I’m a person who tends to find authors that I enjoy and then I read as many of their books as I can find. So…I’ve already read Shauna’s books Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet.
I like the way that she kind of jumps from topic to topic in her writing. She writes from her own real story. I relate to that kind of writing. When I used her book Bittersweet in a book club I was holding, I discovered this is not how everybody thinks. For some her writing will seem a little jumpy, like why are we going from subject to subject each chapter. But for me…I think that’s pretty real life and I could keep the thread of how it was all connected as I read those two books.
Bread and Wine is a little different. Let me explain…I could tell that Shauna loved to cook and have people to her home, but in her other books it wasn’t the “main” subject. However, in “Bread and Wine” the entire book is centered around her love of cooking and especially her enjoyment of spending time with people around the table.
For a person like myself who is not all that into cooking I wondered if I would like the book. I’m not the normal woman. I don’t have certain dishes to bring to events where everybody oohs and ahs over my food. I cook because we need to eat, not really because I delight in it. Yes I like my family to have good food and I can appreciate a good meal…but I tend to appreciate the meal all the more if I didn’t have to cook it. Kind of like how salad always tastes better to me when it’s at a restaurant than when I cut up all the stuff at home and make it at home.
As I read, I could tell that Shauna loves food, loves it in the way where she loves the whole process of making it. I know people who are like this and I admire it from afar. My kids love these kind of people because they know they’ll get good food at their house:). But what stood out to me more than the food was her hospitality. The way she opens her home and enjoys people filling it.
I wonder if this is a gift that only some people have. I could tell she really delights in the effort. For me personally…that kind of thing feels more like work to me than joy. I feel a need to clean up my house to have company and then feel like I have to clean it up again after company leaves. That seems like work to me. In the book she talks about how you shouldn’t feel like you have to have a clean home…but yeah…I can’t quite get by that. So I figure…I just must not have the gift of hospitality.
It still made for enjoyable reading. And I scanned the recipes. But I didn’t make any. I generally only make recipes that have a few ingredients that I recognize. As I read the book…I couldn’t help but think of my friend Lori who is such a delightfully good cook and person of hospitality. In fact, I’m going to pass the book on to her just because I know she’ll enjoy it fully.
I do think there is something about eating with people that connects you. And I hear lots of people talk about wine and how wonderful it is. I haven’t ever been a wine drinker….so some of the connection is probably lost on me.
She tries to take the pressure off in the book…the pressure to have perfect food and spotless home and to instead focus on being wholly present and keeping it simple and I can appreciate this. I want the type of community she talks about in her book. She has a cooking club and often a ready group of friends and family to come over. They seem very close knit. Which I think is awesome and I’m sure she would like to help us to do the same. I just had a hard time relating because when I’m honest…after a long day at work the last thing I feel like doing on a weeknight or even on the weekend is hosting a big ole party at my house. I’m with people all day long. When I finally get some down time I feel the urge to hole up and have some private time.
I think I like the idea of what she talks about…but in reality…anytime I start to get that committed to a book club, or any other time of social commitment or gathering I start to feel the urge to find ways to get out of it when it actually comes up in my schedule because I feel overwhelmed and just want to stay home. I go…because I’m responsible and follow through on my commitments and I usually even enjoy it once I’m there…but I can’t ignore the fact that it’s just not my cup of tea.
I want to be that person who doesn’t care when stuff gets spilled and broken. I want to not care about kids running through my house pulling out whatever and terrorizing our two cats…but I do care.
I’m sure this says far more about me than about Shauna’s book. She’s a good writer and I quickly read through her book and found it interesting. I found it interesting because I felt like I got to know her better. But I liked it because I got to know her better in the comfort of my own home.
I’m not a huge, let’s sit in a group and talk for hours and eat and be face to face type of person. I didn’t grow up that way…and I find it to feel uncomfortable. Now if you said…as a close friend, hey Ruth…do you want to go up to bread co. and grab a cup of something hot and a pastry…I’m all over that. I do better one on one.
So, while I admire people like Shauna and I can clearly see she has the gift of hospitality…I don’t think I’m any closer to having that gift or feeling compelled to work at getting that gift after reading the book.
If you have natural leanings into opening your home and cooking and holding events for family and friends then I think you should definitely read the book. If you’re more like me…stick to meeting your friend at bread co. it works and is a whole lot less stressful
http://www.shaunaniequist.com/ This is the link to Shauna’s blog. I always enjoy reading what she writes. She’s very open and honest about parenting, marriage, working, and just being a woman in today’s culture. She’s a good writer…it’s clear to me that she’s studied how to craft a sentence and a paragraph in a way where you feel like every word is meaningful and good.
http://www.amazon.com/Bread-Wine-Finding-Community-Around/dp/0310328179/ this is the link to use when looking up her book on Amazon.
I’ll be honest…I did fold down the corner on the page that had the recipe for chocolate mousse…I might just eventually try that one :).