At first glance I was expecting Bread & Wine to be thoughts on communion and community–gathering around the table. While that is half right–the gathering around the table in community is the essence of the book–the subtitle of the book gives the best synopsis: A Love Letter to Life around the Table with Recipes.

Shauna Niequist writes essays from her life and love affair with food. Frequently stories come out of her gatherings with Cooking Club friends and times around the time with others. Some are about her journey as a mother and wife and struggling to go full term with pregnancies.

My one struggle with the book was it’s obvious suburban-style of Christianity: eating at fancy restaurants, summer at the lake cabin in the boat, trips to Paris, etc. I can look beyond that easily, though, because the lessons on hospitality, building community around the table, and enjoying food and life are things I can appreciate.

I love food–probably a little too much–and love the idea of using food to build community. I also love that most chapters end with a delicious recipe to try out. Niequest doesn’t approach the recipes as a checklist of steps to make the perfect food, but as a guide for experimenting and finding a food you like. She often gives suggestions on variations or making the dish your own. Most of them she adapted from other recipes in the first place. Many are gluten-free (her husband can’t eat any) and many can be easily adapted to be vegetarian.

This is a great book for anyone who wants their dining room to be a place where people gather to enjoy life together

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.