Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bread and Wine

Bread & Wine a love letter to life around the table, with recipes
by Shauna Niequist

This is a collection of essays about family, friendships, and the meals that bring us together.  It's about the way God teaches and nourishes us as we nourish the people around us, and about hunger, both physical and otherwise, and the connections between the two. ~ Bread & Wine, p. 11

I have thoroughly enjoyed both reading and making recipes from this book.  
First of all, Shauna writes from the heart, with an honesty that is refreshing and real.  Her stories made me both laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time.  

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.  ~Bread & Wine, p. 13

It happens when we enter the joy and sorrow of the people we love, and we join together at the table to feed one another and be fed, and while it's not strictly about food, it doesn't happen without it.  Food is the starting point, the common ground, the thing to hold and handle, the currency we offer one another.  ~ Bread & Wine, p. 14

As someone who spends a lot of time reading food books and cooking (a friend and ministry partner says 'You are always in the kitchen!' which is mostly true), I found the recipes in Bread & Wine approachable- dishes I really want to make for my family (Breakfast Cookies), to take to a friend who had  tumors on her thyroid removed (Simplest Dark Chocolate Mousse), to put on the table  Tuesday evening when we gather with friends to pray and share food and life together (Bacon Wrapped Dates).  

I made Breakfast Cookies (Yes, cookies for breakfast, which made my children very happy.)  as my first trial recipe.  I started with these because:
1.  I had all the ingredients on hand (always a plus, no trip to the store for some exotic ingredient)
2.  They are healthy (no butter, eggs, sugar)
3.  Cookies for breakfast, what other reason do you need?

 Bread & Wine along with ingredients for Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast Cookies mixed up and ready for the pan

Breakfast Cookies cooling on the rack

My husband, a notorious food brat (though he denies it) whose Grandmother was the pastry chef at a local tourist stop and hotel for many years, is the reason I now can cook, if for no other reason than I got sick of hearing, "That's not how my Grandma made it.".  Mr. Picky pronounced Breakfast Cookies 'Excellent'.  That is high praise, I tell you.  I don't know that I've ever gotten an 'Excellent' for cookies before.  Thank You Shauna!  

Since those went over so well, I baked Goat Cheese Biscuits to serve with lunch the next day.  I was somewhat skeptical about these, because 
1.  I don't really like goat cheese
2.  My youngest 2 kids are every bit as bratty about food as their dad, and well, the goat cheese again ...
Except for the goat cheese, I again had the ingredients on hand.  The recipe was easy to put together and the baked biscuits easily slipped out of the pan and onto the plate.

 Goat Cheese Biscuits fresh from the oven

 Need I say more?

My littlest Love ate 3 of these, and I'm convinced if she hadn't snatched the last one from the plate, she would have eaten more.  They really were very good, even though I didn't exactly love the goat cheese, no one else had an issue with it.  I will definitely make them again, but substitute a cheese more to my own liking next time.  

In conclusion, I love this book.  Seriously.  It inspired me to be even more intentional about gathering those I love, and those I need to love more, around the table with me.  It gave me new recipes to try, which won't get lost in the ever-growing Recipe Pile because they are handily contained in this very earmarked and underlined book.  And last but certainly not least, Bread & Wine got me an 'Excellent' from Mr. Picky.  
Bread and Wine is a great book, read it and see for yourself!

Note:  I was given a free copy of Bread and Wine in return for writing this review.  


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!