Bread & Wine

A book review. (Don't miss the video and giveaway!)

Author and speaker Shauna Niequist. I've talked about her before (remember, "Things I Don't Do"?). Her second book, Bittersweet, still ranks as one of my favorites and one of the few books I'll actually re-read. Well, Shauna has a new book coming out on April 9. A few months ago on her blog she presented the opportunity for people to sign up to receive an advanced copy of Bread & Wine to review. I jumped on that chance.

From the Introduction: 
This is a collection of essays about family relationships, friendships, and the meals that bring us together. It's about the ways 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.

Why It's A Good Read:
If I had to sum it up into one statement, it would be this: Shauna Niequist has an uncanny ability to write about life in a way that resonates with me (and probably most women). I always read her books with a pencil in hand because I'll no doubt find lots to underline. I find myself thinking, "yes, that's it, I totally know that feeling"! She articulates what so many of us think and feel but may have a hard time putting into words.

If you aren't a 'food' person, I think you could still really enjoy this book. If you are a food person - you'll like it that much more. One of my favorite essays is entitled "hungry" and Shauna quotes an NPR show host who says that 'there are two kinds of people in the world: people who wake up thinking about what to have for supper and people who don't'. Being in the former group, this book was right down my alley. I love all the food talk and so many great recipes!

If I'm being honest:
I don't like the cover photo. I really like the title font and design, but the photo for the book cover is just...old school, is that the right term? It makes me think of table centerpieces from a wedding in the 90s. Her first two books had very simple but artsy covers and I think she should have stuck with that theme. I guess you could say it's a good thing I didn't judge this book by it's cover (come on, you had to know that line was coming).

My only other criticism would be how much she mentions things like gluten free, food allergies, gluten free, dairy free, gluten free, oh and did I mention, GLUTEN FREE. Maybe I would feel differently if I were one of the 5 million people who have self-diagnosed myself with a gluten intolerance. Yikes, okay, I'll stop my soapbox there. Anyways, I'm all for being flexible for people who truly have food allergies, but the energy she spends on that subject got a little old.

I decided a fun way to 'review' the book would be to host a dinner party and make recipes from the book. So Devin obligingly jumped on board and we set up a night to cook dinner for some friends.

We didn't get the best video coverage. I mean, when your baby is crying, a glaze is boiling over on the stove, the meat is ready to come off the grill, and all your guests are showing up...the last thing on one's mind is taking video. But here's what we could scrape together....our guests made the night so fun! Oh and the food...the food was really, really good.

And here's a little look from toffee disasters one and two:

Undercooking then back on the stove which lead to overcooking. It just did not go well.

Nothing like toffee filled with itsy bitsy pieces of plastic.

Grill master husband and food extraordinaire.

Finally used these napkin rings after having them for over a year.

Daveana & Henrik :)

At the end of the day:
I love cooking. I love good food. And I love how Shauna writes about life. Which means I loved this book and definitely recommend it!

Want to read this book? I'm giving away a copy to one of you! Leave a comment to be entered! I'll draw for the winner on April 9, the day the book comes out, and send it your way!


smw said...

i want it! :)

T and M said...

put me in the drawing! : ) I'm looking forward to this book-I tried to get in on the early review off her blog but I was a couple hundred readers too late! Loved your review, & I thought the same thing about the cover photo.

leah said...

you two are way too much fun, this is awesome! good work, looks deee-lish!

oh, and of course, i'd love to win this book!

Christen Leigh said...

Aw great review! :) I would love to be in the drawing!

Linda said...

Nicely done! That mousse looks amazing...along with everything else. Yum!

Molly said...

Agree on the cover, but still wouldn't mind reading the book:)

Betsy said...

Enter me in the drawing - I'd love to read through this and would love to read Bittersweet as well since you recommend it so highly.

L, Ann and boys said...

the cover does look like a cook book...but maybe that's what she wanted to imply hu? Since there are recipes throughout I assume? Sign me up for the drawing and the food looks yum. :) I'm proud of you for hosting with a little little one. You just have to jump in and do it the end it's worth the effort it looks like. :)

Heather Hoerr said...

I'm intrigued! I love food and I've always wanted to read one of her books - heard lots of good things about Bittersweet and her other popular one. Fun that you decided to have a dinner party with some of the recipes, even though a baby complicates things a little, still have to do fun things like that!!

Sara Huber said...

Loved the guys are cute. :)

Tianna said...

Where's the category for people who wake up thinking about breakfast, lunch, and supper? Sign me up :)

Janel said...

YUM! I love to cook and love hosting parties...sounds like the book for me:)

Sarah said...

Yes, put my name in too! Such a fun idea!

Kristen Hoerr said...

Please enter me! I'm the person who wakes up thinking about what I will have for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And hopefully snacks. :)

Kristen Hoerr said...

Oh, funny. I just saw Tianna's comment. Maybe we are soul mates?

Daveana said...

Aww, bummed I missed this post earlier! Thanks for posting the picture of Henrick and I!