My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Shauna Niequist‘s new book, Bread & Wine, radiates joy and delight in life. Even as she recounts stories of pain, even of tragedy, her delight in God’s good world shines through. This is an honest book, about real life. Central to Shauna’s life, and to us all, is food. A revolutionary thought, I know. We all eat, but Shauna invites us to eat, and COOK, with intentionality. We are not just consumers–we are also creators, designed by the Ultimate Creator to imitate his divine Art in our own creative works. Each chapter is a short narrative around a theme, which closes with a delightful recipe. Shauna is a realist, so the recipes are filled with practical suggestions for making them, well, practical!
I’m actually still reading the book, because my wife started reading and put it in her stack of books and I couldn’t get to it! Here’s Cynthia’s summary: “Bread and Wine is such a fun read! Rich yet practical, jolly yet vulnerable, the book was difficult to put down. Bread and Wine captures the heart of the table as it is meant to be, while helping us along the way with a smattering of recipes and a touch of structure. Far from demanding, Bread and Wine meets the reader right where they are, and invites them to come with hungry hearts and hungry bellies.”
Perhaps it’s best to end with Shauna’s own words: ”But I do want you to love what you eat, and to share food with people you love, and to gather people together, for frozen pizza or filet mignon, because I think the gathering is of great significance.
“When you eat, I want you to think of God, of the holiness of hands that feed us, of the provision we are given every time we eat. When you eat bread and you drink wine, I want you to think about the body and the blood every time, not just when the bread and wine show up in church, but when they show up anywhere–on a picnic table or a hardwood floor or a beach” (17).
“Learn little by little, meal by meal, to feed yourself and the people you love, because food is one of the ways we love each other, and the table is one of the most sacred places we gather” (51).
Incidentally, Shauna mentions her musician husband Aaron, and he’s doing fine work in bringing ancient Christian prayers into a new expression. Check out his projects at A New Liturgy!
[The publisher provided a free copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.]