There are two things I loved about this book: it inspired me to get [back] in the kitchen cooking real food, and it encouraged me to invite other people around my table. I’ve done a great job at the first since I set down the book, but honestly, my table feels maxed out right now with three little ones, so it doesn’t get many visitors. That’s okay for right now.
I think my favorite chapter was the one about weeknight cooking, which included simple, whole foods, and creative ideas for cooking on the fly during the week. I’ve used these tips a number of times since.
I also felt like I got a good glimpse of Shauna’s cooking rhythm – the spices and foods she generates toward (yes to goat cheese and absolutely no cinnamon). I loved this part because I am so curious about how other people feed themselves, not just on the fancy days when they have you over for dinner, but on the everyday grab-and-go lunches and the rushed dinners.
I was hoping – and expecting – the book to be less personal essay and more expository. With a title like Bread and Wine, I expected more theology, or at least spiritual insight. But besides two chapters book-ending the piece, Shauna didn’t really go there. It’s her preference, really, but I was disappointed because I really wanted to hear her insight on these topics, but was left with stories about her own personal life.
However, this is Shauna’s style, and this book certainly solidified her place in the personal essay section of the book store. And she does it well, so, that’s something.
I’ve tried the enchilada recipe and it was as heavenly as Shauna talks it up to be in the book. So, so good. This recipe alone is worth gathering a crowd or splitting it into a couple of pans and sharing it with a friend (or your mom and dad, which is what I did).
Other recipes I’m dying to try: Brannon’s Caesar Salad, Mango Chicken Curry, Nigella’s Flourless Chocolate Brownies. Oh, and the Blueberry Crisp. Oh, wait, and the Gaia Cookies, too. And, I’ll want to try the soups, but now that spring is around the corner, I’m moving away from soup season.
I think we all love hearing stories, especially when they’re told in a personal way (that’s one reason we read blogs, right?). And when those stories relate to life and friendship and food, it makes for a rich book.
Have you read Shauna’s book? Are you planning to pick up a copy? I’d love to know what you think of it.
Also, what inspires you to get into the kitchen and cook good foods? Springtime? Warm weather? The smell of the grill? I say yes times a million to all of these – I’m so ready for food that is grown in (or close to) my own back yard.