Book Review-Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist

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Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life around Tables with Recipes Shauna Niequist

Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2013.

Emotional Response-4

Scholarly Response-3

For those who don’t know me, it is probably good for you to know that I don’t cook. I was blessed to marry an amazing cook who loves experimenting in the kitchen. I am happy to be the sous chef (sometimes), stay out of the way (most of the time), eat the food that is lovingly prepared, and do the dishes. Knowing this, it might be funny to know that I love reading about food-how to prepare it, how to have a dinner party, where food is grown. I don’t want to prepare the food, but I am fascinated by food. And I love to gather around the table as much as Shauna Niequist does. I love sharing a meal with others. I appreciate how she makes the connections because other tables and the communion tables. They are all opportunities for us to gather together, share today, learn together, be together.

This book is a collection of her stories and recipes. At the end, she shares the idea of a book group reading a section of the book (there are four) and gathering together to discuss it over dinner using the foods mentioned in that section. I think that is a perfect way to read this book. Or, you can read it like I did-by myself hoping someone would make these foods, so we could share them together. I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys stories, anyone who needs reminders of how God is present with us, and anyone who believes there is a connection between what we do on Sunday mornings and what we do the rest of the week.

“What’s becoming clearer and clearer to me is that the most sacred moments, the ones in which I feel God’s presence most profoundly, when I feel the goodness of the world most arrestingly, take place at the table” (13).

“When you eat, I want you to think of God, of the holiness of the hands that feed us, of the provision we are given every time we eat. When you eat bread and you drink wine, I want you to think about the body and the blood every time, not just when the bread and wine show up in church, but when they show up anywhere–on a picnic table or a hardwood floor or a beach” (17).

“My friend Shane says the genius of Communion, of bread and wine, is that bread is the food of the poor and wine the drink of the privileged, and that every time we see  those two together, we are reminded of what we share instead of what divides us” (251).

“The table is where time stops. It’s where we look people in the eye, where we tell the truth about how hard it is, where we make space to listen to the whole story, not the textable sound bite” (257).