Sunday, April 7, 2013

Book Review: Bread and Wine

I was recently provided an advance copy of Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist to review for Handlebar Publishing and I am absolutely delighted to share my thoughts on the book with you here today. 

When I was first contacted about reviewing the book, the thing that most jumped out at me was recipes and so I immediately said yes. Then the book arrived and I must admit I was a little disappointed. I apparently didn't read in depth when contacted about reviewing the book and I thought I would be reviewing an actual cookbook. Instead, what arrived on my doorstep was a book that happened to have some recipes scattered inside and I was a little unsure and put off starting it until last week when I realized my deadline was fast approaching and I'd better get to reading. Imagine my surprise when I read the introduction and was immediately drawn in - I wanted to keep on reading and keep on reading some more.

The book is basically laid out like this - Ms. Niequist gives the reader a peek into her life (in no particular order) by telling delightful stories about not only the happy times in her life but also the struggles she endures and after each glimpse into her life, she provides a recipe that coincides with the story. Now, call me crazy, but I think everyone can relate to that. I'm sure that most of you (like me) often relate certain foods to specific times or events in your life and that's exactly what Ms. Niequist does in telling her stories and handing out recipes. 

I have read many books in my day that I have been able to relate to, but this book is more relateable than most - probably because I share a lot of the same loves that Ms. Niequist does. I think one of the statements that immediately made me love the author and the book was when she quoted Lynne Rossetto Kasper who says, "there are two kinds of people in the world: people who wake up thinking about what to have for supper and those who don't. then Ms. Niequist went on to say that she was in the first category of people and so am I - when I wake up in the mornings I almost immediately start thinking about food and what's the next thing I'm going to cook and/or eat, including what's for dinner. Ms. Niequist also loves entertaining, as do I. She often mentions a close group of girlfriends, known as The Cooking Club, who get together periodically; and while I don't have a Cooking Club per se, I do have a close knit group of friends whom I absolutely love spending time with and some of our best memories have been made while sharing a meal. 

Ms. Niequists often emphasizes how special it is to share a meal with those we love. Growing up in a home that was always entertaining (that is having people in the home, although we are also entertaining people), I could not agree more. I have always loved sharing a meal with people and then telling stories around the table afterwards, and that is exactly how this book feels to me, only the story telling comes first and then the eating (or recipe as the case may be) comes next. 

As for the recipes in this book, some are simple, some may be more challenging, some you may have heard of before, and others you may be unfamiliar with; but, they are all worth trying when you have loved ones around your table, or sitting in your den (as in my case). There are recipes for salads, breads, desserts, main courses - all sorts of recipes to whet the appetite whether you are a novice in the kitchen or a culinary genius. 
In addition to all the great stories and recipes, the book also has a great appendix section which contains three sections. The first section is a four-week book club/cooking club discussion which provides questions for discussion as well as a sample menu for each week's meeting. The second section of the appendix contains information about weeknight cooking including a pantry list and the final section of the appendix includes entertaining tips and sample menus from Mrs. Niequist. 

I really enjoyed reading Bread and Wine and I think you will too. It is both entertaining, touching and well, appetizing. It's a casual read that you can get through quite quickly and even put down and pick back up days later in case you're looking for something that doesn't require a lot of commitment. 

Bread and Wine goes on sale this week - Tuesday, April 9 - and I encourage you to pick up a copy; you won't be disappointed!

For more information on the author, click here. 

1 comment:

Erika said...

Sounds like my kind of book!