Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes

by Shauna Niequist
4.5 34

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Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
pattierwr More than 1 year ago
Sometimes you read a book and it's a fun, fast story. Other times, a book might be difficult and much slower. For me, this book was a little of both. Some parts were fun stories about food and friends, and other parts were difficult, prodding me to put its truths into practice, in the tender places in my heart. This is Shauna Niequist's third published collection of essays. I find her writing delightful and difficult. Beautiful, always. She has a way of delving into the truth of the experience of being a woman, a wife and mother, a minister, a friend. She doesn't shy away from the hard things or the scary things, yet at the same time she's quick to point out the positive and happy things too. I am drawn to her writing over and over again. Her second book, Bittersweet, spoke to me on a very deep level about the dichotomy of life: the bitter things that come along with the sweet things. We can learn to appreciate both. Easy? No. True? Absolutely. The past few weeks have been truly introspective as I examine myself from many angles, learning what my strengths are (and learning to accept those strengths without denial or bragging, two sides of the same coin) and my weaknesses. One of those weaknesses I confess to you here: Hospitality is rarely easy for me. It's not in my nature to open my home and invite people over on a whim, or even on a plan. I was raised by parents who didn't often entertain, so I didn't really have a model for hospitality. Over and over again throughout my ministry marriage, I've been stretched in this area. For me, Bread & Wine has been an experience not only in cooking, another weakness I see in myself, but also in challenging me to open my home. (Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from the author.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is rich and full; not a word is wasted, not paragraph is superflous. It is just right. I have noticed since the release of her second book, Bittersweet, in 2010 how Shauna's voice, leadership and influence have steadily grown. Somewhere along the way, Shauna made the wise, but hard choice to let the bittersweet season of her life transform her, develop her, shape her and through it all she emerged more articulate, more beautiful, more dynamic. She speaks to this in "Learning to Swim", the very first chapter of Bittersweet, but this quiet resolve is revealed to us breathtakingly in Bread & Wine. She is at her best (yet!). Shauna has a strong and special gift with words and humor and wisdom and storytelling. This has been polished, even perfected through her persistence and hard work. Bread & Wine is written in her mother-tongue; about food, family, friendships, hospitality. As effortless as it reads, any writer or book lover understands it takes a lot of time, courage and hard work to make words flow seamlessly, arranging and choosing them in a manner that communicates most clearly. Bread & Wine is her most vulnerable book to date. From Cold Tangerines to Bittersweet her story unfolds, and in this book her voice has new clarity as she opens up more of herself to her readers. This is a brave thing to do and I admire her for it. I loved reading about her childhood and family, about her memories and milestones, her preferences and personality, and about her people- those close friends who walk through life's ups and downs. Shauna is magnetic and brilliant, and her writing demonstrates this. She balances conviction with grace, vulnerability void of easy trip-ups, strength with fragility, questions and answers. Shauna invites her reader in on a whole new level in Bread & Wine. She is really offering up a piece of herself, offering up her love language, her experiences and her recipes to us all, making them seem doable, making us feel capable. This is not a cookbook. This is not a how-to book. This is not a book for moms or chefs or wives or people with the gift of hospitality or anything else super specific. This is a book about people, about sharing who you are and what you have with those entrusted to your sphere of influence. Bread & Wine is a gift not just because the writing is so sharp, the technical skill so beautiful, although that is certainly true. It is a gift because she poured out part of herself. Whenever someone does that, lets us really see in, it is a gift and should be treated as such. Her writing causes me to sit up a little straighter, to notice things with a bit more clarity, to prioritize my life with more conviction, to live with more intention, to hold onto hope, to be gentle, to lean in, to celebrate, share, write and on the list goes. Her writing is life-giving to me, and to so many of my friends. That sort of what's magical about Shauna; so many of us feel a strong connection to her, like she speaks for us, as well as to us. Thousands of us feel this in our own unique way. Bread & Wine has a powerful, rich cumulative effect, actually. Each chapter seems to build on the last, not chronologically, but layered, intangible. This book is really a book, not simply a series of blog posts or vignettes to stand alone. Bread & Wine is best savored and understood as a whole. Hear me on this: I believe Shauna is one of the most compelling and influential writers of our day, her voice resonates deeply with so many of us, for so many reasons. I don't want you or anyone you know to miss out on this opportunity to learn, to grow, to be encouraged and inspired, to lean-in and to listen to her story that we may better live our own.
ChiliPepperKW More than 1 year ago
Wow. What a book! It my life long manifesto regarding food in written form! As soon as I saw the cover of this book I knew I would love it. I am Italian and our whole life revolves around the table. I knew that anyone who could write a whole book as a love letter to food must be a kindred spirit.  And this book lived up to every expectation. Eating is not the highlight of a meal. The table, chairs, centerpiece and food set the stage for what will  happen around the table. Namely, life. The people around the table, the discussions that take place  at the table, and the memories shared there are our life. They are the difference between eating and a  meal. Eating is consuming fast food while running between point A and point B. A meal is when you take time to gather with the people you love around a meal, whether fast food or gourmet, and together share life. And that is the philosophy Shauna Niequist presents in this book. And that philosophy is the reason it has made it's way to my favorite book list and I will be giving a copy of Bread and Wine to all my girlfriends for Christmas. DISCLAIMER: I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.
DeannaM More than 1 year ago
I received a complimentary copy of Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist from Zondervan in exchange for an honest review. When I first sat down with my glasses on ready to dig into this book I thought I might be bored with Bread & Wine. When I realized how food-oriented the book was I questioned my liking for such material. It's not that I don't like to cook and bake, I enjoy it when I do get in there, but I am lazy. After a long day corralling my young ones and fighting and sometimes slaying the laundry dragon, I am tired and scramble to put something together. Or worse yet, feed each individual when hunger strikes. There's actually an appendix for me on that one. But, here's the thing: I'll read a book an any subject once to give it a try and see what insights that author brings to life. My goodness, to my delight and joy, I was enthralled by Niequist's ease and flow. Her work is more like a cohesive collection of essays that shifts one's thinking about food, the dinner table and life differently. Each chapter is her monologue to you, to bring you into her world, her thoughts, her life. It's in the process of listening that it dawned on me Niequist was rubbing off on me, stirring the cook in me. Bread &Wine is dusted with new recipes to try and play with if you want to taste the foods she describes so well. Even if you're not ready to jump head-first or even to toy with the idea of heading into the kitchen, your mouth will be watering. She teaches you recipes are to be tinkered with until they become your own. For Niequist food is about life. There's the physical sustaining energy found in food. As well as the spiritual and emotional connections that food can concoct between family and friends between bites. Memories are recollected at the instigation of certain tastes and smells. Her cookbooks are the foodie's album as scrapbooks are to moms with a camera. Milestones are marked by food, sometimes in a celebratory manner or other times in grief. Food can comfort the soul as it nourishes the body. I would recommend this book for any woman. We all face trials in life and have moments full of joy. Bread & Wine contains both and celebrates life. It is a great book to have at your bedside for leisurely reading or in your purse as you wait at the doctors' office. The chapters are short and sweet, heartfelt and engaging, the perfect ingredients for a delightful read.
LaurenFrancis More than 1 year ago
As a young twenty-something, this book helped shaped what it looks like to begin creating an inviting home. It's less about the presentation and the space and the ammenities and more about the heart, care, and love shown to people. This book has recipes that even the least-experienced (read: me) kitchenista can handle - which is a God send. If you're a lover of food, friends, family, or just a book...grab this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book brought me many tears of joy, gratitude, memory, hope, and healing.  It also inspired me to get myself into the kitchen and around the table!  Shauna writes in such a way that you forget you are reading words on a page and instead feel as though you are sitting across from a dear friend, laughing and sharing insights and stories together over a delicious glass of red wine and the yummiest blueberry crisp.  Can't recommend this book enough.  It is perhaps the icing on her three layer cake of books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a nirvana for stories of life around the table - the fellowship and love that deepens relationships from spending time together whether it be cooking together, eating together taking food to someone in need of TLC. Finding the divine amid the ordinary things of life and the recipes used are a bonus! My group is having a potluck after each section using the recipes. Great fun for all foodies! A fun summer read
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eheinlen More than 1 year ago
I found this book tedious and, overall, did not enjoy it.
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If we were sitting down, enjoying a cup of coffee this morning, I would tell you about a book I read recently. A book I loved. A book I’d recommend in a heartbeat to anyone who loves food and people, and who loves to feed the people they love. In her third memoir, Bread & Wine, Shauna Niequist combines her favorite recipes with stories about life and faith and family. Shauna writes about food and community, how time around the table brings people together. While the premise of this book will ask most to open our homes more often, to share meals more often, Shauna writes of her journey toward a life of balance. As a person who doesn’t have a problem filling my days to the brim, it was refreshing to be reminded about right priorities. To be reminded community matters more than another thing on the calendar and another feather in my cap. My life is full of work I enjoy, but when I’m too tired at the end of the day to invest in family and community, then my day is too full. This book was the inspiration I need to begin creating space. Space in my calendar for spontaneity, space for a good meal, space for family and friends. Space in my home for people to come, to feel welcome, to find comfort. And it starts today. Creating space. Emotional, physical, spiritual space. Disclaimer: This book was given to me through Zondervan’s Booksneeze book reviewing program. All thoughts in this review are my own.
staceb More than 1 year ago
There are a few recipes that I would be willing to try like the Basic Vinaigrette which seems easy enough for me to learn.   Or, Annette's Enchiladas that are made with chicken, sour cream, and green chilies.  Sounds spicy!  And the Farmer's Market Potato Salad has olives in it.  Ooh, yummy.  Dark Chocolate Sea Salted Toffee sounds the best one yet.  I think I'm actually going to try this one.
Books5 More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this book. Shauna is a really amazing writer, and I can't even describe the extent to which I wish she were my godmother or mentor. I'm just 20 years old, so some of the content wasn't perfectly relatable to my life, but the feelings behind her writing sure are. She is truly a gem of a writer. You should buy this book.
mojo_turbo More than 1 year ago
Shauna Niequist 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. Shauna is the author of Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet. Her new book “Bread & Wine” is a wonderful collection of her stories and favorite recipes. At first, I didn’t quite really understand this book before I got it, I couldn’t tell if it was a cook book or a book on the Christian walk, but it turns out… that it’s both! Shauna explains it in her book, “It’s not, actually, strictly, about food for me. It’s about what happens when we come together, slow down, open our homes, look into one another’s faces, listen to one another’s stories.” Through her book she explains how food becomes this beautiful place to come together as people and build community. She talks about hospitality and how both preparing food and inviting people over can resonate as a spiritual practice.  Our God is a creator God (a chef?) and He made us to live with each other in Community. Shauna’s book has so many wonderful moments that really tie together some of the best experiences that we all enjoy. Shauna is a great story teller, each chapter is filled with terrific emotion and just this wonderful sense of coming around the table, laughing and passing plates.  Like I said earlier, most chapters end with a recipe that somehow tie back to what she was talking about. To be honest, I have not cooked or baked any of her suggestions (because my wife does the cooking in the house) but I could tell they were delicious just by reading them. I have a great imagination. Thank you to Zondervan publishing for a free copy of this book for a fair and honest review.
CozyLittleBookJournal More than 1 year ago
Finally! Someone who GETS it! As much as I love, love, love those glossy cookbooks with gorgeous pictures of food and home decor that looks like it came right off of Pinterest, the truth is those are ALL KINDS of intimidating. I can't get mine to look like that. Would people eat it if I did? My house is too messy to invite people over anyway. Besides, all of that looks so fattening... Shauna Niequist knows all that. She thinks the same things. And you know what? She says DO IT ANYWAY! Enjoy food. Enjoy those moments in your life when food memories are made. Food is an essential part of our lives, not just because we need to eat to live, but because so many of our family and social memories are tied up in food. Yes, food and entertaining can cause anxiety and guilt, especially in women, but we can't let that take away all our wonderful experiences with food and loved ones.  In a lot of ways this book was a healing journey for me. I have had all of the same fears and anxieties as the author (I was particularly affected by the chapter about having a house that is too messy, too small, or too unfinished to entertain...but doing it anyway) but I also miss having that wonderful, positive relationship with food, particularly with sharing food with friends and family. Shauna Niequist really inspired me! Having said that, I haven't yet tried any of the recipes included in the book. Turns out it actually is a little harder for me to try something new without those bright, glossy pictures. 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. I was not otherwise compensated in exchange for a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
lovetoteachLB More than 1 year ago
 Wow, I love this book.  Love, love, LOVE this book!!!  I know a good book review summarizes the book first and gives you an overview of the contents.  But I figure you've already read all of that so I thought I would just skip over that and get to the heart of what I loved about the book.  From the very first chapter I felt like I knew the author, Shauna Niequist, even though this is the first book I have ever read of hers.  Her writing is very personable and I appreciated her honesty on her life situations.   I believe I could walk into her kitchen anytime and we would talk about whatever subject comes up.  I learned from her chapter "Start Where You Are" which talks about having people over for a meal even if you just serve them frozen pizza.  She then goes on to explain how she enjoyed having people over and started reading cookbooks to find out how to cook.  She, of course, is a fantastic gourmet cook so it was assuring to read of her beginning hospitality and how she was able to take it to higher levels. Shauna told about her travels and writes about her own personal experiences with over indulgence.  Her husband needs to eat gluten free but she is working on middle ground for herself......some fasting , some feasting.  I love it!!  (Have I said that before?)  To top it all off, she ends almost each chapter with a delicious recipe!!  I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to cook.  Or not.
sarahsmithstorm2 More than 1 year ago
I was looking so forward to this book coming out. When I heard other bloggers were getting this book for review, I was jealous and wanted it. Thankfully, I was able to get my hand on this and have enjoyed every chapter along the way. Bread & Wine: A love letter to life around the table by Shauna Niequist is a book that you will enjoy each chapter. I want to sit down and read it in one space, but I am trying to savor the journey. This is a book with a collection of short essays about different life topis. You don't need to read it front to back, although I am, but this is a book you can pick up and read a chapter and then skip to another essays. The essays are written about faith, food, marriage, babies, running, and trials. It's a dose of everything and that is what makes this book wonderful. I also love all the recipes in her book.. Some seem so simple and she has made me feel better about my lack of cooking skills. What I also love about this book, the writing. Shauna writes as if your sitting down with her and her friends at the "table" or drinking coffee with her. She relates to her readers and she makes the reader a part of the conversation. I love this book and highly recommend it !
Cheria More than 1 year ago
Title: “Bread & Wine” Author: Shauna Niequist Publisher: Zondervan “Bread & Wine” is just a bit different from most books that I read. I am not sure what I expected, and was wondering why I agreed to review it, but was pleasantly surprised to find that I truly enjoyed reading it. Shauna told of different events that occurred around the table with family and friends. This got me to thinking about some very special events around my Granny Cook’s table as I was growing up. One of my first memories around Granny’s table did not even involve food, but a very special friend of mine…Granny and Granddaddy did not allow pets (dogs or cats) inside their home. They believed all animals should be outside the home. Being the first grandchild I got away with a lot of stuff that other grandkids didn’t, so I would sneak in their big red Chow, Bozo. We were best of friends and we would crawl up underneath the kitchen table and I would fall asleep with my head on his body. Other memories at Granny’s table were during revival time at our church when our Pastor, along with the visiting preacher, would come for a meal and sometimes spend the night or nights. The door was always open to friends, family and anyone else who happened to stop by, and always included a meal. The table was large enough to feed several at a time, but the men were seated first and if room, next were the ladies…children were always last to be fed and always enough food to feed us all with plenty leftovers for the next day. Fried chicken was the best (homegrown, killed, cleaned and cooked)…yummy. Thanks to Shauna for helping to bring back some very special memories for me. This is a very interesting story of life around the table, along with some recipes. I strongly encourage reading this book and I’m sure it will bring back some memories to you also.
readermontana More than 1 year ago
This was the first of Shauna Niequist's books I have read, so I started reading it - not knowing what to expect. It is written in a very different way than I have experienced in books – essay style. It is like she is holding a conversation with you in her kitchen about things in her life. Food is a major topic – as well as wine :) Her choice of food was not the kind I am used to eating, so it was interesting to read her recipes and see how she put together things to make something that, from her perspective, were delicious. I must say – most of the ingredients she says she always has in her house are not found in mine, but then I am from the South and do not normally do 'health-food' type foods. I did earmark several of the recipes in the book to try and she made me realize how easy it is to freeze fruit to use later in the season. Her way of bringing people around the table together – cooking and enjoying the food and fellowship – was great and she made you feel you there with the others, enjoying the food. The traditions she keeps are great – makes me feel good that people are still doing that in the world we live in – that goes so fast and furious. Reading this, it makes me want to go back and read her earlier books and see if they are like this one or different – which I will do. The book was interesting and I would recommend it as a fun book to read and, if you are someone who goes the health-food path, you will love it. I received a copy of “Bread & Wine” from Zondervan via Handlebar bloggers in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.