I just finished reading a beautiful book by Shauna Niequist, entitled Bread & Wine. After seeing it on Mary Beth's reading list, I picked up a copy. As many others have said, I couldn't stop turning page after page. Shauna writes open and raw words about her life and experiences as they relate to food and the gathering of people around a table. Her candidness drew me in, and her passion kept me reading.
I picked this book up at just the right time. In regards to hospitality and cooking for others, I felt pretty discouraged. I had recently hosted a small brunch after church for a family who Michael and I wanted to know better. I thought to myself, "what could be easier than eggs, potatoes, and bacon?" As it turns out, a lot of things could be easier. The eggs over-cooked and turned grey, the potatoes were terribly underdone, and I was obviously a bit frazzled. The only saving graces of the meal were toast and coffee. Thank goodness for coffee. Dave, one of our guests, was kind enough to remark that he "actually likes raw potatoes." Thank you, Dave. That was very kind. I don't believe you, but am touched by your kindness.
Here are a few excerpts from Bread & Wine that encouraged me to continue opening the door and setting the table for more than two, even after this failed brunch with friends.
"What people are craving isn't perfection. People aren't longing to be impressed; they're longing to feel like they're home. If you create a space full of love and character and creativity and soul, they'll take off their shoes and curl up with gratitude and rest, no matter how small, no matter how undone, no matter how odd."
"It's not, actually, strictly, about food for me. It's about what happens when we come together, slow down, open our homes, look into one another's faces, listen to one another's stories."
"When the table is full, heavy with platters, wine glasses scattered, napkins twisted and crumpled, forks askew, dessert plates scattered with crumbs and icing, candles burning down low - it's in those moments that I feel a deep sense of God's presence and happiness. I feel honored to create a place around my table, a place for laughing and crying, for being seen and heard, for telling stories and creating memories."
And so, if you are looking to be enchanted for a little while, pick up a copy!
p.s. Lindsay of Lindsay Letters was the calligrapher behind the beautiful Bread & Wine script on the book cover. Isn't it pretty?