Bri McCoy didn't always like to cook. She was born with health issues and therefore had a hard time learning to eat post birth. However, after getting married, she tried her hand in the kitchen and realized she had found a new calling. Bri started a blog called Our Savory Life in which she shared recipes and tricks she had learned from her experiments with cooking. Lo and behold, she got a book deal and wrote this delectable book called Come and Eat in which she speaks to how God created meals as something more than just a source of sustenance. Growing up in an Italian family, I learned that cooking for someone was how you showed you loved them. Bri's take on cooking doesn't sound that far off...
Bri shares how she learned that sharing a meal leads to intimacy unlike other types of socialization. She writes, "When we create space for people to open their mouths, they just might do something more than eat. They just might open their hearts too." She tells stories of how friends opened up more when she and her husband had them for dinner than they had during their weekly Bible Study meetings. She shares the brokenness of paying to take teenage prostitutes to dinner in Thailand so they could have a reprieve for the night. She also tells of the bonding that happens when you invite others- even your own family-to the table and sit and spend time with them.
Jesus knew the importance of the dining experience which is why he invited himself to the house of Zacchaeus. He knew that sitting and sharing a meal with someone was a way to break down barriers and he frequently did it as a way into people's hearts. Even one of his last acts on earth was to eat with his friends at the Last Supper. Eating is a way of survival but God also made it to be enjoyable. Think of your favorite dish and the pleasantness of tasting the flavors as you eat each bite. Think of the times you have lingered at a table with others til all hours because you were having such good conversation. It has even been documented that families who eat together frequently usually have better health and relationships with each other.
If this book doesn't inspire you to start cooking or inviting others over for meals, I don't know what will! Bri has such a way of writing that you feel as if you are at her table and she is sharing her deepest secrets with you. At the end of each chapter, she includes a prayer and some prompts to get you thinking about how you can incorporate hospitality in your own home. Bri writes that you don't have to be a gourmet chef to host people in your home. (Though she does include great recipes to try if you want to go that route.) All you need to do is go out of your comfort zone and look for opportunities to bring people together around your table. There is no need for a fancy house or "pinterest-worthy" table settings just the invitation to "Come and Eat." Or as we say in Italy, "Mangia!"
I was given an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.