This week, I'm giving away THREE copies of my friend, Shauna Niequist's new book Bread & Wine. Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, Aaron, and their sons, Henry and Mac. At www.shaunaniequist.com, Shauna writes about family, friendship, faith, and life around the table. I recently had the chance to ask Shauna a few questions about her new book:
Margaret: What do you hope will happen in the reader’s heart and mind after they finish Bread & Wine?
Shauna: My prayer is that when people finish the book, they do two things: they send a text inviting someone over to share a meal, and they try a recipe or two that they've never tried before. It's that simple. I really do want every person who reads this book to take a risk and invite people into their actual homes, and into the actual messiness of their everyday lives. And I want every person who reads this book to feed the people they love with handmade and homemade meals. This isn't a book about ideas. It's a book about practices, about the smells and flavors and skills we develop in our kitchens, about the sounds and traditions and stories we tell around our tables.
M: Who, specifically, would benefit from the book?
S: This is a book about the table, but more that than, it's a book about connection, about community, about what God does in us and through us when we connect around the table. So this is a book for anyone who would like to live with a deeper sense of connection and community. I think we sometimes assume cooking is for women. Or cooking is for moms. I think every person, young or old, man or woman, should be able to feed themselves and the people they are about with simple meals made by hand and with love. I don't think it's rocket science, and I think it's unfortunate that we've come to believe you need a culinary degree or a restaurant-grade kitchen to do it. You don't. You need a knife and a pot and the willingness to try and make a mess and try again. I'm not urging women back into the kitchen. I'm urging all of us back toward the table. And I'm not urging men to learn to cook because women need a break from it. I'm urging men into the kitchen because I think they're missing out on a really life-giving process if they never learn to cook just a couple simple things.
M: I love the cover! What sparked the cover design for Bread & Wine?
S: Thanks! I love the cover, too. I love that it looks like something's about to happen, because I love that moment, when the wine has just been poured and the candles have just been lit--you know something wonderful is about to happen, because people are gathered around the table, and that's when I find some of the most wonderful things do happen. And my friend Lindsay of Lindsay Letters did the title--I love that those words were written by the actual hand of someone I care about, someone who's shared meals around our table. I love working with other artists and supporting one another, so having Lindsay work on the cover with me was so fun.
M: What were the biggest challenges or struggles during the writing process?
S: I don't necessarily fit into most of the stereotypes about writers: I'm not an introvert, I don't like being alone. I love being with people and working on teams, so the hardest thing for me about writing is the loneliness. The only way it works for me is to do a lot of living and playing and entertaining and traveling to break up the writing…which is part of the reason it takes me such a long time to finish a book. I have writer friends who love to hibernate with a manuscript--day and night, weeks on end. I can't do it that way--I need lots of breaks to have people over and play with my kids and go for walks.
Check out the book trailer for Wine and Bread. (RSS Subscribers, click here to view.)
To win one of THREE copies of Bread and Wine, comment on this blog post. Winners will be announced Friday.
Congratulations to the winners: Katie Clem, MJ Ballard, Kerry
Shauna's new book includes some yummy recipes! Share a link to your FAVORITE recipe below!