Food and books are two of my favorite things.Â Both can make most people take a break from their hectic, busy lives, breathe, engage, and enjoy.Â They can take you to places youâ€™ve never been.Â They can nourish both your body and your mind.
“Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.”Â Â Â Â Â -Â C.S. Lewis
When I stumbled upon the fact that there is an entire genre of books out there that describe peoplesâ€™ favorite foods, entertaining and travel experiences, childhood traditions, and emotions tied to food, I couldnâ€™t read them fast enough.Â The fact that so many of them actually include recipes was an amazing bonus.
One of my very favorite examples of this type of book is Bread And Wine:Â A Love Letter to Life Around the Table.Â Author Shauna Niequest does an amazing job of reminding us how meals can bring family and friends together.Â She writes a series of essays â€œabout what happens when we come together, slow down, open our homes, look into one anotherâ€™s faces, andÂ listen to one anotherâ€™s stories.â€
Neiquest tells stories of fun and joyful times, as well as trying and emotionally-strained times, and how food seems to be the bond and stabilizer for so many people.Â She is so honest and forthcoming that I found myself wishing that I had a seat waiting for me at one of her tables.Â It is a true reminder to be grateful for being full! â€¦ Full of good food and surrounded by the people with whom we choose to enjoy it.
After I read this book, I shared it immediately with a friend who loves to cook and experiment in the kitchen as much as I do.Â As a result, there have been many gatherings that involve a â€œwhatever-we-have-in-the-fridge”-style risotto, lots of group-effort chopping and stirring, wine-sipping, and many laughs around our kitchen islands.Â
You donâ€™t have to be an expert to try recipes that have made others happy.Â You donâ€™t have to do any of them perfectly.Â The joy is in the trying, and the resulting time with loved ones.Â
I highly recommend this book, and I particularly recommend the chapter called, â€œGo-To Risotto.â€Â I dare you to read it and not be drawn to your pantry to get started!