Shauna Niequist Book Reviews

Shauna NiequistIt’s no secret how much I love Shauna Niequist.

I’ve written multiple posts (see below) about her latest book, Bread and Wine, but haven’t mentioned her first two very much. That’s about to change.

I’m weighing in on all three of Shauna’s wonderful books at Kindred Grace today!

My cousin introduced me to Shauna Niequist (pronounced KNEE-quist. I’ve been saying it wrong for the past six years…) while we were in college. Shauna’s debut memoir, Cold Tangerines, had hit her campus by storm. I, having migrated to the Midwest for school, which has a two-year delay on anything popular, was still in the dark about this engaging author/speaker. I devoured Cold Tangerines and then was one of the multitude who waited impatiently for all of her subsequent work. Her style is easy to digest (though the message is chewy) and addicting like chocolate – you’ll always want just one more bite.

Read the rest of the post here.

If you’re a Shauna fan (or want to learn more), read these posts!

Recipes from Bread and Wine:

My People plus Bread and Wine Discussion Guide for Part One

My People

My trip to New York last week was more than just a week with family (which was wonderful). It was a time to be with my people, as Shauna Niequist would call them. The Ideals, my Bible study group from when I lived in California, decided to have a Fall retreat at my parent’s place and there was no way I was going to pass up the chance to a. go to New York again and b. spend time with some of my favorite women! It was refreshing to laugh, study Psalm 31, and do autumnal things together, even if it was just for a few days.

I’ve never been one to have a large group of friends, just a few really tight ones. Maybe that’s why I really resonate with Shauna when she talks about “her people” in Bread and Wine. They are the close ones. They are in the muck and mire of your messy life – cheering, crying, correcting.

My People 2

Since I like consistency, I struggle with the fact that some friendships are seasonal. Not seasonal in a flaky way, but seasonal because life circumstances change. Aside from my one life-long friend, I met my first people in college. Kayla, K, Nat, Brit – these women did life with me in a very formational time. One of the worst parts of graduating and moving back to California (I attended William Jewell College) was knowing they wouldn’t be  daily part of my life. Even though I keep in sporadic contact with them, I know God gifted them to me for a specific season.

Getting older doesn’t make the seasons in friendship easier. I’m thankful that despite another geographic gap, my California people are still my people from afar. I could call (most likely text since I hate talking on the phone), or email them for any reason and I know they’d be there with prayers, ears, and a virtual hug. However, it’s important to be known where you are, too. Finding your people isn’t easy. And it takes time. I fee like I’m in the in between, loving and missing my people (who will always be my people) and in praying for people in the present.

Bread and Wine1

Here’s an expanded discussion guide for Part One of Bread and Wine. (Read the original post if you were wondering why the heck I’m writing a discussion guide for this book).

PS: Shauna talks a ton about her people, especially in What The Table is For.

Digging Deeper into Bread & Wine – Part 1 

And, in case you missed it: Digging Deeper into Bread and Wine- Introduction

Happy chatting!

Who are your people? Have the seasons of your life influenced who your people are?

Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazonany purchase you make supports Primitive Roads (with no extra cost to you!)

Dig Deeper Into Bread and Wine

Bread and Wine1

My cousin introduced me to Shauna Niequist when we were in college. I devoured Cold Tangerines and then eagerly awaited Bittersweet. It’s difficult not to be enveloped by her voice; it’s like having coffee with a long lost pal. Conversation runs deep, touching at the most vulnerable parts of your soul without feeling invasive. Reading Shauna’s books is both inspiring and convicting, sacred and authentic. All of them are a pleasure to digest.

For the next eight weeks, a friend and I are hosting a small group to digest Shauna’s latest book, Bread and Wine. The book is truly meant to be devoured – physically (the recipes are wonderful) and emotionally/spiritually. There’s a great little discussion guide included in the back, but Bread and Wine is much meatier than space allowed for that guide. As I began to read Bread and Wine for the second time, I couldn’t stop the “ooo, I’d like to discuss this and ask someone that” type thoughts running through my head. I realize not everyone loves to dissect their reading material, trolling for discussion topics. However, I DO!

Since Bread and Wine is such a fantastic book to chat about with a group or reflect on by yourself, I wanted to share my expanded discussion guide thoughts with you all. I hope they inspire you to dig deeper into the themes and topics found in Bread and Wine and that maybe they give you the confidence to grab a group of gals to dig deeper with you! I’ll be posting these (as PDFs) once a week (ish) along with some other resources to complement that particular portion of the book.

Today, we’re starting with the introduction.

Here are the PDF’s to all the discussion guides:

Digging Deeper into Bread and Wine- Introduction

Digging Deeper into Bread & Wine – Part 1 discussion guide

Bread and Wine discussion guide, part 2

Bread and Wine Discussion Guide- Part Three

Bread and Wine discussion guide – part 4

Have you read Bread and Wine? What helped you to dig deeper?

And here’s some fun extras…

The Power of The Living Room – a sermon Shauna gave at Willow Creek Community Church about many of the same themes found in Bread and Wine.

Disclosure : Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazonany purchase you make supports Primitive Roads.

Shauna Niequist’s Blueberry Crisp

Shauna's Blueberry CrispI am a huge fan of Shauna Niequist and her writing. Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet were fantastic books that I will read over and over, so when I found out she was writing her third book and it was about food and community (two things I’m passionate about), I was super excited.

Even though I wasn’t together enough to get my post about Bread and Wine out early, I received an advance copy of the book a couple months ago. My friend Sarah had also gotten an early copy of Bread and Wine so when she came to visit in March, I thought it would be fun to make some of Shauna’s recipes together (more on that soon!).

Some new friends of ours came over and we feasted on Annettes Enchiladas, Esquites, and Blueberry Crisp. Everything turned out wonderfully, but I couldn’t get enough of that blueberry crisp.

Blueberry Crisp unbakedBlueberry Crisps

Tim and I got some treasured Purple Gold as a welcome gift when we first moved to Coeur d’Alene and I’ve used it sparingly. Shauna mentions that the crisp is easily adaptable for many fruits, so I decided to use the last of those treasured berries to make a huckleberry version.

Mmm, wow! Five of us polished off the entire 8×8 pan with ease. I made another batch with blueberries later that week. Both were fabulous.

Two Blueberry CrispsIndividual Blueberry Crisp

The topping is a mixture of almond meal, oats, oil, maple syrup and chopped nuts. I about croaked at the price of a little bag of almond meal so I made my own – just grind almonds in a food processor until they look like sand. Be careful not to make almond butter, though.

Layer the topping over a few cups of fruit and bake until bubbly. All the while your house will smell divine. The fruit combined with maple syrup from the crisp topping creates the perfect just sweet enough dessert (or breakfast). We served ours warm with vanilla ice cream at dinner and I ate mine straight from the fridge at breakfast.

I will absolutely be making this again and again.

Shauna Niequist Blueberry Crisp

Shauna Niequist’s Blueberry Crisp
Author: Emily C. Gardner
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 4-6
The recipe could easily be doubled and baked in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Find this and other delicious recipes in Bread and Wine.
  • 4 cups blueberries (or almost any fruit), frozen okay
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup nuts, chopped (walnuts and pecans work great)
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together oats, nuts, almond meal, syrup, and salt with a fork.
  3. Pour berries into an 8 x 8 pan, and then layer the crispy topping over it.
  4. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or up to 10 minutes longer if topping and fruit are frozen, until fruit is bubbling and topping is crisp and golden.

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Breaking Bread

When you eat, I want you to think of God, of the holiness of hands that feed us, of the provision we are given every time we eat. When you eat bread and drink wine, I want you to think about the body and the blood every time, not just when the bread and wine show up in church, but when they show up anywhere – on a picnic table or a hardwood floor or a beach.

Shauna Niequist | Bread and Wine | 17

When they show up anywhere – in Kenya, on your wedding day, with family…

Breaking Bread

The dusk had gathered quickly. We slowly moved closer together as the sun fell, each drawn away from individual exploration of the chief’s hut to settle in by the fire. Some perched on stools in traditional fashion, others made their bums as comfortable as possible on errant logs.

Steam rising from our mugs of chai mingled with wafts of smoke drifting from the fire a few feet away. The leaves being laid on the hot coals sputtered and moaned but didn’t burn. We huddled around that fire, barely able to see two feet in front of us, and accepted the charred goat liver as it passed around from hand to hand. Shadows in front of us moved fluidly as they tore and hacked and served hunks of roasted goat meat with machetes that hung by their side day in and day out.

I chewed and chewed on my piece of goat with an overwhelming sense of camaraderie and connection. Despite the semi-traumatizing demise of that night’s dinner, I was experiencing the most sincere hospitality from these Samburu strangers. We ate with our hands and in the dust. We ate someone’s prized possession, freely given for our nourishment. We ate to show respect, to give thanks, and to build bridges.


Our videographer placed himself front and center before the gazebo. Friends and family grouped around him and his camera. The smell of See’s candy and brown butter cookies and cupcakes was already heavy in the air as Tim and I cut into our little cake.  A thick vein of cream cheese frosting held two layers of moist pumpkin cake together as we hoisted it onto the plate. I eyed Tim warily as he brought the plastic fork closer to my mouth, but he stuck to our decision about cake cutting manners. My lips closed around the fork and that sweet piece of pastry with finality, like this somehow sealed the deal. Tim and I were sharing a sweet moment in the midst of celebrating God’s faithfulness in brining us together.


A long baguette rested between us. We tore off chunks at a time leaving little flakes of crispy crust littering the tablecloth. Though the house was familiar, it wasn’t our own, but this could have been a scene from ten years ago or five years ago. We sat around a foreign table eating our fish and bread thankful for the time spent together.



Breaking bread connects people. It’s a celebration of what’s to come and a way to remember what has passed. We break bread out of love, out of a desire to nourish both our bodies and our souls. We break bread to be a family and extend family to others.




Shauna Niequist’s new book, Bread and Wine, is a beautiful picture of life around the table. She writes poignant snapshots of the joys and pains of breaking bread with one another and provides delicious recipes to encourage us to make memories around the tables we share.