I’m sort of proud. Over the past two days I’ve finished two books. But Bread & Wine was my first non-fiction book of 2014. And may there be many more!
I recently wrote a post about why I love Shauna Niequist so much on my other blog, The Swashbuckling Writer. I am attempting to make this blog more of a book blog and less of a “here’s everything that I ever thought about” blog and the other is for more creative pursuits. We’ll see how that works out.
Anyway, Cold Tangerines was my first Shauna Niequist book and I loved it. It was about celebrating the little moments in life that seem to pass by too quickly. So when I saw that she’d written two other books, I was excited and picked up the one that had been published most recently, Bread & Wine. (I really want to read Bittersweet too and will probably do it sometime in the next year.)
This book is about celebrating community and what it means to break bread together. Each chapter is a little vignette into Shauna’s life and at the end of almost every chapter is a recipe. My family can attest, every time I reached the end of a chapter, I’d read the recipe and say, “Oh, I want to make this. This sounds amazing. I’m making dinner tomorrow.”
(On a side note, I am making dinner today from her recipes.)
There were no bad parts to this book, only good. I loved her chapter on tea and pajamas. I find myself making tea in my pajamas quite frequently and it was nice to read that someone else spent all day in their pjs reading too. I often feel lazy and bad having days like that, but she made me feel a little more normal.
One of my favorite things was the quotes that she put in front of each part. I’m enjoying reading G. K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy right now and she quotes some of his poetry in one section. It made my heart warm.
Reading this book was like listening to a really good friend tell you stories. She’s relatable and funny and shares her sorrows, not just her joys. It makes for a riveting read. Also, the way she describes cooking is mouth-watering. Much like Sarah Addison Allen, I feel an overwhelming need to head to the kitchen after reading it. I made the Breakfast Cookies when I was in the middle of the book because I had to know if baked mashed banana could be as delicious as she wrote it to be. And it is. I’m dying to make the Mango Chicken Curry and her recipe for bread.
What’s especially marvelous about this book is that the most of the recipes can be modified for gluten-free eaters and dairy-free eaters. My best friend Ashley is gluten-intolerant and I might be dairy-intolerant and it was nice to read that IT ISN’T THE END OF THE WORLD! You can still make delicious things. Yum.
I’m also doing an alternative Daniel Fast starting on Monday, and there were recipes in here that I can use during my period of fasting. It’s magnificent to read a book centered on meeting God and others around the table. It made me miss my Chicago family, but in the best way. And simultaneously I felt like they were with me.
I recommend this book to every person who loves food. Really that’s the only requirement. I may post some of her recipes as I make them, because I intend to make every recipe in the book.