2013 Reading Christian Growth cooking grace homemaking

Reading 2013: Bread & Wine

July 18, 2013


At this point in my life, it is rare that life should bring me to tears, though sometimes books and movies get me closer to that point (well, along with too little sleep). But a book about food? There were no heaving sobs, but Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist kept simultaneously me laughing out loud and wondering if my watery eyes would turn to flowing tears.

Bread & Wine is profound, moving, deeply spiritual, and deeply human. It’s about hoping and healing, feasting and fasting, learning to love and to accept love, learning when to hold others close and when to let go, and learning to weave together the rhythms life. Most of all, it’s about learning to gather together and embrace community and hospitality, particularly for those of us who are the people of the bread and wine.

This unique book recipe blends part spiritual memoir and part cookbook (although Neiquist insists it is not, maybe a “collection of recipes,” then?) to create a flavor all its own.

Niequist’s book will undoubtedly be on my list of favorite reads for 2013. Although I haven’t yet tried any of the recipes, the spiritual lessons are simmering away on my heart and mind. (And hopefully, I’ll make Shauna’s recipe for blueberry crisp before we eat all the blueberries the kids and I just picked!)

Shauna’s husband discovered that he had a gluten allergy, and many of Shauna’s friends have had to live with food restrictions. Her book is geared in such a way that most of the recipes are friendly or easy to adapt to diets with special limitations, particularly gluten free. (Which is good, since my gluten intake since return to the States has hit me hard with some side effects this week.)

Going into this book, I didn’t realize who the author’s father was, and I hadn’t read anything by Niequist prior to this book. Realizing who she was might have changed my perception of the book, though she certainly doesn’t she bask in the limelight of her father’s religious fame.

This is a book that offers real life and transparency without idolizing transparency or basking in brokenness. Particularly, Shauna deals with his struggles with fertility and body-image.

Evangelicals who hold to the belief that Scripture teaches total from alcohol may be a bit uncomfortable with Niequists frequent mention of enjoying alcoholic beverages (after all, the title is Bread & Wine), but I think even many who take such a position would readily take value in the overall message of the book.




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  • Ashley Wells July 18, 2013 at 8:51 am

    I have been reading chapters here and there, and am equally in love with this unique book. It will probably be one of my favorite books of this year as well. I have also enjoyed watching the videos over at the (in)courage blog as part of their summer reading club.

    • Keren July 22, 2013 at 10:58 am

      I didn’t know about the videos. Checking those out now!

      The book is so refreshing! And I think it will make a great Christmas gift for some of my family members. 🙂

  • Johanna Hanson July 18, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Loved it. 🙂

    • Keren July 22, 2013 at 10:57 am


  • Audrey July 19, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    The blueberry crisp is excellent! I’ve not read the book yet, but the crisp is so good that I’ve made it three times now- once with blueberries, once with cherries, and once with peaches. 🙂 Looking forward to actually reading the book!

    • Keren July 22, 2013 at 10:57 am

      Yum! Well, we keep eating all our blueberries, but I did just buy some more. 🙂 I think you’ll enjoy the book!

  • silver price July 23, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    I’m a huge Shauna Niequist fan and requested a copy of this book for the purpose of review. I love her writing style of honesty, transparency and wisdom. This book takes it to the next level with recipes for the food she so often mentions in her writings.The book is laid out in her characteristic short chapter/memoir style. It “sounds” like her. The stories in each chapter move between childhood experiences (she’s the daughter of Bill & Lynne Hybels) to her life now as a wife & mother of two little boys. She openly shares of the struggles of fertility, life in a ministry family, joys of friendship and the work of relocating to another city.Each chapter ends with a recipe. If there’s a backstory to the recipe she’ll include that – where it’s from, how she serves it to guests, and how long it will “really” take to chop all those vegies. The recipes offer a great variety of breakfast, soups, breads, and main dishes.This book is best read in a favorite cafe with coffee & dessert. You’ll be moved by her words. You’ll be inspired to try some new things in your kitchen. The only problem you’ll have is to decide whether this book finds it’s home with your cookbooks or on your favorite bookshelf.

  • Sheila @ The Deliberate Reader July 24, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    I loved this book so much, it’s sure to be one of my top 5 reads for the year.

    And I had no idea who her father was, until reading your comment, which made me google it and see what I hadn’t known.

    • Keren July 27, 2013 at 11:39 am

      This was my first book to read by this author, and so I started into the book before reading her bio. Didn’t know much about the book or her at all. Sometimes, I really like going into books not knowing much about the other details.

      Yes, incredible book. So refreshing!

  • 2013 in Books: Books Completed January 1, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    […] Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes (Shauna Niequist) (Review here) […]