Tuesday, April 30, 2013

‘Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around The Table with Recipes’ by Shauna Niequist – Book Review

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When I receive emails offering books to review, I often gravitate to books that include recipes. This is rather ironic, as I consider myself more of a can opener than a gourmet chef! I am grateful that God blessed me with my husband, Fred, who regularly comes up with amazing concoctions in the kitchen! The latest book in this ilk is ‘Bread & Wine: A Love Letter toLife Around The Table with Recipes’ by Shauna Niequist. 

Here is the synopsis of this book:

My prayer is that you’ll read these pages first curled up on your couch or in bed or in the bathtub, and then after that you’ll bring it in the kitchen with you, turning corners of pages, breaking the spine, spilling red wine on it and splashing vinegar across the pages, that it will become battered and stained as you cook and chop and play, music loud and kitchen messy.
And more than anything, I hope that when you put this book down, you’ll gather the people you love around your table to eat and drink, to tell stories, to be heard and fed and nourished on every level.

Here is the biography of this author:

Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life and Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, Aaron, and their sons, Henry and Mac. At www.shaunaniequist.com, Shauna writes about family, friendship, faith, and life around the table.

Here is a video introduction of this book:

Yummy sounding recipes are sprinkled throughout the book. Some of the recipes that sound especially luscious to me are Farmers Market Potato Salad, Goat Cheese Scrambled Eggs, Dark Chocolate Sea Salted Toffee, Mango Chicken Curry, and Magical White Bean Salad. 

Here is Shauna’s introduction to the Goat Cheese Scrambled Eggs; sounds like she’s playing my tune!:

I am a very low-key, rules-averse, non-exact cook, but I have strong feelings about scrambled eggs. It’s one of the only things I’m truly high-maintenance about. If we’re talking about cold, rubbery eggs, I’d rather just have toast. But few things make me happier than a pan of rich, just barely cooked-through, perfectly loose and luscious eggs. What I’ve learned along the way is that it’s all about a cold pan and low heat. When a friend of ours was teaching his wife to drive their boat, he said this is all you need to know. Slow is cheap. And the same is true with scrambled eggs. The only way you can mess them up, really, is by trying to go too fast, and by cooking them at too high a temp. (p. 189)

So that explains what I’ve been doing wrong all along (too high a temp)!

The Appendix includes a section addressed to ‘Dear Becky’ that offers ‘Best Entertaining Tips, with Sample Recipes.’ Here are the tips:

1.    Find a way to entertain that works for you.
2.    When the doorbell rings, have your music on, something to eat, something to drink.
3.    Be prepared and make a detailed plan.
4.    Develop a repertoire and make only one last-minute dish per meal.
5.    Accept help. Let people bring things, help you cook, clean up – again, it’s not a performance.
6.    Assorted Other Thoughts (pp. 273-277)

I am not much of an entertainer, so I found these tips to be especially helpful – and relatively stress-free!

I obviously do not know Shauna, but she writes in such a style that she is
easily relatable and someone that you would like to know personally. I look forward to reading her next book, and highly recommend this one right now! And I also look forward to preparing some of these wonderful recipes, and making some great memories!

You can place your order for this book here

The Advance Reading Copy of this book was published by Zondervan and provided by Handlebar Marketing for review purposes. The pages included in this review may not match the pages in the finished product.

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