Cooking my way through Bread and Wine (A review of Shauna Niequist’s new book)

goat cheese

goat cheese scrambled eggs and potato pancakes in bed, ala Kel.

Shauna Niequist will always be one of my favorite authors. Her authentic style of essay/memoir blend played a big part in my development as a writer.

She will always be a gracious and unwitting big sister to me in the writing world, I like to pretend she dosn’t mind.

I got to meet her last fall at the STORY conference and I was such a spaz.  I nervously gushed all over her just after meeting Anne Lammott, It’s a wonder I didn’t pass out completely.  I said and did all the typical things ones says and does when meet a personal hero.  But Shauna was gracious about my fan-spasm and eventually my knees recovered from the Anne/Shauna experience.

So when I got the opportunity to receive an advance copy of Shauna’s new book Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes , I jumped at the opportunity.  When it came I skipped from the mailbox to the couch and began to slowly digest every word.

As I moved through the chapters I added the recipes to our menu plan, one by one. They seemed to fit organically into our life, until one day I counted and I’d inadvertently cooked my way through half the book.

Food Collage 1

winter white bean soup, bacon wrapped dates and Nigellas brownies with cream cheese icing for St Patrick’s day.

At that point I decided to keep going, and to cook my way through the entire book, Julie and Julia style (with the exception of 4 recipes, most of which used wheat flour and wouldn’t work well for our GF family)

Why did I decide to do this?  I’m not sure exactly, it seemed like a fun goal and a great way to try new recipes.

Or perhaps I needed something to focus on other than all the unknowns of our impending move.

Or maybe somewhere inside I realized that my cooking rhythm had become rote and monotonous and I needed the creative new life held in these recipes. Continue reading

Worst Grace- loving in the fray

photo courtesy of lucy.jane on

Over our anniversary dinner on Saturday night Kel and I chatted about “us” and the quality of the food we were being served.   This is our usual anniversary conversation.

As the evening unfolded we realized that if we could sum up year six in one word, it would be “grace.”

We have made great strides in giving each other grace when our life hits unexpected bumps and detours, grace on our worst days, I suppose we could call this “worst grace.”

Our marriage has weathered a lot of storms which seemed to come one after the other.  We hadn’t learned to become each other’s safe haven before the storms came.  We will both admit that for too long we turned against each other the hard times, instead of drawing close in love.

I’m not going to get into specific details because neither of us want to rehash the painful past.  I’m sure that you can conjure up similar experiences in your own relationships, marriage and otherwise. Continue reading