I love people who love food. I believe they are some of the greatest people in the entire world. I love listening them talk about their love for food, with passion and detail and description. I like people who moan when they eat. I'm sorry (not sorry) if that gives you a weird feeling, but I like that.
Food and stories, for me, go hand in hand, as two of my favorite things. I love to be able to think back on my favorite meals and tell you the places, and sounds, and most importantly, people, who go along with those meals. I love to be able to tell you the feelings I get, not only for the food itself, but for eating with the people that I love.
Shauna Niequist's new book, Bread & Wine is the perfect coming together of food and beautiful stories. Every book I read of hers, I feel like she is writing specifically for me. Although Shauna herself may not realize it, as she put the pen to the paper, Bread & Wine has Danielle Burkleo written all over it. As I read and re-read recipes, I am doing exactly what Shauna's prayer is…
"My prayer is that you'll read these pages first curled up on your couch or in bed or in the bathtub, and then after that you'll bring it to the kitchen with you, turning the corners of pages, breaking the spine, spilling red wine on it, and splashing vinegar across the pages, that it will become battered and stained as you cook and chip and play, music loud and kitchen messy."- Shauna Niequist, Bread & Wine
It was a no brainer for me to make Annette's Enchilada's as my first recipe from Bread & Wine. Shauna calls this her "new baby" meal, as it's the meal she makes all her friends when they welcome a new little one into their lives.
I'm a comfort food girl. Most of my favorite meals growing up with the likes of homemade meatloaf with baked macaroni and cheese. My mom cooked meals that I don't think she necessarily set out to provide comfort for our souls with, but she did just that, comfort for our souls along with our stomachs.
And comfort is just what a girl needs when there's a new little life depending on her. I can remember, vividly, the meals that my girlfriends made me after having each of my children. I remember the chicken and fresh vegetable kabobs that Renee brought me over in late April 2008, while I was holding the baby boy that had just made me a mama in my arms. After she walked out the door I took a bite of that delicious chicken and started crying hysterically over nursing trials that just about ruined me. Is there any hunger in the world quite like the hunger of a nursing mom who's milk is about to come in?
I remember the pizza that tasted like heaven on earth after Foster was born, and how the cheese bubbled up to perfection, and Caleb and I looked at each other in amazement as our friends told us to cook it for a shorter time at a higher temperature to achieve this.
And I remember last February the white bean corn and chicken chili that Laura made and how it seasoned just perfectly. I think I ate those leftovers for two weeks. Isn't it amazing how our taste buds perk right up with postpartum hormones. My favorite meal after Story was born was a layered mexican dish with rice and corn and chicken, I can actually taste it now if I close my eyes and think about it long enough. The dessert to follow was a vanilla bundt cake with a peach glaze. Sarah, I know you found those off my pinterest board. I still talk about them to this day. Thank you.
It seemed right to celebrate Bread & Wine with a enchilada lasagna, of sorts. I was spot on in that decision making. In my typical fashion: I couldn't find the green enchilada sauce while all three kids screamed in Hannaford, I could only find whole green chiles so I chopped them myself, and my cilantro chunks were much too large to be called a garnish… but that's what happens with a baby on my hip. And, after all of that, my end result was just what I was looking for. Messy kitchen. Pandora on. Sneaking bites out of the pan while the cheese was still sizzling, burning my mouth a tad, in all of it's comfort food goodness.
Buy this book. Read it, love it, share it, cook with it open on your counter for years to come. Hear the love letters to life around the table, and then write and live your own. It's the book that I'll keep on buying, to keep on sharing, with those that I love.