Reflecting on Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist

Bread and WIne by Shauna Niequist, a story of  life around the table, with stories and recipes woven together

I received a free copy of ‘Bread and Wine’ by Shauna Niequist in order to review it. I can honestly tell you no book has ever reached in and grabbed hold of my heart and soul so much as this one.  From the introduction, which I barely ever read, through to the very last page, I was hooked. Shauna takes life stories and combines them with food, recipes, and comfort. She has a way of writing that is raw and honest and I instantly wanted to meet her, to share a meal, to break bread, to drink wine together.

This is the book I wish I wrote. Read her introduction and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Shauna goes there – she goes to that place that is sometimes ugly and hard to bare (yes, the right spelling) – the pain, the heartbreak and the shames of life and she wraps it all up in the comfort of food. THIS I understand. This I cling to and grab hold to for dear life when things get tough. When there’s a need my offer is inevitably food. To create, to comfort, to nurture. She feels my heart’s cry. I have never smiled, laughed or cried as much as I did through the pages of this book, and Shauna, you would be happy to know the pages aren’t perfect anymore. There are splashes from the bathtub, crinkles on the book cover, and soon those pages aren’t going to be so creamy white, with stark black words marching across in lines.

Bread and Wine, Shauna Niequist - Filled with life and love as friends and faily break bread around the table, sharing life

I’ll be honest. I started ‘Bread and Wine’, got half way through, and put it down for 2 weeks. After loss, Shauna was pregnant again and I was scared out of my mind. I was so scared of the next words I would read, that I would again be crying that ugly cry of a woman who’s “been there”. I kept myself from googling, from hitting up her blog, in order to not ruin the story but finally I had to see what happened in order to pick the book up again. I’m not going to spoil the story for you but Shauna has a beautiful way of creating beauty from pain and hope from ashes.

Almost every chapter ends with a recipe, a dish that complements the chapter and many of those recipes are on my list of things to make. Many of them are gluten free and all of them are pure comfort food for the stomach and mind. But Shauna doesn’t stop here. She goes deeper. She goes to that meaningful place of spirit and brings us back to the spiritual symbolism….

Body of Christ, broken for you. Blood of Christ, shed for you. “Every time you eat the bread and drink the wine,” Jesus says, “remember me.” Communion is connection, remembrance. pg. 251

Now that I am finished I can’t wait to go back through and read each chapter again, creating as I go – Annette’s Enchiladas, Bacon-Wrapped Dates, Dark Chocolate Sea Salted Toffee, Robin’s Super-Health Lentil Soup, and Maple Balsamic (Chicken) are at the top of my list. In fact, the Enchiladas would have been made yesterday if I could have found GREEN Enchilada Sauce at the store.