Book Review: Bread and Wine

Title: Bread and Wine
Author: Shauna Niequist
Format: e-galley from NetGalley
Genre: Inspirational (aka Christian) Cookbook
First up, this book is published by Zondervan, which is a Christian publisher, so be aware that it is very solidly in the “Inspirational” genre. What that means is that while it’s not a book I would buy for myself, it’s absolutely a book that I would keep on a list of potential gifts for the more religious people in my life. That’s why explanation as to why I didn’t have a “Did I like it” section for this book. I’m sort of meh on it personally, but I’m actually going to go order a copy for my next round of gift giving.

I really liked the format – various short vignettes and stories about the author, her family and friends, and about how their faith fits into their lives. Some, but not all, of these stories have an accompanying recipe. The recipes themselves are very homey and tend to be relatively easy to cook. Many come from other sources (blogs, magazines, cookbooks, etc.) but with modifications to fit the author’s tastes and her family’s dietary restrictions (many of her recipes are gluten free or can be easily made to be gluten free). Some of the stories are heartbreaking (like when she talks about her miscarriages) others are funny.

My favorite part of this book, though, were all of her stories about West Michigan. She and her husband lived in Grand Rapids (where I live) for a time, and grew up going to the lakeshore every summer (she even mentions the town where my husband and I got engaged, which was a nice surprise). Some of her recipes are homemade versions of dishes at our favorite restaurants (like The Green Well!), while others are dishes that are common in this area (like blueberry crisp – because we practically DROWN in blueberries in the summer). I never would have guessed how much I enjoyed seeing places I know and love mentioned so much in a cookbook. (I shouldn’t have been surprised since she used to be local and Zondervan is also headquartered in Grand Rapids, but somehow I didn’t expect 28th Street to be mentioned or Saugatuck.)

If you’re looking for a gift for someone who likes food and inspirational books, I highly recommend this book.

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