About the Author

Robin is the author of For All Who Wander, her relatable memoir about wrestling with doubt that reads much like a conversation with a friend. She's as Southern as sugar-shocked tea, married to her college sweetheart, and has three children. An empty nester with a full life, she's determined to...

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  1. Robin,
    My husband’s favorite food to make is bacon-wrapped dates! Only he also rolls up a sliced water chestnut inside them (and he slices the dates in half too to make them easier to eat). Did you know this treat is called Rumaki? It originally included cooked chicken livers, ewwww! His mother used to make them that way and then one day tried the water chestnuts instead and he loved them. We used to always take them to a home fellowship and it got to be where we were not allowed in without them! LOL! They ARE magically delicious, you are so right! Have fun with your sweet girl!

    Blessings, Valerie

    • Val,

      Well, you’ve schooled me, girlieQ :). I’m not a fan of water chestnuts but I’m gradually becoming open to trying new things….so maybe? I’m happy to discover they’re good the next day, too, easily reheated just a bit.

  2. Ah yes – I have not made Bacon wrapped Dates – but I have enjoyed them! So yummy!

    For me… I am off to get groceries this morning and among the items listed are the ingredients to make Risotto – even though on every episode ever of Top Chef – someone ALWAYS screws up the Risotto? Still… I’m gonna be brave!

    I am a child of the 70’s and had 2 working parents and most of what we ate (except on Sundays) was more Product than Food… it was frozen or boxed and it really wasn’t until around 2008 that I decided I wanted to actually cook real stuff. I tend to find new recipes to try right before a dinner party or potluck and so the stress of making something new for a crowd is familiar – but I am not so sure I would have tried so many new recipes if I wasn’t doing it for an event!

    “What I learned more than anything else that week is that we learn by doing.” (p. 65) – this quote hit me… we so want to be sure we can do it right before we even try… we (or at least I!) want the assurance of success before we even start… I am learning to take risk – and to expect and even embrace failure… it’s how we learn and grow… and without risk – well – life can be routine and boring and we were made for adventure! Speaking of that… I’m off to buy the makings of Risotto!

    Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.
    ~Karrilee~

    • Karrilee,

      HOW DID IT TURN OUT??? I’ll be eager to hear. I’ve made risotto once and think I rushed it too much. Soooo, with Shauna’s enthusiasm, I’m willing to try again.

      You make such great points; with risk comes reward! SO worth the effort :).

  3. I loved “Start where you are” and one day will craft it in calligraphy on beautiful rice paper and frame it for my future home.

    For years I was afraid to try things in the kitchen. I made the mistake of marrying a chef, and in his eyes, I could never do anything right when I cooked or baked, so for 12 years I didn’t try. One of the first things I did for myself after I finally freed myself from his abuse was to take cooking lessons (dream #1) at a small gourmet kitchen shop/deli restaurant with a little German lady who also helped me work on dream #2 ~ which was learning to speak a little German before I fulfilled dream #3 ~ a Rhine River Christmas cruise.

    Being brave enough to try things in the kitchen made me brave enough to try other things … and to live a much happier life.

    I’ve hit rock bottom again, but I know that I can “start where I am” to make all my new dreams come true.

    • Cindi,

      It’s amazing how bravery can grow from something so everyday–cooking. Thankful for your positive perspective (and ((hugs)) ).

  4. Oh, how much did I relate to their conversation about saving up for the Le Creuset pot, watching Food Network, but being scared to really cook?! This is totally where I am. I think more than being scared to cook because I”ll mess it up, I’m scared I’ll look like a weirdo or no one will like my creation. But taking risks in the kitchen is so worth it. I mean, the person who paired dates with bacon probably looked like a weirdo, but BLESS THEM for thinking of it, right?! =)

  5. I’m really enjoying this book. I’ve read all of Shauna’s book and am glad I waited for this one and am able to read it with others! I love the video format.

    For me the start with small steps theme is what has stuck out for me the most. I long to have a house full of people gathering together for meals but to be honest its overwhelming to me. I definitely like the way Shauna suggests making one thing then next time making two things and just taking it slow. Thinking of it that way makes it sound doable and exciting. I am also looking forward to trying the vinegarette and blueberry crisp in particular. I originally was trying to get the book from the library and the last minute purchased it instead. I am so glad I did. I see myself returning to the book often for inspiration in gathering with people around the table and doing life together. Not to mention the amazing recipes too.

    • I am with you. Having a bunch of people in my house and trying to feed them all with MY cooking is very overwhelming to me. I know I can cook, but usually in very small quantities (enough for 2). We rarely even have leftovers. So It seems so daunting to prepare for many people (not to mention we only own 5 chairs… But maybe I need to invest in more chairs and take it one step at a time like she suggests.

      • Jo Lynn and Allison,

        Well, I’m thinkin’ smaller can be better :). It’s less intimidating and much more intimate, yes? It’s so encouraging to ME to hear so many people interested in trying to step outside comfort zones. Bravo!

  6. I loved “What the Table is For”. The table is the life raft, the center point, the home base of who we are together. Pg 30. I also liked the bottom of pg 31-32 – what we’ve built is impressive, something you cook for hours and hours, allowing the flavors to develop over time, changing and deepening with each passing hour on heat. (and the next paragraph that follows!)

    Loved “Start Where You Are” pg 41 I’m not talking about cooking as performance…. I’m talking about feeding someone with honesty and intimacy and love….

    My fav, “Enough”. I can so relate. I am there right now!

    • I am there to. Enough hit close to home and was one of my favorites. I really dislike being there and that you’re there to but its nice to know I’m not alone. Sometimes it sure feels like it though. Glad to be reading along with you.

    • Emily,

      The table IS sacred and though I’ve called it an “alter” before, I’ve never used the imagery of raft. I like it, though…a lovely analogy.

      And both of y’all…yes…this community IS lovely for building one another up; AND, letting so many of us know that WE ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE! xo

  7. My brain works in segments so now I will respond to cooking- or fear of- growing up I ate a lot of home cooked meals via grandmothers, aunts, & my mama. I like to cook (hate the grocery store, prep, & clean up though haha). But it is therapeutic to me… When it doesn’t become frustrating, overwhelming, or ends in disaster. When I first got married I was trying the crock pot meals. Bless my husbands heart one night he ate mushed up pork (it was like boneless ribs) sweet potato & BBQ/honey mustard. I over cooked it by several hours. It was mushy thick soup or slop! He scooped it out and served it over “loafa bread” (slices of sandwich bread). Gross. I ate a sandwich. :-). I don’t like to cook or try a recipe if it has a million things I’ve never heard of. I give up before starting. I did make a cake from scratch last year! I was really proud. I think time is another issue. It takes time & practice and the more you practice you will get better and it will become easier I’m sure. During the school year (teacher), I am so busy & so tired. I do contribute during holiday meals. But during the summer is when I can really spread my wings because I have time to try new things. :-). Fixing to watch the video…

  8. I am so enjoying this book and I just LOVE the videos!
    A passage that hit me is found on page 70-71…”What I’m finding is that when I’m hungry, lots of times what I really want more than food is an external voice to say, ‘You’ve done enough. It’s OK to be tired. You can take a break. I’ll take care of you. I see how hard you’re trying.’ There is, though, no voice that can say that except the voice of God. The work I’m doing now is to let those words fall deeply on me, to give myself permission to be tired, to be weak, to need.”
    Thank you Shauna for sharing your stories and your words of wisdom!

    Being Italian I love to sit around the table eating and visiting and have friends over often. I am going to bravely try some new recipes now!

    • Laura, We must think alike–the passage you quoted is the one I featured above!! 🙂

      Proud of YOU for being brave and trying new things!

  9. I am so not a cook. I am single and am actually making popcorn for dinner tonight. (I know I shouldn’t brag.) But your blueberry crisp story is bring back some great memories. When I was a child, my mom made the same thing every night for dinner. Monday was salmon patties and mac and cheese. Tuesday was meatloaf and potatoes. Wednesday was hot dogs and fries. Thursday was some form of chicken and green beans. Friday was usually “sandwich” and chips night. Saturday was our “free night” that may have ended up at a local restaurant, but nothing fancy. But every Saturday for lunch my Mom would put her apron around my neck and serve me Chef Boyardee Spaghetti and meatballs. She hated Italian food and I loved it. So much so that I needed an apron verses a napkin. I looked forward to that because it was usually just me and my mom.

    Sundays we spent with family and grandparents house. And I mean lots of family with lots of Southern covered dishes. It was great. My grandma even had a big table that would set about 30 people. The worlds biggest picnic table. Thanks for sparking that great, great memory.

  10. In my family cooking was done out of necessity, but in my husband’s family cooking was done for fun, as a family activity. That is probably why he is a better more adventurous cook than I am. I even took a cooking class, and it was not quite as fun as she described her class, it was a little stressful and really hard… I think they bring up a good point about watching food shows, reading food blogs and looking at recipes, I am so like that. I never really thought about that before.

    This book has really challenged me already to think about cooking differently and start making some simple food challenges.

  11. After reading just the first few chapters, I felt like, “Yeah, I could have people over.” I’ve always felt inadequate, both in my cooking skills, but also menu planning. I make tacos, not risotto! 😉 After reading about her successes and even failures, I just felt a bit more ready to try…to cook, but also reach out and start building community right where I am. I’ve been so blessed by this book, the Bloom community, and the videos. Beyond thankful for it all!

  12. When I moved out of my parents house at age 22, I did not know the first thing about cooking. I learned by experimenting, asking questions, and watching my roommates and friends. One of the 1st major meals I remember trying to cook on my own was lasagna — I loved my mom’s lasagna growing up, and this was a meal I wanted to learn to make for friends. Pasta makes my heart happy. — Mom’s recipe seemed a bit complicated, and she always looked exhausted after making it, so I just bought a box of pasta and followed the simple recipe on the side. I was so proud of my yummy final product. Mom was a bit dumbfounded that I used the box recipe, but when she finally tasted my lasagna, she didn’t seem to mind. 🙂

    The chapter titled “Enough” deeply resonated with me — The year that I got engaged, my best friend’s husband was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. My happiest time was her hardest… the story about Shauna’s friend Emily and the safety goggles deeply touched me. (Also, we had a miscarriage 4 months into our 1st year of marriage, so the sentence “pregnant is the new skinny” made me smile as that is so something I would say.)

    I think I could hang with Shauna — especially if she makes me the brownies at the end of the chapter.

    I am loving this book. 🙂

  13. I LOVE this book! I have many memories growing up of my parents entertaining in our home, although my mother has always said she doesn’t like to cook. My food memories and I think the root of my love to cook comes from my grandmother. I spent many nights at her house making what she called “Haystacks” but are to most people “No bake Cookies” . Instead of blueberry picking we went blackberry picking every summer and stocked our freezers full for blackberry cobbler or sometimes just plain blackberries and sugar. I have spent years trying to duplicate her buttermilk biscuits and Shauna’s recipe at the end of “Hummingbird” has inspired me to try again.
    I also identify with Angie. I watch the food network all the time. I have though ventured out and tried things from it. The knife I have tried to teach myself to chop vegetables with my husband and I refer to as the “Rachel Ray knife” even though it is not her brand! 🙂
    God has blessed us over the years with some great friends and I think of all the times we have shared laughter, tears and prayers around food. It is His presence that feeds us through these times that I cherish the most. Jesus told Peter in John 21 “if you love me, feed my sheep”. This is of course not necessarily physical food but time spent at the table certainly sets the stage for being the person God needs you to be to a friend when “life happens”.

    • Cathy,

      It sounds like this IS the perfect study for you to join based on all those memories. But it’s your last line I most loved–“time spent at the table sets the stage for being the person God needs you to be to a friend when ‘life happens'”. Yes…that… xo

  14. “What I learned more than anything else that week is that we learn by doing.” (p. 65)

    I think this quote stayed with me the most. I was always a “strict stick to the recipes you know and do them exactly as it says” type person. I’ve been learning to step out, just do it and give it a try and try something new too. I’ve even watched some videos on how to properly use a knife. And not only did I watch them, I’ve tried it out as well!! That’s better than I use to do!

    One step at a time, one day at a time I’m learning to step out of my comfort zone, reach out to others and share my table with them. Really enjoying the book and the videos!

    • Yes, Diane! One step, one day at a time! Why do we think we have to do it ALL and PERFECTLY right NOW??? Good for you for stepping out of comfort, into tiny slivers of adventure :). You’re an encouragement!

  15. What I have learned from Shauna’s book is that I don’t have to be afraid of cooking! I can do this! It is ok to fail at my expectations too – sometimes it will turn out ok or great even! I already made the curry mango chicken – it was wonderful! Family very impressed! The crisp came out very nice too; tho’ the 3rd time was not so good but it got eaten. I had tried coconut flour instead of wheat and it didn’t taste as good or hold together as well! Thank you for encouraging me to cook as an art – the art part being more of sharing and nurturing others! I am so loving this book!! Thank you to the wonderful ladies who bought a book to share for someone who could not buy one!! I deeply appreciate this keep-on-giving kind of gift! Thank you too!!

    • Maria, Your comment is exactly why we knew this book was perfect for our Bloom community :). And by trying NEW things, you’re learning, and that’s so much of our goal! Cooking as art–we’re ALL creatives in the kitchen :).

  16. I’m totally trying a few of the recipe’s! I know my hubs will be all about those brownies. Lol. But I am really enjoying this gal. She is so hilarious and I enjoy hearing her childhood stories. It’s just so neat.

    But I am the type to all-of-a-sudden decide I wanna make my own dressing, sauce, dip, or even make a different recipe version from a restaurant. Like I don’t have a problem messing up my kitchen because ultimately if I’m home all day and I know I’m super creative, I wanna make my kitchen work for me. Lol. So, that’s not an issue. I actually really enjoy finding out what I can do with my thoughts and ideas!

    She has really sparked a desire in me to get people over to my house! I have several ideas on having people over that are centered around a certain theme, and she is just like my cheerleader right now.

    Seriously I can’t really watch cooking shows because I’m frazzled by my own insane and crazy ideas and ways about cooking, that I feel my brain will just explode because it’s too much info that my own creativity isn’t making room for! Ugh. It’s sounds odd, I know. But I don’t really need “inspiration” to cook.

    “Enough” was hard to read. I just deal with infertility. So, I don’t know her pain and in a sense I do, but even what’s worse: not knowing why you can’t seem to carry your child full-term, and it just DOESNT happen for you, but you know there are options, OR that you do know the reason why you can’t get pregnant and yet, can’t do a thing about it Like I dont think there’s a “worse”. Both sound and are horrible. Moving on.

    The Chopping Block was fun to read! And Run was VERY inspirational .. yeah, I guess so what “Enough”.

  17. HAPPY NEWS: So, hubs and I have been planning a fellowship/bible for weeks now. He comes home from work today and I am excited to share what I’ve read already. And he can barely contain himself as well, because he said the Lord has been inspiring him since THIS MORNING (when I started in the book) that he wants attendees to really enjoy themselves and that they will do that here, but just didn’t know how. When I read excerpts from the book, he stopped me mid-sentence to say that he believes that he just figured out the big picture for the fellowship/bible studies and that I was holding it in my hand! That this book will be our inspiration and motivation for our gatherings!!! I’m SO excited, but he fell asleep, so I have to be very quiet. Lol.

      • First…..{{hugs}} Deb.

        Second, I love that you know who you are in the kitchen, and rather than being a know it all about it, you see how this book can spark your existing creativity even more :).

        Third, your progression of comments made me SMILE! And how much do I LOVE hearing that you and your hubby have direction re: fellowship in your home as a result of what we’re doing on Bloom? a LOT.

        Thank you for letting us know :). I cannot wait to hear how your attendees are blessed…and y’all, too.

  18. There is so much I relate to in this book, even outside of cooking. I didn’t start cooking until I got married. The first meal I made my husband, the son of a gourmet cook, was soup and salad. He still decided to marry me, thank God. I also learn much of what I know through books . . . gardening, parenting, cooking, writing, but she is right, the actually process of getting your hands into it and doing is where you truly learn beyond what you know in the pages of a book. As I read this week in Bread & Wine, what stuck out to me is that I sometimes spend too much time reading to learn when I actually just need to do. It’s knowing the balance that is wisdom.

  19. Hey!

    I got so tickled with Shauna’s story of the health food environment in which she grew up (I did NOT grow up with that), but what tickles my funny bone is her mom’s toothbrush treats for Halloween one year. I didn’t go to that extreme, but I did pass out little boxes of raisins. Once. Most of the kids were rather disgusted by my treat, but one little fella said, “Thanks! I love raisins! My mom will be happy ’cause these’ll keep me regular!” No joke. True story.

    I love reading recipes and adapting them to use what I have on hand and to what my family’s preferences are. I am also into going to independent restaurants say, while on a trip with my husband, asking for a copy of their menu to keep, and then going home to get inspiration from their fabulous offerings or finding recipes that are close to the meals we may have enjoyed while fine dining (a rarity of late).

    Country Captain is a big deal kind of dish in the South and I enjoy preparing it for a group. It’s not the kind of dish you can prepare for just two usually. One evening recently with just my husband and me at home, I was craving it big time, but I had no chicken in the fridge or freezer, but I DID have tilapia filets. So, I created a new take on this traditional dish and I thought my husband was going to pass out. It was that good! I’ll definitely be “fixing” it again for the two of us.

    • Hi Amy–I’m so glad to see someone else comment who enjoys cooking, trying new things, checking out new restaurants to get ideas for new foods at home, etc. Rather than seeing myself in Shauna’s comments about watching rather than doing, or being fearful of cooking, I resonate with her book in being at a similar place of enjoying cooking for those I gather…

    • Amy,

      Well, I’m from the South and I have no idea what Country Captain is! I’ve got to google it now to figure out what you’re talkin’ about :). And the Halloween raisin/regular story? Priceless!

  20. I have always loved to cook but I am not super adventurous. I am kind of a stickler of sticking to recipes. I have grown accustomed to needing a recipe to feel “safe” with what I’m making, but reading this book has begun to open my eyes to a whole new world. 🙂 I have cooked long enough at this point to begin to learn that there are some rules but there is also a whole lot of art involved. And it’s been neat to make small goals. Last year I realized I rarely cook with herbs/spices and so my small little goal for the year was to begin to use them and grow more comfortable knowing what herbs do well with what kinds of meats/pastas/dishes. And it’s been really fun. I don’t know why it’s so scary to me to branch out and try.. I guess fear of failing (read: pride). Or fear of wasting when we are on such a tight budget! But I love how simple it is to relax and remember.. I may not know how to do this intuitively. I can learn. I can start where I am and go from there and I don’t have to master it all in a few weeks.

    I also love in the book so far how food can connect us to certain memories, certain times and experiences. How familiar and unique meals can be to each family, how inviting someone into your home for a meal gives them a peek into your family.

    Loving this book and already busy making many of the recipes. 🙂

    • Martha, you touched on two reasons why I think I’m not more adventuresome–fear of getting it wrong and the dread of wasting money. But I suppose if we LEARN from both, they’re invaluable, right?

  21. I am really enjoying the book. I haven’t felt the calling to cook yet, not even a vinaigrette. For me it is stirring up the old social planner in me. Oh I remember how much I loved having friends and family over. Unfortunately, it has slipped away due to many things. I was already feeling a pull to try again, and this book and book club, is the confirmation and encouragement I need. I hope 🙂