Bread & Wine & A ‘Foodie’ Playlist


Gather the people you love around your table and feed them with love and honesty and creativity.  Feed them with your hands and the flavors and the smells that remind you of home and beauty and the best stories you’ve ever heard, the best stories you’ve ever lived.

{all featured quotations in this post are by Shauna Niequist, from her  book, Bread & Wine.}

 I  JUST finished this glorious book today, and let me tell you, I’m sad because there’s not more of it to read!  This was the first book I read this year that I purposely did my best to read slowly so it wouldn’t end.  

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter To Life Around the Table With Recipes is Shauna Niequist’s third book, and I’ve read them all.  I must concur with many other readers/bloggers that I’ve chatted with about this book: I think it’s her best one yet.

Bread & Wine is a collection of essays about life and food with delicious recipes interspersed throughout.   I don’t usually love ALL of the recipes in cookbooks or previous food memoirs I’ve read…until now.

Some of my favorite recipes featured include blueberry crisp, bacon-wrapped dates, goat cheese biscuits and dark chocolate sea salted toffee among other delights.   Throw the writing styles of Anne Lamott,  Barefoot Contessa and Donald Miller into a blender, (Niequist herself cites Lamott as one of her writing influences) and you’d be getting close to describing the feeling of Bread & Wine–but Shauna of course has a warmth and unique voice that’s all her own.

I am a wholehearted fan of the ‘foodie memoir’, and this book is written in the same vein as some of my other favorites, such as Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life,  Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard & of course, Julie & Julia. (Hence my upcoming blog series).

I am a bread-and-wine person.  By that I mean that I’m a Christian, a person of the body and blood, a person of the bread and wine.  Like every Christian, I recognize the two as food and drink, and also, at the very same time, I recognize them as something much greater–mystery and tradition and symbol.  Bread is bread, and wine is wine, but bread-and-wine is another thing entirely.  The two together are the sacred and the material at once, the heaven and earth, the divine and the daily.


What I especially love about this book is that Shauna does such a beautiful job of combining foodie memoir and faith writing so seamlessly.   She shares the everyday beautiful moments of her life with ease, grace and seemingly effortless relate-ability.   {I would also say, if you are not a person of faith, don’t let that deter you from reading this book.}  

Each chapter is usually no more than 6 or 7 pages–with a recipe at the end of most of them.   I especially love the jam-packed appendix which includes a book club discussion guide, cooking club sample menus, and short informative essays on entertaining & pantry tips.  There’s also a recipe index as well as a fantastic recommended reads page–I can’t wait to add Shauna’s recommended foodie memoir suggestions to my reading list.

We don’t learn to love each other well in the easy moments.  Anyone is good company at a cocktail party.  But love is born when we misunderstand one another and make it right, when we cry in the kitchen, when we show up  uninvited with magazines and granola bars, in an effort to say, ‘I love you.’

Not just the beautiful moments of life are celebrated in this book.   I love that Shauna writes about the hard topics–such as shame, grief & fear–and masterfully weaves in head and heart knowledge around delight of food and the sacred beauty of gathering round the table.

While I enjoy ‘foodie’ reads, this book goes beyond a slew of tales about sustenance.  I carried this book with me almost everywhere I went so I could read it whenever I had a spare moment, and I think I did so because this book spoke to the best and worst parts of my heart and spirit.  So many lines I highlighted made me laugh and think and ponder.   I wanted to say out loud, “You too? I thought I was the only one!”.

Shauna’s knowledge of food and cooking and recipes feels light years ahead of me, but she also feels like a kindred sister just living life day to day the best she knows how.  I think the best books teach us about ourselves and our lives, whilst reminding us that we are more alike than different–and Bread & Wine accomplishes this in a beautiful way.


What’s becoming clearer and clearer to me is that the most sacred moments, the ones in which I feel God’s presence most profoundly, when I feel the goodness of the world most arrestingly, take place at the table. 


In addition to being a bread-and-wine person, I happen to be a music person–thus, I created my first ‘Foodie’ playlist.  If you can listen to music-with-words while reading, I hope you’ll enjoy it as a backdrop soundtrack for reading Bread & Wine.  I’m more of a crank up the music while cookin’ in the kitchen kind of gal, so if you’re like me, perhaps you can groove to these tunes while cooking some of this book’s stellar recipes.  

‘Bread & Wine’ – A Playlist For Foodies
1. Bread & Wine – Josh Garrels  2. Banana Pancakes – Jack Johnson  3. Tacos, Enchiladas & Beans – Bucky & Rebecca  4. Soul Cake – Sting  5. I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl – Nina Simone  6. Black Coffee – Ella Fitzgerald  7. Frim-Fram Sauce – Diana Krall  8. Life Is Just A Bowl of Cherries – Holly Cole  9. Green Apples – Chantal Kreviazuk  10. Caramel – Suzanne Vega  11. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant – Billy Joel  12. Red, Red Wine – UB40  13. Cheeseburger Paradise – Jimmy Buffet  14. Maximum Consumption – The Kinks  15. Chicken Soup With Rice – Gary Rosen  16. Texas Cookin’ – George Strait  17. Cold Beverage – G. Love & Special Sauce  18. Chocolate Cake – Crowded House  19. Green Onions – Booker T & The MG’s  20. Food Glorious Food – {original Oliver Soundtrack} Ice Age Movie Soundtrack


{If you are unable to view the playlist below, perhaps download the latest Adobe Flash player to your device?  For some reason my technically challenged self is not aware of, the Grooveshark player is sometimes not viewable on a smart phone or ipad device.}

CookingWithBreadAndWine_Button3SmI’ve enjoyed this book so much, I’ve decided to go into full on Julie & Julia mode by cooking my way through all of the recipes in Bread & Wine and sharing my culinary adventures with you here on the blog.  As I want you to buy this delightful book for yourself, rest assured I won’t be giving away the recipes in my posts, but I do hope to share cooking tips, recipe shopping lists and any other culinary whimsy & inspiration as the mood strikes.  I hope you’ll join me back here for some tasty adventures–I’ll be giving  away one of Shauna’s books during this series as well!

{I received a copy of Bread & Wine from Zondervan in exchange for this review, but I can heartily assure you the gushing, rave reviews, additional gift copies I’ve purchased and subsequent blog series are all my own!}

11 comments on “Bread & Wine & A ‘Foodie’ Playlist

    1. So glad you’ll be reading the series – I never know if what I love to write about appeals to others sometimes! 🙂 I too adore this book, and just couldn’t let it go with one review. I’ve made a few recipes already, and they are divine! Thanks for coming by the blog today – enjoyed your Bread & Wine review as well!

  1. I am adding this book to my must read list! My husband and I are both foodies and ministers so the connection between food and faith is beautiful to us. Someday we hope to start a new church focused on communion, fellowship, and food!

    1. Thanks so much for reading Leanne! I think you will LOVE this book – and I hope you’ll read and comment on the upcoming cooking series! Really enjoyed looking at your blog. 🙂

  2. Gorgeous review!!!

    I was sad when the book finished, too. Felt like the end of my favorite movie…or should I say, the end of a perfect dish?! I was hungry for more!

    I love the playlist. Such a cool idea!

    1. Thanks JJ – thanks for reading and saying hello! Glad you like the playlist – it was so much fun to come up with. (My hubby got in on the fun too, and wanted me to include songs like ‘Eat it’…I had to draw the line somewhere 😉 )

  3. Love the list, stoked about the book! I keep hearing the best things about Bread & Wine and your excerpts have me sold on it. Can’t wait for your cooking through it! Too bad I can’t taste test it alll…

  4. Sarah–I love that you made your own playlist and love even more that you are making each of the recipes to blog about them:) I was less thoughtful in highlighting throughout the book, so your quotes here reminded me of some good ones I was nodding to in agreement.

  5. How fun that you made a Bread & Wine playlist! Love it and the creativity behind it. I thought about cooking my way through the recipes, but have only tried a few so far. More to come, I’m sure. Good luck on this culinary adventure!

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