Guest blogger, my dinner party co-host/partner-in-crime, and fellow Shauna Niequiest fan, Beth Cieminis shares her Bread & Wine review:
I met my dear friend Bekah last year. We were placed in the same group at our church’s moms’ ministry. In one of our first conversations, we found out that we both enjoyed reading and had each loved Shauna Niequist’s books. When the time came for her newest gem, Bread and Wine, Bekah and I jumped at the chance to read the book, discuss it together, and host a dinner party in its honor.
I’m usually a slow reader. A couple of pages in and I’ve either fallen asleep or moved on to something else. But my “slow reader syndrome” was not present this time; I could have devoured Bread and Wine. I had to hold myself back from reading the entire book in one or two sittings. Much like a fabulous dessert, I parceled out Shauna’s essays so I could enjoy her writing in small bits. And similar to when the dessert is gone, I was sad to read the final pages because I didn’t want it to end!
Niequist writes beautiful essays about faith, friendship, travel, motherhood, body image, hospitality, times of pain, and times of celebration. Throughout her reflections, she weaves memories of food and the most important times around the table. The book is dotted with fabulous recipes that make you want to call your friends and family, race to the kitchen, and serve them some love in the form of a great meal.
Last week Bekah and I hosted a group of friends for a night of delicious food and great conversation. Each guest contributed to the meal which included some of the recipes featured in Bread and Wine. We munched on appetizers of Mini Mac and Cheese and Bacon Wrapped Dates filled with Goat Cheese, while sipping Prosecco. Our dinner featured Maple Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin, a fabulous Michigan Harvest Salad, Goat Cheese Biscuits, and elegant Pinot Noir. Decedent Blueberry Crisp and Chocolate Mousse finished our evening as each guest was also sent home with a Breakfast Cookie for the next morning. It almost seemed unfair; so many delicious bites in one evening! But even with all the great food, the conversation among friends was the highlight.
After the party, I was thinking about the phenomenon of enjoying something and not wanting it to end. Whether a delicious dessert, a book you love, or time around the table with friends… this life has such beautiful moments. But because all good things must come to an end, we are left with a tinge of sadness and the desire for more. The best way to handle this phenomenon is to recognize it as a taste of heaven… where the goodness will never end. Shauna Niequist’s book, as with many other beautiful things in life, made me long for heaven.