Friday, April 28, 2017

Bread and Wine - Shauna Niequist

Bread and Wine
Title: Bread and Wine: Finding Community and Life Around the Table
Author: Shauna Niequist
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 285
Genre: Faith / Food / Memoir / Nonfiction
How I Found It: A lot of people have talked about this book.
Date Completed: 4/19/17

Summary: Told through a series of personal, poignant essays, Niequist welcomes readers into her life and to her table. 

What I Thought: The book is not what I expected it to me, but once I got it, I loved it. 

Niequist opens her doors and invites us to her table. She shares stories of her life, her struggles with infertility, her friendships, her family, and her favorite recipes. As with many similar memoirs, Niequist offers up the recipes at the end of chapters to which they correspond. 

I expected more of a focus on her faith and the place of food therein. For a while at the beginning of the book, I was caught off guard by the more personal, anecdotal elements of her writing. The further I got, though, the more I realized it is a book about faith. It's a book about faith that doesn't revolve around doctrine or details, but rather the intimate moments of connection, both with God and others. Niequest gets more specific about food's connection to her faith as the book goes on, culminating in two chapters about the sacrament of communion. 

Niequist has a beautiful tone to her writing which I really enjoyed. I definitely want to read more by her. This book was a perfect introduction for me to her, as it is something I wish I had written. Her words about food and faith and friendship felt so personal and real and well-crafted, too. It's not a memoir about the intricacies of wrestling with specific doctrines, so know that coming in. What Bread and Wine turns out to be, though, is just as relevant and lovely and important. 

Quotes I Loved:

  • "Food is the starting point, the common ground, the thing to hold and handle, the currency we offer to one another."
  • "Learn, little by little, meal by meal, to feed yourself and the people you love, because food is one of the ways we love each other, and the table is one of the most sacred places we gather."
  • "Different isn't bad, but instead that different is exciting and wonderful and worth taking the time to understand."
  • "Following a recipe is like playing scales, and cooking is jazz."
  • "The church is at its best, in my view, when it is more than a set of ideas and ideals, when it is a working, living, breathing, on-the-ground, in-the-mess force for good in our cities and towns."
  • "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."

Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Read: Yeah, possibly. I definitely want to read some of her other work.

A Reduced Review: Come for the food, stay for the transparent, poignant stories of faith, family, and friendship

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