Go Read a Book: Bread & Wine
What do we have in common with Winnie The Pooh? Read on, fellow foodies, and find out why.
“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the
first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
“It’s the same thing,” he said.
When we opened Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist and saw this quote, we knew this book was written by someone with an affinity for food, just like us. Quickly we saw it was not just a recipe book, but a collection of essays with food as the central character. But it’s not just stories about food…..it’s about sharing that food with family and friends that is the premise of this book. Shauna’s dishes in the stories are, for the most part, simple but delicious. Bread & Wine is part inspirational, part devotional, and part instructional.
Shauna gives us a little background on how we got where we are today concerning cooking for others, that we’ve been told over and over “that plain old cooking is difficult and not worth learning.” Having folks over for a meal should be fun, not a competition or showing off….”it isn’t about perfection, and it isn’t about performance.” She recommends starting small by having a few friends over, ordering pizza and making a simple salad with bottled dressing. The next time, step out further and make your own flatbread or homemade vinaigrette. Each time, it becomes easier and more enjoyable.
Throughout the book, Shauna encourages the reader to stretch and try something new. After a quick trip to the grocery store, we embarked on this delicous journey of simplifying the cooking experience.
Enchiladas and Esquites (roasted corn) recipes served with black beans
Goat Cheese Biscuits
There are a few more recipes we are going to try in the near future. The bacon-wrapped dates will be just the thing for an appetizer to serve or take to a gathering. The cassoulet is going to be perfect next time everyone comes to Mimi and Papa’s house and the watermelon feta salad is making an appearance at our next holiday cookout.
At the end of Bread & Wine, there is an appendix with some really helpful tips. The pantry list includes items Shauna always keeps around for weeknight dinners. We love how she compares the excitement of being a “party cook” to the drudgery of meals week in, week out. Her pantry list and go-to suggestions can help on those ‘what’s for dinner’ nights. Also included are some entertainment tips that are practical and effective for both novice and veteran hosts.
As Shauna so lovingly puts it, “Something extraordinary happens when we slow down, open our homes, look into one another’s faces, and listen to one another’s stories around the table.” We hope you’ll check out this book because when we gather together and break bread, we connect on many different levels. It's more about the lasting connections we make than the flavors we savor.