I'm not a foodie. At all (unless you count having a severe sweet tooth as being a dessert foodie. Like right now? I'm dreaming of frozen yogurt with lots of hot fudge). Sometimes I'll act the part. You know, like taking lots of Instagram pictures of what I'm eating at such-and-such restaurant. But that's mostly because I like the colors or the artistic display on the plate, not really because I want to brag about what I'm eating. In all actuality, I'm quite boring. I eat when I'm hungry and I stop when I'm not. It's not a bad problem to have, but I always feel a little inadequate in today's food-loving culture. Despite all of this, when Shauna Niequist posted on her blog about giving away advanced copies of her new book, Bread & Wine, a compilation of recipes and stories about "finding community and life around the table," I was all about it. Sure, I might not qualify as a food lover, but I do love bringing family and friends together and I definitely identify with Shauna Niequist's writing. From the moment I finished Cold Tangerines, her first book, I knew I would read all her books. (That's a not-so-subtle plug. You should probably go pick up one or all three of her books this week!)
When I read anything Shauna Niequist has written, I feel like I'm sitting down to coffee with an old friend. Her writing style is casual yet smart, honest, rich and God-filled. Bread & Wine didn't disappoint. Throughout the book I found myself—my non-foodie self—recalling moments where food, and more specifically the presence of food on a table surrounded by people that are important to me, meant something more than just quickly nourishing my body. Like the first lunch I had in Luxembourg with my host family or the hodgepodge dinners my college roommates and I would throw together or holiday meals around my grandparent's table.
Shauna helped me see that it's not about the food necessarily, although that's an important ingredient, but it's really about what the food does or helps us do around a table (or even a proverbial table).
"We come to the table because our hunger brings us there. We come with a need, with fragility, with an admission of our humanity. The table is the great equalizer, the level playing field many of us have been looking everywhere for."
This idea inspires me. It inspires me to cook more. To invite family and friends over more. To celebrate life more. If you are in need of nourishment for your body, mind and soul, I encourage you to pick up Bread & Wine.
I wasn't kidding about being inspired. I decided I was going to cook dinner a couple times last week, and one of those meals came straight from Bread & Wine. Shauna's O, The Oprah Magazine-adapted Mar-a-Lago turkey burgers seemed the perfect fit for our healthy-eating attempt, and we loved them. They were moist, a little sweet, and had a lot of unexpected flavor. It was a lot of chopping and preparing, but I took the time to do it and it was a nice break from staring at the computer screen.
Mar-a-Lago Turkey Burgers (makes 12 burgers) 1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced 1/2 cup celery, finely chopped 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced Olive oil 4 pounds ground turkey breast 1 tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon black pepper 2 teaspoons Tabasco (we left this out) Juice of 1 lemon 1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped 1/4 cup mango chutney (we used mango salsa instead)
Special Sauce 1/2 cup chutney (salsa) 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1/2 cup ketchup 2 dashes Tabasco, or to taste (we left this out)
Sauté the scallions, celery and apples in olive oil until tender. Let cool.
Place the ground turkey in a large mixing bowl. Add sautéed items and the remaining ingredients. Shape into 12 burgers. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Place on a preheated, lightly oiled grill. Grill each side for 7 minutes until meat is thoroughly cooked. Let sit for 5 minutes.