Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life around the Table with Recipes, by Shauna Niequist
Shauna Niequist loves food and all the family life and cultural traditions that are so closely tied with the meals we share. Her book Bread and Wine is a spiritual memoir centered around meals with loved ones and peppered with a collection of delicious recipes that will inspire you to invite your own friends and family to come share a meal with you.
While food is certainly Niequist’s passion, the book is less about the food itself and more about the way a shared meal nourishes relationships and builds communities. Each recipe in her book is part of her story and she includes childhood favorites, ambitious recipes she made as a newlywed, and simple dishes she has miraculously stretched to feed a crowd. Niequist is clearly a knowledgable cook and super-foodie but she is also gracious towards those who feel inadequate to host a meal for others. She is honest about her own failures and the process of making peace with the imperfection her own hospitality.
For her a meal is an everyday personal invitation to the deeper union that exists between Christ and his people:
When you eat, I want you to think of God, of the holiness of hands that feeds us, of the provision we are given every time we eat. When you eat bread and when you drink wine, I want you to think about the body and the blood every time, not just when the bread and the wine show up in church, but when they show up anywhere—on a picnic table or a hardwood floor or a beach.
And so Niequist gently nudges even the most reluctant cook towards inviting others to come share a simple meal. Even if it’s ordering pizza and tossing a salad to go along with it. And she’ll tell you how to make a great vinaigrette to compliment it. More than gourmet meals, people desire to feel cared for, even if it’s just for an hour or two in your kitchen.