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Eat with Joy: Redeeming God's Gift of Food Paperback – February 1, 2013

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Eat with Joy: Redeeming God's Gift of Food + Whatever Happened to Dinner? Recipes and Reflections for Family Mealtime + Sum It Up: A Thousand and Ninety-Eight Victories, a Couple of Irrelevant Losses, and a Life in Perspective
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (February 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830836586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830836581
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This book made me hungry! Hungry for all that is good and beautiful about the art of gathering with others around a table. As a drive-thru mom I have struggled daily with my own connection to food for decades. Rachel helped me understand the true joy and gift of community, culture and a healthy connection to my food. It gave me nourishment, comfort and a deep understanding of the power of my kitchen table to heal and restore. A truly great read!" (Tracey Bianchi, pastoral staff at Christ Church of Oak Brook and author of Mom Connection and Green Mama,

"This book is a remarkable spiritual and practical guide to God's most basic gift. Rachel Marie Stone takes eating to a devotional level, where food becomes a part of our healing, our relationship building and our gratitude toward God. My joy in eating is now increased as I can better realize the meaning and purpose of food, and the relationships built around it." (Dr. Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed  )

"Eat with Joy is delicious! Generous, wise, well-reported and--yes--joyful, Rachel Marie Stone's book will open your hands so that you may receive the good gifts of God. She had me long before even mentioning saag paneer, Babette's Feast or the recipe for cinnamon rolls." (Jennifer Grant, author of Love You More and MOMumental)

"In this food-focused age, reading about food can be a lot like eating it: fraught with anxiety, confusion, excess and even emptiness. Rachel Marie Stone is here to restore what God intended from the first--real joy. You'll find much wisdom and celebration in its pages, including recipes and simple family-tested ways of living and eating more joyfully right now. Make ready the feast!" (Leslie Leyland Fields, editor of The Spirit of Food)

"When Irma Rombauer published The Joy of Cooking she couldn't have imagined we'd need to learn to eat with joy eighty years later. But we do. Stone offers the backstory of our current food woes and dilemmas along with hopeful and redemptive responses. And all the while she invites us toward a practical, joyful celebration of just, good food." (Lisa Graham McMinn, author of Walking Gently on the Earth and Dirt and the Good Life)

"In our multitasking, 24/7 world, many of us treat food as mere fuel for our bodies. By slowing down, eating healthier and learning to relish our food, we catch a glimpse of life as God intended: an everlasting communion with him. Those who seek an improved relationship with their daily bread will rejoice in Eat with Joy. Highly recommended!" (Nancy Sleeth, author of Almost Amish: One Woman's Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life)

"I'm not proud of this, but I didn't start taking my eating habits seriously--or seeing them as part of my spiritual life--until I reached mid-life. I wish I'd started when I was in my twenties (or before), and I wish I'd had Eat with Joy as my guide. The beautiful mealtime prayers alone are worth the price of the book. A treasure for soul and body." (Brian D. McLaren, author, speaker, blogger (

"Eat with Joy is a perfect title for this wide-ranging look at food and eating. I loved Stone's emphasis on communal meals and finding pleasure in the sensory experience of eating. My creativity--and appetite!--were stimulated by her stories about God's joyful presence in the growing, cooking and savoring of food, and the connections she made between food and justice were illuminating. The variety of beautiful table prayers at the end of each chapter reflect the heart of the book, encouraging the reader to see food as a gift from God to be enjoyed in God's presence and with the people we love." (Lynne M. Baab, author of Fasting, Sabbath Keeping and Joy Together: Spiritual Practices for your Congregation)

"Rachel Marie Stone is a woman after my own heart: a mom, a writer and a Christian who loves to feed the people she cares about. Eat with Joy is practical and inspiring, wise and full of love." (Shauna Niequist, author of Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet,

"In the quest to deal at length in writing with a theology of the ordinary (work, rest, play, study, worship, sex) it turns out I left out a crucial subject--eating. Thankfully Rachel Marie Stone's splendid new book fills the void--in my stomach, mind and heart for an adequate and accurate theology of eating from a biblical point of view. I'm tempted to give the advice God gave Ezekiel--'eat this book.'" (Dr. Ben Witherington III, Amos Professor of NT for Doctoral Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary)

"This book is manna in the wilderness to any Christian who has ever had a conflicted relationship with food, thereby missing the unadulterated joy of eating. In a fresh and engaging voice, Rachel Marie Stone reminds us that when we savor delicious, nourishing food, we are actually tasting God." (Jana Riess, author of Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor)

"Christian faith and life have always been deeply and inextricably bound up with eating. But Christians have not always appreciated this. What a joy then to have the gift of this book by Rachel Marie Stone. In prose that is inviting, nonjudgmental and inspiring, Stone shows us that we can eat with joy, and in such eating extend God's love in the world. By combining stories, recipes, biblically based reflection and numerous practical tips, Stone helps us move more deeply into the mystery and the grace that eating is. Prepare to receive a blessing." (From the foreword by Norman Wirzba, author of Food and Faith)

About the Author

Rachel Marie Stone (M.A., Loyola University Chicago) is a regular writer for Christianity Today's Her.meneutics blog. She has also written for such publications as Christianity Today, Books & Culture, Catapult, Relevant, Flourish and The Huffington Post. She enjoys gardening and meal-making with her husband and two sons. She is coeditor (with Timothy Stone and Julius Steinberg) of the forthcoming book The Shape of the Writings.

Norman Wirzba (Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago) is research professor of theology, ecology and rural life at Duke Divinity School. He holds memberships in the American Academy of Religion, the Society for Continental Philosophy and Theology and the International Association for Environmental Philosophy. Wirzba is the author of Food and Faith (Cambridge), Living the Sabbath (Cambridge) and The Paradise of God (Oxford) as well as numerous reviews and articles, including "Agrarianism After Modernity: An Opening for Grace" in After Modernity? Secularity, Globalization, and the Re-Enchantment of the World (Baylor).

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Customer Reviews

It's clearly very well-researched, but remains consistently accessible.
This book encourages us in our eating habits through the God who created wholesome foods for our bodys.
Nancy Van Wyck
This is one of those rare books that I think really is for just about everyone.
Michael Foret

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 25, 2013
Format: Paperback
Stone argues that our relationship with food is extremely complicated. We constantly worry about calories and fats and too much bread and their effects on our waistlines. Eating feels, as Stone adeptly writes, like "a concession to the enemy." As a nation, we struggle with anorexia, bulimia, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease on epidemic levels. Documentaries and books abound on the unethical practices of American agribusinesses, stockyards and chicken industries that practice cruelty against humans and animals alike, and the ill effects of pesticides and GMOs. We know now that much of our food and clothing comes from holding others in slavery. Diets like Atkins, Paleo, gluten-free, vegan, and a host of others are endorsed by celebrities to guarantee weight loss, clear skin, cures from disease, and longevity. And the Christian alternatives are hardly better - they are often just weight loss diets pulled from the context of Scripture, and touted to have God's stamp of approval, with the same adversarial view of food.

Stone insists, however, that this isn't how God intended for us to approach our daily bread. Moving through Scripture, she reveals to us a gracious God who provides incredible variety for our cuisine, who delights in feasting, and who, incarnated in Christ, is accused of being a glutton and a drunkard. God's most precious gift to humanity - his own flesh and blood crucified - is commemorated in the act of eating a drinking, and calls us to look toward the Supper of the Lamb at the Resurrection. Surely food is important to God!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By BagsEnd04 on March 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
I began the book with a touch of anxiety, waiting for those lines I would use to condemn myself for still not getting it quite right in regards to food. What a pleasant relief to find the author recapturing a grace-filled approach to nourishing ourselves and our families. And she does so in a genuine, caring and even delightful way that demonstrates the spirit of joy she is advocating for. Rachel skillfully weaves valuable solutions to modern-day issues of health, social justice, and community restoration with a devotional feature and some simple classic recipes to bring a practical yet creative aspect to implementing this healthy approach to eating.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and believe it is an important addition to our present literary conversations about dietary views and practices. Don't miss out!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Wesley Vander Lugt on March 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
In my mind, the best thing about Eat with Joy is that it presents an uncompromising vision for "redeeming God's gift of food" while showing how this vision is not just a pie-in-the-sky dream for obsessive foodies. Everyone can so something, but no one should try to do everything all at once. Rachel encourages her readers to take this vision seriously, but to unfold it one step at a time.

For example, growing our own food is better than consuming environmentally harmful food, but it's possible to start with just a pot of herbs in the kitchen.

Eating locally is the most sustainable way to eat, but don't feel guilty about indulging in some imported (preferably fair trade) luxuries like coffee and chocolate.

Eating together as a family and with others is the ideal, even if we resolve to do this one more meal a week than our current practice.

Learning to cook and being attentive to the whole process is supremely enjoyable, but there's a time and place for a take-out meal.

Cooking from scratch is satisfying and healthy, but maybe just try to tackle one new dish a week (or month!).

Making personal commitments will help change habits, but don't let this degenerate into food snobbery. Don't let it get in the way of eating with others in their homes and on their terms. "Better the occasional shared meal with friends at McDonald's than organic salad in bitter isolation" (163).

Practicing healthy and joyful habits is the avenue to change, but don't neglect celebration and feasting. Once in awhile, splurge by making cupcakes!

Stone also deals with common objections, like eating locally and sustainably just costs to much.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By merc on February 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a true gem. While many others have dealt with the various topics addressed here, no one that I know of has ever pulled them all together like this. At last, in our crazed culture of junk food, fad diets and other excesses, comes a sweet and sensible voice of reason! It's Christian without being preachy, and both nutritionally and socially conscious without being screechy.

By way of style it strikes a delicious-- after all, it is a book about food!-- balance of being thoughtful yet personable. It's clearly very well-researched, but remains consistently accessible. Overall it reads like a good conversation with a warm, wise and well-read friend. It's fresh, honest and thoughtful.

There is much gracious wisdom here, served up with wit and winsomeness. I highly recommend it!
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