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The Spirit of Food: Thirty-four Writers on Feasting and Fasting toward God Paperback – September 15, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

LESLIE LEYLAND FIELDS is a writer, national speaker, workshop leader and professional editor who lives on Kodiak Island, Alaska in the winter and Harvester Island in the summer, where she works in commercial salmon fishing with her family. (Follow her weekly blogs from these islands at leslieleylandfields.com). She has written/edited 9 nonfiction books of memoir and essays on a variety of subjects: the spirituality of food, wilderness, forgiveness, commercial fishing, and parenting. Her forthcoming book is "Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers" (Jan. 2014, Thomas Nelson).
Leslie is also a contributing editor to Christianity Today magazine and writes for Books and Culture and other journals. She loves to travel, and spent several years trekking around the world. She still travels often, leaving Kodiak to speak at conferences, churches, retreats, and universities around the country. In September 2013, she is beginning a new venture, the Harvester Island Wilderness Workshop at her remote fish camp island off Kodiak Island. (leslieleylandfields.com/p/harvester-island.html

She holds three graduate degrees in Creative Nonfiction, English and Journalism, and has taught for many years in both undergraduate and graduate programs in Oregon, Alaska and Washington and now continues to teach through college visits, writer-in-residencies, frequent radio appearances, speaking, and her professional writing business, The Northern Pen. 

Leslie and her husband Duncan have 6 children, a daughter and 5 sons, all of whom work in salmon fishing every summer. She can be reached at leslieleylandfields@gmail.com
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Pub (September 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608995925
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608995929
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #481,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

LESLIE LEYLAND FIELDS is a writer, editor, and national speaker who lives on Kodiak Island, Alaska in the winter and Harvester Island in the summer, where she joins her family in a commercial salmon fishing operation. She also leads the Harvester Island Wilderness Workshop, a week long writing workshop held each September on her remote fish camp island. She has written/edited 8 nonfiction books of memoir and essays on a variety of subjects, including the spirituality of food, forgiveness, wilderness, commercial fishing, and parenting. She is on the Editorial Board of Christianity Today magazine and writes for Books and Culture and other journals. She loves to travel, and spent several years trekking around the world, through Asia, S.E. Asia, Africa, Europe, and Central America. She still travels often, leaving Kodiak to speak at conferences, churches, retreats, and universities around the country. In 2013, she began the Harvester Island Wilderness Workshop, a week long writing workshop and retreat at her remote fishcamp island.

Leslie has written for many publications including The Atlantic, Orion, Books and Culture, Beliefnet, Christianity Today and many others. Her essays have appeared in On Nature: Great Writers on the Great Outdoors; It's a Girl: Women Writers on Raising Daughters; A Mile in Her Boots: Women Who Work in the Wild, and many others.

She has three graduate degrees, in Creative Nonfiction, English and Journalism.
Leslie has taught for many years in both undergraduate and graduate programs in Oregon, Alaska and Washington and now continues to teach through college visits, frequent radio appearances, speaking, and her professional writing business, The Northern Pen.

Leslie and her husband Duncan have 6 children, a daughter and 5 sons, most of whom work in salmon fishing every summer. She blogs at leslieleylandfields.com. You can reach her at leslieleylandfields@gmail.com

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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I'll definitely be re-reading this book.
MKT
Simply put, "The Spirit of Food" will provide edification and spiritual nourishment for any reader who wants "Thanksgiving" to be a daily occurrence.
Amazon Customer
They did a really good job representing different perspectives on how food intersects with faith.
Craig Goodwin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Eric B on September 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
There is an irony in writing a online review for a book about life that is located and physical. That noted, the Spirit of Food will be one of the best reads on my list this year. The book itself was a feast; chapter after chapter of poetic yet accessible writings reminding me that being present physically in the everyday is a spiritual act. The book is at once joyful and somber; a wonderful reflection on rooted living and work. I'd recommend it to those who like Wendell Berry and Michael Pollan, vegetable gardening and farmers markets, as well as those who like Phillip Yancy and Donald Miller, church potlucks and Wednesday night Bible study.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
I actually feel so disappointed that I've come to the end of this book! A collection of beautiful essays on fasting and feasting, "The Spirit of Food" is an absolute pleasure to read. Each essayist brings a little something to the table (pun intended), whether it be the pleasures of eating good food, the significance of food and family, the moral and ethical issues surrounding food production, and even the hurts that food, or the lack thereof, can bring.

For people who love getting dirty in the kitchen, feeling and smelling both the tang and sweetness of fresh ingredients, as well as the creamy, buttery goodness of soul food ingredients, nearly every essayist includes a personal recipe. These recipes are simple, yet emotionally significant, and invite the reader to be physically and spiritually involved in the essayists' stories. But, this is not simply a cookbook, but rather a book that embraces and explores the relationship between food, people, and God, and how physical nourishment is so often spiritual nourishment as well.

I absolutely loved this book. It is one of the most unique and spiritual books I have ever read, and one of the most pleasurable. It was a feast for the senses and for the heart, and really fed my spirituality, particularly during the season of Lent. Those who have a deep passion for the beauty of liturgy, as well as for those who lean more toward the Evangelical, contemporary style of worship, will enjoy this book. Simply put, "The Spirit of Food" will provide edification and spiritual nourishment for any reader who wants "Thanksgiving" to be a daily occurrence. I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone.

Please note that I was generously provided with a review copy of "The Spirit of Food" free of charge from Wipf and Stock Publishers in exchange for my honest review. The opinions stated in this review are my own. I was not required to provide a positive review.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By eddiroe on December 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
The Spirit of Food is a beautifully written collection of short essays that examine food in a variety of lights. Whether an author considers living on a food stamp budget, comfort food, the spirituality of feasting/fasting, or vegetarianism, all viewpoints are shown with thoughtfulness and grace. The reader cannot help but examine his or her own thoughts about food and grow from the read.

The essays are short - between 3 and 10 pages for the most part - and the book is an excellent journey to meditation for even the most harried reader.

I'll be giving several of these as Christmas and birthday gifts throughout the year. It's an wonderful gift for anyone who loves food or cooking.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MKT on October 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book offers much to think about, offering so many perspectives on food and life that I wanted to ration it to fully enjoy each chapter. I now have more appreciation for all who grow, gather, prepare, and serve food, and I am inspired to cook and eat more gratefully. I'll definitely be re-reading this book.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By MollyM on October 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
I am grateful after reading this collectton. I have reimagined what it means to worship God through preparing and cooking and enjoying of food. My senses delighted in the thick broths, the ruddy sauces, the scenes of blueberries, and communion wine. This is a very satisfying read. I can't wait to try the recipes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Craig Goodwin on December 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Spirit of Food: 34 Writers on Feasting and Fasting Toward God (Cascade Books, 2010) is a wonderful collection of essays by an all-star cast of gifted writers on the connections between food and Christian faith.

The book reminds me of one of those summer food festivals that feature samplings from all the best restaurants in town. I remember growing up with the annual Bite of Seattle. We would pay an entrance fee to get in and then tent by tent we would make our way around the festival stalls, gobbling up appetizer-sized portions of gourmet mu-shoo pork tacos and blackened salmon. In the same way The Spirit of Food invites the reader in to sample the gourmet writing of Lauren Winner, Wendell Berry, Ann Voskamp, Amy Frykholm, Alexander Schmemann, Robert Farrar Capon, and Leslie Leyland Fields who edited and coordinated this event/book. Interspersed among the more well-known authors are unique perspectives from dozens of others, all organized around the themes: On the Way to the Table, In the Kitchen, The Ways We Eat, Fasting, At the Table of the Lord, and Feasting.

Given the nature of the book I'm going to approach this review like it's a conversation in the car with a friend driving home from one of those food festivals. Let's call it "Bite of the Kingdom."

Friend: So how did you like The Spirit of Food/Bite of the Kingdom?

Me: I don't think I've ever read so many tasty morsels of food writing. (yes, the puns are irresistable) Just when I was savoring the offerings in one chapter I was drawn to the next. They did a really good job representing different perspectives on how food intersects with faith. I like that each author was given the freedom to engage the topic from their experience.
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