about a spirit or quality of living that rises up when we offer one another life itself, in the form of dinner or soup or breakfast, or bread and wine.”
Some of my favorite parts include her stories about the cooking club she is in with several of her best friends. Their experimentation with recipes and commitment to meeting every month gave me a great inspiration how to continue friendships over time–around the table with great food and great wine. Shauna highlights one recipe at the end of every chapter. These recipes come together at the very end of the book to form menus that can start the beginning of your very own cooking club.
Shauna is a Christian author, so she adds in her own personal stories about faith and how bread and wine are fundamentally tied to Christianity. She writes, “What’s becoming clearer and clearer to me is that the most sacred moments, the one in which I feel God’s presence the most profoundly, when I feel the goodness of the world most arrestingly, take place at the table.” Shauna’s recollections about spirituality do not overwhelm the book, but are perfectly intertwined with the ups and down of life. I would recommend Bread & Wine to anyone, even those not thoroughly involved in a faith or church, because her stories of food and the way it is such an intricate part of her life are lovely.
I hope you feel inspired to pick up Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes for a quick read. I’m looking forward to cooking one of her recipes soon, but they all look so good I can’t choose one to start with. Comment below if you’ve read the book, or let me know what you think once you begin!
Love food. Love self. Love life.