Book review and Kindle sale: Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes, by Shauna Niequist

April 27, 2013

I recently had the chance to read Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes, by Shauna Niequist. This nonfiction book was released April 9, 2013 by Zondervan.

About this book (from the back cover):

As a follow up to her two bestselling books, Bittersweet and Cold Tangerines, author and blogger Shauna Niequist returns with the perfect read for those who love food and value the community and connection of family and friends around the table. Bread and Wine is a collection of essays about family relationships, friendships, and the meals that bring us together. This mix of Anne Lamott and Barefoot Contessa is a funny, honest, and vulnerable spiritual memoir. Bread and Wine is a celebration of food shared, reminding readers of the joy found in a life around the table. It’s about the ways God teaches and nourishes people as they nourish the people around them. It’s about hunger, both physical and otherwise, and the connections between the two. With wonderful recipes included, from Bacon-Wrapped Dates to Mango Chicken Curry to Blueberry Crisp, readers will be able to recreate the comforting and satisfying meals that come to life in Bread and Wine.

My Verdict:

I signed up to review this book because it made me think of one of my friends, and I decided I’d like to give it to her as a gift once I was done reviewing it. Unfortunately for her, this book won’t be leaving my house, because it’s THAT good. I’ll just have to buy her a copy of her own. 🙂 I was unfamiliar with Niequist’s previous books and her blog, but I’m now a fan. Her writing style is poetic (without being overly so) and her essays give you the feeling of having a nice chat with a friend about life, faith, food, entertaining, etc. (Except for the chapter called “Enough,” which made me cry – in a good way.) There are 29 recipes that are included, and they all seem like something I could reasonably attempt, even though I’m a novice in the kitchen. There’s also a set of 4-week Book Club/Cooking club menus, which are fantastic if you would like to attempt to have your own version if the wonderful cooking club Niequist herself has, as described in the book. I struggled to pick out a quote from the book to share, just because every few pages or so I would think, “This is it! No, wait, this is it!” It’s a very quotable book, and Niequest herself shares some great quotes from people like G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, and A.A. Milne. Here’s the quote (okay, paragraph) I decided on, simply because I liked it:

“My friends and I didn’t learn to cook, necessarily. In an effort to widen our options, to set us free to be whatever we wanted to be, many of our mothers shooed us out of the kitchen – that place of lingering oppression and captivity for many of them. They encouraged us to study and travel and participate in sports and the arts, the things women didn’t get to do when they were young. They shooed us out as an act of love, regardless of the fact that some of us really wanted to be there. So then, largely, young women and men moved out of their parents’ homes and didn’t know how to cook at all, and both genders felt conflicted about it, for a host of reasons. So we got takeout and thought about other things. But many of us, men and women alike, at a certain point, are wandering back to the kitchen and fumbling and learning and trying to feed ourselves and the people we love, because we sense that it’s important and we may have missed something along the way. Especially for those of us who make our livings largely in front of computer screens, there’s something extraordinary about getting up from the keyboard and using our hands for something besides typing – for chopping and dicing and coaxing scents and flavors from the raw materials in front of us. There’s something entirely satisfying in a modern, increasingly virtual world about something so elemental – heat, knife, sizzle.”

So, if I wasn’t clear, get this book. It would make a great wedding/birthday/housewarming present, but mainly you need it for yourself.

If you’d like to check out Bread and Wine it is currently on sale for $8.89 for the Kindle version right now, which is 53% off. (Regularly $18.99.) If you prefer a physical copy the hardcover version is currently on sale for $11.30. It is not yet available in paperback. Remember, Amazon’s prices can change at any time.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze® 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.”

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