As expected, I flew through Bread & Wine. This whole book was about food and preparing food for the ones you love and dinner parties and living life around the table, about nourishing our bodies and our relationships and our souls. I think the reason I love Shauna so much is because is so different from me. She mentioned that she grew up in a ministry household where the home was sanctuary from the busy world. Her home life was quiet and always wished it could have been a little louder, even though she understood quiet was what her parents needed. I can relate because I feel like my home is my sanctuary. It’s my quiet in a busy, hectic ministry life. Instead of opening my home to people, I tend to recover in my home and recharge my batteries.
This doesn’t mean that I can’t connect to the idea of nourishing people through food and through relationship. I believe the table is a very valuable place and it is often missing in our fast paced American lives. I love family dinners. I dream of feeding my own family someday and sitting around our dining room and talking about the day. In someways I find that 1950’s housewife role ideal. Clean the house, take care of the kids, make dinner and feed the family. I like the sound of that.
Let’s be honest, I have little to no cooking skills. I’ve tried a few things, but really I’m not a cook. Shauna includes recipes at the end of almost every chapter and I couldn’t help but notice how brave she is with food. Her palette is more refined (in some ways… she admits to loving fake cheese). I’m more of a comfort food kind of a girl. I like simple pasta and burritos and macaroni & cheese and pizza. I’m not really into bacon wrapped dates or salads with feta cheese crumbles. Her recipes sounded interesting, but I’m not sure I would make a lot of them. The enchiladas sounded good and Sarah Bessy made them and agrees. Shauna’s blueberry crisp recipe that she got from her mom also sounded like something I would make.
The hardest part about reading this book was I had the flu part of the time while I was reading it. It made the food portions sounds less tasty, but the great thing about this book is it about so much more than food. Shauna writes with such honesty about her relationships. Her tales of miscarriage and high risk pregnancy are gut-wrenching. Her closeness to her family and core friends is touching. She shares about her marriage and raising her boys. She writes about her crazy schedule and how the world can flip upside down sometimes. I love these essays because they speak such life to me. They are heartfelt and authentic and they move me to tears. She is so extroverted that I know we could never be alike, but I would love to have her as a friend. Who wouldn’t love someone who cooks all the time and throws awesome baby showers and makes care packages for new moms that include lots of good food. As I was reading this I was thinking about how I could really use a friend like her in a couple months (less than 6 now…).
This book inspires me. It inspires me to step out of my comfort zone and into my kitchen more. It inspires me to share my table with the ones I love. It also reminds me that the Shaunas of the world are there to throw dinner parties and the Amys of the world are here for quiet sanctuaries. We are all different and that is okay. I can learn a lot from people that are different than me and I can love them for what they bring to the table. Any book by Shauna Niequist is a must read in my opinion and her new book is no exception!