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Tables in the wilderness

In another life, I would be a food writer.

I would tell you every story from the flavor of it. I would tell you how fennel makes me think of my kitchen in Scotland in the year I lived at the end of the world.

I would retell the discovery of Spanish smoked paprika in the summer we spent near the coast.

Then there was the first chicken in the first French oven in the first month of our marriage, in the days we were casual and free with our sage—both the spice and the wisdom.

I didn’t quite write that book. Not yet. Maybe someday.

The book I wrote first is a book about relationships, the kind that exist between us and between us and the divine. It’s spiritual memoir, but I like to think it’s not memoir the way we usually talk about it, which is really just autobiography with hymns.

Autobiography is the telling of your own story written by you. Biography is the telling of your own story written by someone else. The thing about biography and autobiography, though, is that you have to be interesting. You ask famous people—of varying kinds of fame, but fame nonetheless—to write them.

You don’t have to be very interesting to write spiritual memoir because it is ultimately not a story about you. It’s a story about you and your god or you and your religious experience or you and your understanding and engagement with the divine.

What I hope I did was write a book that was more about the god I believe in than about me, which makes the writing process a curious one: I told my story in a circle, bent the timeline back on itself, because the point is not so much about what I did and when I did it, but about the authentic experience of the journey and the ways it overlaps with the journeys of others.

It’s a book about relationships—relationships between people and relationships with the divine. But in another world, when I could tell you some of these stories in person, unmediated by text, I would ask you to come over to my house and sit in our kitchen.


I would be cooking for you while we shared stories, because there is no way I could not. Everything in me, ultimately, is driven by the texture of flavors that we say makes up our lives. I’d make you rosemary risotto with blackberries folded in, a recommendation from Jody Williams that has endured a decade of autumns in four or five kitchens now.

I’d make the bread I learned from my Muslim friend, who spoke of feminism and cardamom with the same reverence, and over the coffee and the spiced apples and the bread I’d ask you to tell me about your encounters or non-encounters with the divine.

Maybe, somehow, between us there would be understanding, communion, and in the exchange of story and flavor there would be memories made and breathed into being.

I wrote a book about the tangled mess that is the self. It’s tedious in that way, but we are rather tedious creatures, I think. So if you care about such things at all, I wrote a book for you. I wrote a book for you that comes out today, right this minute. Come around and sit for a bit at this table. We can talk about it.

And in a gesture of that table I wish we could share, I’m partnering with Tsh to give to one of her readers a set of four of our house spice blends. One reader will be selected to receive these blends that make the rounds in our home on a weekly basis, each composed by hand, ground fresh with mortar and pestle, and sourced from the highest quality spice purveyor I know: Penzey’s Spices. Notes on what each spice contains, the formulation, and suggested use included—you’ll now be in on a bit of the old secrets, too. The set contains these four house blends: BBQ (smokey old world style), Spicy (distinctly African, heady and sweet), Dressing (think summer in the south of France), and Pickle (surprises in store).

A note from Tsh

tablesIn addition to the spices, Preston is offering TEN Art of Simple readers an opportunity to win a copy of his new book, Tables in the Wilderness, releasing today.

Just leave a comment below for a chance to win.

This giveaway will end on Saturday night, October 4, 2014, and the winners will be announced shortly thereafter. I hope you win!

Reading Time:

3 minutes





  1. Hayley

    I’m always looking for good new books to read!

  2. Charlene Kever

    Life happens around the table. Can’t wait to read this book!

  3. coleen

    yum! yum! stories and spices, two of my favorite things.

  4. Jennifer

    I would love to read this book!

  5. whimzie

    I’ve read several descriptions of this book several different places and I really want to read this book. Actually, I think I need to read this book.

  6. Mel

    I am feeling drawn in! This book sounds delightful!

  7. Mel

    I’m feeling drawn in! Your book sounds delightful! Thanks for the giveaway.

  8. Nicole

    Wow, this blog post is so incredibly well written. I will be reading the book. I have just begun my own writing journey and it can be so hard to open up. This writing is so beautiful and authentic. It is a big lesson for me. Thank you. Thank you.

  9. Ludovica

    Your particular and unique approach to the relationship with the divine really seems to resonate with me. You are right: it is tedious and ,sometimes, very frustating too, but it’s a work of life and I know it is always worth doing.

  10. Rita

    love your podcast as well as blog

  11. katy

    The table and the divine…isn’t that how it should be

  12. Heather

    So, as a woman who left teaching after eight years to go to culinary school starting last fall, I so wish the book was about cooking (drool). As a woman who didn’t get to finish that degree though because her husband landed a teaching job overseas and she was uprooted and transplanted to Morocco with no job herself and lots of time to think about what it means to be spiritual and be human all at the same time… I’m pretty sure this book would do too. Or the conversation in the kitchen while you cook. Always up for food and honest conversation blended together =) I love that our relationship with God is a real, living journey, and I’m excited to see how yours is being fashioned. Go you, courageous soul, for writing about it!

  13. Kerri Ciulla

    I think this might just be THE book I need at this exact moment in my life! And the spices wouldn’t hurt either 😉

  14. Cheryl

    Sounds wonderful!

  15. Andrea

    Sounds like a good read! And the spices look awesome 🙂

  16. Sarah @ Beauty School Dropout

    This new book sounds really good, and… Penzey’s? Oh yeah. Clearly this guy knows his spices, too.

  17. Lauren Brown

    This sounds like such a great read!

  18. Laurin Beardsley

    So exciting! Looking forward to reading and tasting!?!

  19. Rebecca in PA

    What an interesting idea. I am so really drawn in by the sound of this book!

  20. Kelly Adams

    Sounds terrific–both the book AND the spices!

  21. lisa

    My cooking could use some spicing up and I love to read – I hope to win!

  22. Betsy

    Both sound wonderful!

  23. muriel

    We love to cook with spices.

  24. Lauren

    Not to be too simplistic, but I like the style and flow of your prose. It’s poetic and evocative. The Penzey’s spices just show what excellent taste you have, which is the icing on the cake. I’d like to read your book.

  25. Tara

    thanks for the opportunity!

  26. Anna

    What a beautiful book!! Thank you for the opportunity!

  27. Liesel

    Love good spices! Would love to win!

  28. Miriam

    After reading this blog post, I wanted to start reading the book!

  29. Megan M

    Mmmm. That Spicy African blend sounds so intriguing.

  30. Lauren

    This looks like a great read!

  31. Julie

    Sounds intriguing and the spices sound delicious!

  32. Shannon

    Fellow BU alum here-I’d love to win this book! And I’ve already looked up the rosemary risotto recipe-looks delicious. Thanks for sharing your stories, Preston.

  33. Shannon

    Thank you!

  34. Amy

    Now I have to read this book! And eat!

  35. Dianne

    Love when stories are intertwined with food experiences. Such a great way to connect memories with our senses. Would love to read the book and enjoy some spices!

  36. TawNya

    i seriously love books like this!

  37. Kelli

    The spiritual memoir is quickly becoming my favorite genre. Your book is definitely going on my “to read” list!

  38. Lyn Hallewell

    I really want to read this book, and the spices, yum!

  39. Heather

    I can’t wait to read this book!

  40. Deb

    This book sounds intriguing. Happy travels, Tsh!

  41. Kate

    I’d love to win a copy of this book!

  42. Erin

    Thanks for the chance to win the book and the spices

  43. Stacie Gresham

    You have convinced me that this book is a must read!

  44. Linnea

    I’d LOVE to win!

  45. Rebekah

    Have heard so much about this book and it’s going on my list for sure.
    And cooking is my love language – how wonderful it would be to spice it up with these new options!

  46. Amy

    This sounds like such a great book!

  47. Kimberly

    I would love a new book about spirituality or any of the spice blends! Thanks for the great giveaway!

  48. Liza

    I’ve wanted to read this book since I first heard it was being written.

  49. Amy Nabors

    I have been reading Preston’s blog for a few years now and cannot wait to soak up his first published book. Congratulations, Preston!

  50. Kristen

    I’m pretty sure we’d be friends.

  51. Lisa

    Spices sound delicious and would be a welcome addition to my fall and winter cooking projects. The book sounds very intriguing…looking forward to reading it.

  52. Suzanne

    What a lovely gift idea. I can’t wait to read this book, too. I’m in need of inspiration as the rains start in the Pacific NW.

  53. Kelli

    This sounds like a super good read! Thanks for offering to share!

  54. Sherri

    Sounds like a great read!

  55. Lou

    A great book and flavorful spices? Sounds like a perfect giveaway combo!

  56. Addie

    What a neat prize!

  57. Elizabeth

    Sounds like a great book! And I would love to read your first book as a food writer too — you have the experiences to write about and the gift of good writing.

  58. Ginny

    How delightful. I love memoirs. And, I love how those talented writers can memorialize on paper their relationship with and journey to (and fro) the divine. Thanks for sharing about this book.

  59. Tashia D

    They both sound wonderful!

  60. Rebecca

    My kind of book! Can’t wait to read it!!

  61. Beth Werner Leeh

    Beautiful writing, intriguing summary. I’d like to read and feast with you!

  62. Charissa

    I have a dear friend who loves people so well by cooking for them. She enjoys listening to joy and conversation around the table and enjoys creating and serving beautiful and delicious food. This post reminded me of her. I would give this to her. 🙂

  63. Heather

    Eeep! I would love to read this!!

  64. Jen

    Would love to add this to my off-season reading pile!

  65. toni

    I am touched by your writing. I am open to relationships and to my God. I would love to win this book. Thank you for the opportunity.

  66. Sarah M

    I would love to read this book!
    Sarah M

  67. Barefoot Hippie Girl

    I love shopping at Penzey’s! It is a feast for the eyes and the nose, even before you start cooking. And my kids love going there too. One of my favorite stores ever. I like using their rogan josh blend to make a nice beef curry.

  68. Trena

    This looks wonderful!

  69. Carol White

    Reading this blog post makes me want to devour the book!

  70. Michele

    I too relate foods to the places I’ve been. Would love to read this book!

  71. elaynaalexnadra

    I want to win this, read it – and then gift it to my friend Jill. It sounds amazing and just the book we need to both read.

  72. Karla Solis

    Pick me! Pick me!

  73. Catherine

    I, too, have so many flavors in my mind, from travels around the world. I would love to read your book!

  74. Audra

    This book sounds so intriguing! I love memoirs about the “un”famous. 🙂

  75. Audra

    This book sounds so intriguing! I love memoirs about the “un”famous. 🙂

  76. Christy C.

    I would love to read this book!

  77. Lori

    Reading, cooking and having others at my table and in my kitchen are some of my favorite things.

  78. Mitzi

    God, relationship and intentionally prepared food. We have a lot in common. I would love to read this book!

  79. Melissa

    This looks like a wonderful book! Thanks for the chance!

  80. Heidi

    I would love to read this, it looks wonderful!
    Thank You!

  81. Donna @ More Than Hungry

    Risotto with Rosemary & Blackberries! The Reverence of Cardamom! I want to sit around the table & share stories. Can’t wait to read the book.

  82. toni evans

    Your review makes this book sound like a wonderful read…I would love to win this!

  83. Sarah

    I’m intrigued by your book description! And I love the pairing with food items.

  84. Heidi

    What a blessing you are to offer both food for the body and food for the soul. May the LORD bless you!!

  85. Jen

    You had me at “book about us and the divine”. Looking forward to reading this!

  86. Debbie

    Isn’t it amazing how many comments you can get on a blog post when you are posting a chance to win something for free 🙂
    I am guilty of never commenting on blogs I read but give me a chance to win something for free and I’ll comment away 🙂 The book sounds amazing and very from the heart.

  87. Kathy

    You leave me hungry for more!

  88. Elizabeth

    The spices and book sound amazing. Thanks for sharing with us!

  89. Sean Ishum

    So exciting! This book looks delightful.

  90. Bobbi

    Love spices and the book looks wonderful!

  91. Connie

    Sounds like a really great book and, boy, the topic is quite timely for this moment in my life.

  92. Christina

    This would be a very relevant book for me to read right now. We just started attending a new church that has a major focus on community and specifically community in the context of a meal. We’ve been delving into how Jesus “came eating and drinking” and how that is such a picture of his ministry on earth; and then how that relates to our relationships and ministries on earth. If I don’t win, I think I’m going to have to get a copy, just because of the huge relevance in my walk right now.

  93. Maryellen

    Sounds intriguing….would love to read this book.

  94. Idaho Jill

    The spices look yummy and the book looks great!

  95. Jenine

    I have a severe love affair with any book about cooking. The more descriptive the ingredients and dishes, the better! Would love a chance to win. The spices look wonderful!

  96. Barbara

    Count me in!

  97. Timberly

    Sounds like the book for me.

  98. Sue Montgomery

    Thank you for offering a wonderful treat for our entire body. I look forward to reading what looks to be a delightful book. What perfect timing with the change of season, when we are starting to come inside. Sue

  99. Adelle F.

    This sounds like wonderful book and Penzey’s just happens to be my favorite spice company! I’d be thrilled for the chance to win.

  100. Leah

    Thank you for the giveaway. It sounds like a lovely book.

  101. Tanya

    I could always use more spice in my life and more wisdom and encouragement helps also.:-)

  102. Marcia

    I love the title of the book. “He prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies.” I would love to hear some more thoughts on the subject.

  103. Leigh

    This sounds like an amazing book. I can’t wait to dive in.

  104. Kristy

    Mmmmmm. Rosemary risotto… with blackberries!

  105. Emily

    The connections this book appears to make are fascinating. Would love to read!

  106. Debra Alley

    If the book is written anything like the introduction…..I am already consumed with the read.
    Can’t wait for more! 🙂

  107. Beckie

    Looks like a great read – can’t wait to start. Food & books are two of my favorite things! Win/Win!

  108. Jen M.

    I’m intrigued. Sounds interesting.

  109. Lee

    Spirituality, food, relationships, travel – sounds like a book about all of my interests in one! I would love to read it!

  110. Heather

    Sounds wonderful – I would love to win!

  111. AnDy9

    Food and tslking things over — doesn’t get any more divine than that…

  112. Rachel

    Looks like a great read!

  113. Meighan

    Looking forward to reading this – sounds great! Thanks!

  114. Cadena

    Yes, please! This would be fantastic!

  115. Michelle

    What a lovely description of what I can only assume is an equally lovely book! Winner or not, I am sure to pick up a copy of this to devour in the coming months.

  116. Life as an investment

    Sounds amazing! Would love to get a copy of this book!

  117. Lisa Lundgren

    I would love to read this book!

  118. Jessica

    Sounds like a great book! Who doesn’t love being in the kitchen with great friends talking over amazing food?

  119. Jennifer

    What a beautiful introduction to what sounds like an amazing book!

  120. Melissa

    Sounds like a great book.

  121. Jeannie

    Food and books and faith are three of my favorite things but when they come together they are even more than the sum of their parts. I’ve heard whispers of this book and I would absolutely love to read it!

  122. Tamrah T.

    Words are written to bring salt and savor to life the same as spice is to food. Some are more palatable than others, and that is how we grow and navigate our world. Spice is always welcome in my home and kitchen. I think this book would be a great read!

  123. Kim

    I have been waiting for this book and I’d love the chance to win it.

  124. Nickolina

    One of our current blessings is “soup night”, a weekly gathering where I make soup and biscuits (they prefer ‘star biscuits’ cut with a cookie cutter) and anywhere from 2 to 12 mostly young adults come to our home. They talk, play board games, sit around a campfire, and crowd around the kitchen table with the overflow standing against the counters eating from a bowl in their hand.

    I love it.

  125. Amber

    Another book to add to my goodreads list!

  126. gretchen

    This book sounds like a gem! I love food, preparing food and a great read. I also am always seeking to know God more. Thank you!

  127. Cathy

    This sounds like a really intersting book – and I always like new spice combanations to experiment with

  128. Jen

    I would love to dive into this book! Perfect to curl up with after the kids are in bed 🙂

  129. Tina

    Thank you for writing.

  130. Sonya

    Perfect combination of storytelling and food! Count me in!

  131. Paige

    Yummy, spices and a foodie book! Woohoo!

  132. Mary Johnson

    Sounds fascinating! Would love to read it.

  133. Missy Robinson

    i so want those spices!

  134. Steph

    Those spice blends sound incredible! And I would love to read the book: many of my favorite bloggers have been talking it up.

  135. jeb hoerter

    I love east, read and cook. Can’t wait to read this book.

    • jeb hoerter

      To eat.

  136. Lisa

    This sounds fascinating. Would love to read this book! Thanks for the chance to win. 🙂

  137. Sarah Farish

    “The tangled mess that is self” – yes, this is a book I’d love to read!

  138. Holly

    The book and the spices sound wonderful! Thank you!!!

  139. Amanda

    This sounds like a lovely book. I look forward to reading it.

  140. Corinne

    Sounds intriguing!

  141. Sarah West

    A book would be an awesome treat for my brain right now! We are in the process of moving to another state and transitioning jobs…I need a little mind retreat 🙂

  142. kjersten

    I have been w a i t i n g for this book! Looking forward to reading it!

  143. Rhonda

    Ahh – the joy of conversations around a table while food is prepared and shared. I would love to receive the book and spices. I’m inspired to go out and eat a healthy lunch.

  144. Maureen

    God found, lost and found again….a reflection of where I find myself today. I need to read this book!

  145. Kim Beber

    This sounds like a great book that I think both my husband and I would enjoy!

  146. Kim McCulley

    Oooo! Sounds intriguing!

  147. Lucy Anderson

    This sounds like such a beautiful book. Would love to win 🙂

  148. Tonya

    Love spices and this article really captured my attention – thinking the book would do the same!

  149. Geneva Nunez

    This book sounds wonderful! Would love to win it to read it….Good luck to everyone else!

  150. Jennifer K.

    This sounds like it could be a great and very interesting book. My kitchen is the main room for me, and I really enjoy cooking for my family, as well as friends. 🙂

  151. Cami

    Grateful for the opportunity and excited to read this book!

  152. Kristen Rendall

    You got me at rosemary risotto with blackberries folded in! I would love to read this book!

  153. Catherine E

    Sounds like a great book! I’d love to win a copy.

  154. Valarie N.

    Sounds like a great book!

  155. Linda

    Sounds like a really great book.

  156. Jodi

    What a “delicious” seeming read!

  157. donna

    Lovely words about food….life…and everything :).

  158. jamie

    This sounds like a wonderful read and though I’m full the author has my mouth watering like a spring fountain!

  159. Shauna

    Books and food: what could be better?!

  160. Shannon

    Planning to read this book whether I win or not! Sounds beautiful.

  161. Anna Roberts

    I would love to read this book! It sounds amazing.

  162. Debbie

    Becoming a huge fan lately of memoirs like this. I think it’s super important that we share our journey with others. Everyone benefits and God receives glory. Thanks for this!

  163. Deborah

    This looks like it would be a great read!

  164. Loree

    This book looks very intriguing and inspiring.

  165. Debbie

    I too would have been a food writer, but till then, I’ll just eat and enjoy food. Love good book recommendations too.

  166. Claire

    Would love to read the book and try the spices.

  167. Erin

    Both you and Sarah Bessey recommend this book today?!?! I’m sold!

  168. Carol

    Oh! I’d love to read this book! I too remember my discovery of smoked paprika and enjoy a cupboard full of unique spices at my house. Thanks for the giveaway!

  169. jennifer cox

    Sounds like a wonderful read!

  170. Cheryl N.

    Sounds like an interesting book! Perfect for those rare autumn weekends, when I get up first and actually have a few minutes to myself.

  171. Estrella

    Very interesting article. Hooked me on the book. And I’d love to enjoy the spices in my cooking as well.

  172. Karen

    Sounds like a great read!

  173. Carolyn

    An intriguing title which draws me towards a good read ahead. The spice blends sound amazing too! Thanks for the chance to win!

  174. Jen M.

    Both book and spices sound amazing!

  175. Sara H.

    cooking and reading! two of my favorite things!

  176. Susie

    Eating and stories with a value in a book, what more could you want?

  177. Karen

    Preston’s work is new to me – sounds interesting…

  178. Kris LaMar

    If I don’t win one, I’ll buy at least one!

  179. Brittany S.

    I’d love to dive into this book. Thank you for offering it to your readers.

  180. Rita

    I am very intrigued. It’s on my reading list this Fall!

  181. Stacey E

    Would love to read this book over tea and something yummy. Awesome giveaway!

  182. Camille

    How lovely!

  183. Jennifer S

    Would LOVE to have this one!

  184. Susan S

    Enticing! Can’t wait to read…

  185. Mari

    I wish all tables were in the wilderness

  186. Jocelyn

    This all looks wonderful! Makes my mouth water just reading. 🙂

  187. Erin Sanchez

    I would love to win this! Books that combine life stories and cooking are some of my favorite to read. 🙂

  188. Shana Maker

    If your book reads with as much comfort and intimacy as your blog post, then sign me up!

  189. Gina

    This sounds great!

  190. Esther

    Would love to read the book and cook with the spices!

  191. Mel V.

    Now you’ve got me thinking about memoirs in relation to God’s story in each of us… thank you.

  192. Olivia

    Sounds interesting!

  193. Heather

    Tables in the Wildnerness sounds phenomenally inspiring. I’d love to read and learn from it. And there are no finer spices than those from Penzey’s (a hometown company!).


  194. Joyce

    I would love the spices and the book! Sounds awesome!

  195. Lizzie Goldsmith

    I’d like to enter this giveaway! 🙂

  196. Nina

    The book and spice blends sound wonderful!

  197. Theresa

    Peeking in to add my entry!

  198. momoftwo

    I hope to someday write an autobiography of sorts!

  199. Mary Beth

    A good read and good food – what else would you need!!!

  200. Becky C

    Sounds like a great read!

  201. Erin

    This sounds like a wonderful book and the spices sound fantastic!

  202. Jennifer

    Nothing touches my heart and soul more than a good food book that captures the essence of seasons and flavors and memories. This is definitely on my autumn reading list!

  203. Laura

    I love to read, I love to read books about food, and I love to cook, so this would be a boon all around! Thanks for the giveaway!

  204. Laura Medbury

    I’ve never read any of Preston’s books but I really liked his writing style in this article! I’d love to read his book! 🙂

  205. Heather M

    Would love to read this!

  206. Andrea

    Mmm, soul food…..sounds lovely.

  207. Bree Mooney

    I’m excited to read your book, Preston. I’m another Penzey’s fan, too. I would love to win!’

  208. Aimee

    This book sounds wonderful and I am in need of a new good read.

  209. Michelle

    Community and vulnerability so often happen around food and the table! Sounds like a great book!

  210. Rachel

    Everything about this yells “read me!”

  211. lisa

    I’ve been talking to a friend about kitchen table church—the deep listening, prayer, and making space for the Holy Spirit in our midst. this book would be right up my alley!

  212. Holly Elder

    I hope I win, too! I love to think about how my ancestors cooked and prepared their meals, the time spent in the kitchens (bonding time and love) without the conveniences we have today….

  213. Kim

    Been searching for a good read, this could be it!

  214. jessica

    Sounds like a wonderful book and I love Penzey Spices!!

  215. Jill

    I love the idea of learning more about God over meals and community with people. It’s something basic, an acceptance of our daily bread, a time in which we slow down and nourish our bodies and souls. Looking forward to the read!

  216. nicole

    I am interested in reading this book

  217. Rachel

    Wow, sounds like we’re in for quite a treat!

  218. Deborah

    I love these types of stories!

  219. Stephanie Lai

    What a lovely giveaway! Can’t wait to read this memoir.

  220. Stacy

    Stories are powerful. I love how in sharing our stories, we are changed. Thanks for sharing yours.

  221. Natalie

    Sounds like a great autumn read for the soul!

  222. Colleen

    Breaking bread together and hospitality at the Table, to me, are innately spiritual experiences that help us weave our lives together with each other and God. I would love to read how God has spoken in your life. You sound like someone I’d like to hang out in the kitchen with and chat with.

  223. Rebecca

    The book and the spices sound great. Thanks for the chance to win.

  224. Elaine

    This sounds great.

  225. Peggy Nagy

    Table in the wilderness sounds intriguing. The cover draws me in.

  226. Nicole

    Your writing pulled me in from the beginning! If your book is anything like this blog post, I’ll be savoring every delicious page.

  227. Kim

    A memoir is my ‘book of choice’ at the moment – would love to read this book!

  228. Victoria

    I’m always looking for good new books to read! Thanks for the opportunity!

  229. Kerith

    Looks like a great read!

  230. deborah

    I’m always all about new inspiring books to read!

  231. Jenni

    I would love to read this book and have wish listed on my Amazon acct as a potential Christmas present for others.

  232. Laura Ayers

    I’ve been devouring (pun intended) food memoirs for ages. I can imagine sitting down in a quiet corner or my favorite local cafe reading this book. I hope that I am a winner! Thanks!

  233. Danielle

    There is no better way to interact with the world than through food!

  234. Kristie

    Thanks for this opportunity!

  235. Melanie Smith

    This looks like an awesome book! I would love to read it!!

  236. Alicia

    Would love this!

  237. Amy @ Sunlit Pages

    Oh wow . . . the book, the spices, everything sounds fabulous!

  238. Mary Ann

    I love it when artfully chosen words hook me: discovery… relationships… engagement with the divine… authentic experience of the journey… shared stories. These all reeled me in and drew me to the table of the book, sprinkled with exotic spices.

  239. Deanna Williams

    I believe the world needs us to be better and more open storytellers. Look forward at some point reading the story Preston tells.

  240. Dawn

    What an enticing opening. Can’t wait to read it.

  241. annie

    I would be very interested to read this. I’m a huge fan of Bread & Wine by Shauna Neiquest. Your book sounds very similar in theme. I my spiritual gift is hospitality, particularly food. I’m really just beginning to scratch the surface of what that means as Gods ministers through me. Thanks for the chance to win!

  242. Kristy B

    Oh, on a long Tuesday a book like this sounds excellent. And tomorrow when we are rested again the spices will be fabulous

  243. Susan

    Spices and spirituality, what a fitting blend. 🙂 There are so many flavors and layers to our stories and our cooking. I look forward to reading your story and sharing the spices.

  244. pam

    Sounds like just the book I need to read right now. And spices……love to try new spices.

  245. terri

    There is no topic that interest me more. I pray I get to read your book. Thank you for a chance to win.

  246. Annie

    Pick meeee

  247. Ellen

    Sounds like a great book, I would love to read it.

  248. Paula

    OOH! This is the perfect love gift for a couple of family members! (Maybe they will let me borrow their copy occasionally!)

  249. Susan

    I have heard such wonderful things about this book!

  250. Sharon

    Thanks for the giveaway! Love a good book at this time of year…

  251. Angela

    Wow what a blessed gift! Would love to read this book and cook memory filled meals with those spices!

  252. Holly

    Looks like a great read!

  253. Steve

    Your post made me hungry on two counts – food for the body and soul.
    Look forward to partaking of both – thanks!

  254. Megan

    I love to cook. It too is part of my spiritual expression and journey. Would love to read this book!

  255. Arlene

    This sounds like a delightful book to read!

  256. Sheree

    Sounds intriguing!

  257. Lisa

    Would love to win! Can never have enough new and unique spices and spice mixes!

  258. Betsy Kunz

    This sounds amazing! I hope I win. Have a great day!

  259. Marcie

    Spices! Conversation! Souls lost and found . . . I can’t wait to read this.

  260. Lesley

    I find these types of books a joy to read! Honest, inspiring, down to earth and uplifting 🙂

  261. Chrissie

    Sounds like this book would speak directly to some of my own experiences! Looking forward to reading it.

  262. Kim G.

    Would love to win the spice blends and the book! My husband has introduced me to food from all over the world in our kitchen and it has been quite the adventure!

  263. Abi

    Can’t wait to read Preston’s book! And, he is right, Penzey’s in the BEST!!

  264. Emly

    Sounds wonderful. Would love to read this book!

  265. Kelly

    I already pre-ordered the book but would love the awesome spices and I will give one of my books to a friend!

  266. Jessica

    This book looks like an inspiration. I am a teacher and a momma to two little guys! Always looking for new sources of insight and beautiful moments in book form!

  267. Christina

    Oh my gosh, I’d love to read this with my book club!!!

  268. kristine

    Would love to win a copy of this book…sounds wonderful!

  269. Sue

    I look forward to reading this book!

  270. Mia White

    Sounds like a great read!

  271. Leah S

    Looks like a wonderful and interesting book! I enjoy your website so much!

  272. Monica Hicks

    sounds like an awesome read.

  273. Melissa Beaver

    Looking forward to reading this book!!

  274. Becky Y.

    I love Penzeys and this book sounds wonderful!

  275. Emily C.

    Sounds great. Count me in for the giveaway. Thanks!

  276. Sarah C

    Sounds delicious! The spices and the book!

  277. Beth Duron

    This book looks really intriguing. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  278. Melissa

    I would love to read 🙂

  279. Melissa B

    This book is on my “To Read” list!

  280. Stephen Carter

    The way Preston marries cooking and faith is so fascinating to me. I can’t wait to read this book!

  281. Jen

    This sounds like a wonderful read!

  282. Tiffany

    I love to cook. It’s where I find peace and joy in the midst of chaos. It’s where I feel His presence so clearly. This book sounds great and the spices sound amazing as well. Thanks for so much care in doing this.

  283. Stefanni

    I have heard this is a great book! I am a reader and a cook, so I would love to win

  284. Amy

    Where we currently call home is a place where the favorite past time is to “talk story over a pot blessing.” It is the heart of hospitality. We listen as people open their hearts and see the smiles on faces as we exclaim how blessed we are by the food they have brought “for share.” Here 4 people provide enough food to feed 50. Where we came from 4 people provide food for 4. The gify of hospitality is one we’ve developed over these last two years and will stay with us wherever we roam.

  285. Brenda

    Yes, please! I am salivating at the thought of reading this book! Thank you for the opportunity to win it!

  286. kerri t

    Anxious to read this, thanks for the opportunity!

  287. Anna Spencer

    What a fun giveaway! I would love to make my own spices. So fun.

    In another life, I would an art teacher for elementary school children!

  288. Kelli

    I would love to read this book! Thank you for sharing your gift with us!

  289. Mary Dorsey

    This book looks great! I can’t wait to read it. Thanks!

  290. Jennifer P

    Around the table sounds like a good place to start!

  291. Este Fielding

    I would love to read this book AND try the spice blends!

  292. Katrina

    This book sounds wonderful! I can’t wait to read it!

  293. Renee Ronika

    I revere God and spices, and I admire Preston Yancey.

  294. Nancy

    So excited to read this! Thanks for sharing.

  295. Kiya Krier

    I’m not much of a cook, but judging from the amazing piece of writing that is this post, I would LOVE to to win a copy of the book. Sounds right up my alley.

  296. Laura

    would love to read this one!

  297. Vanessa

    Even if I don’t win this book, I think I’ll have to buy it. I’m so drawn in already!

  298. Elizabeth Matney

    It would be wonderful to win and read such a great story or cook with fun spices!

  299. Ashley McRea

    Oh my goodness, we would love the book and the spices!!! What a treat!

  300. Becky

    Looks deliciously refreshing!

  301. Holly

    A friend told me about this book today and said it reminder her of me…so, I’m really hoping I can get it and read it. 🙂

  302. Katherine

    Good food speaks to the soul in a way not many other things can. I would love to read this.

  303. Kasey W.

    Beautifully written post. Count me intrigued!

  304. Brenda

    I’m always looking for a good book to read

  305. Lawana

    Sounds like great spices and a great read! Thanks for the opportunity.

  306. Sandra Hearn

    Love your posts. Would LOVE this book! Thank you!

  307. Justine

    Looking forward to reading this!

  308. Leslie

    If the book is half as beautiful as your description of it, I know it will be captivating. I am adding to to my “To Be Read” list. Winning a copy would be delightful.

  309. Tara

    As a teacher of comparative religion, humanities, ethics, yoga…as a spiritual seeker, a lover and teacher of mental and physical wellness, a person who believes every meal I make should be a spiritual offering to those I love and a nourishing way of staying mindful of the interconnectness of all beings I would truly appreciate an opportunity to read a book that seems to embody within it the same ideals I hold so dear. A beautiful post as well…

  310. Sarah

    I need to find God again…

  311. Ali H.

    I would love to read this too 🙂 🙂

  312. Sara

    After reading Notes From a Blue Bike (three times!), I can feel the nudge to pursue a new book for my self actualization process! I’d be honored to win a copy, and I do love to cook too 🙂

  313. Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    Books are one of the simple pleasures in life, and I would love the opportunity to win a copy of this one. Thanks so much for the chance!

  314. Pamela

    Great post! Thank you for the chance to win this book!

  315. Tricia N

    Someone is going to be a very lucky winner!

  316. Tricia N

    Someone is going to be one lucky winner!

  317. Hannah B

    Dying to get my hands on a copy of Preston’s book…and also maybe some spices. yum.

  318. Marisa

    This is the right time in my life to read this book…

  319. Rachel H

    I would love to win this gem!

  320. J McAuley

    The book & the spices sound wonderful

  321. Laura

    this book looks fascinating! thanks for sharing!

  322. Heather

    I’m looking forward to reading the book–and trying the spices.

  323. Liz H

    ALL of the stories in our home are told around the table or in the kitchen while cooking. I love to cook and to share meals. It just seems to lead to conversation and human interaction. The talk around the nightly fire I suppose. I’m really looking forward to reading this! And I’d love to try someone else’s spice blends 🙂

  324. Linda W.

    Each book I read has a flavor all its own. I would relish a chance to read this new book!

  325. Susan

    I can feel the sunshine, smell the lavender, feel the prickle of pepper in my nose. Your writing tastes of curry, lemon, sage and sugar. It is a riot of color and sensory magic from black and white. How do you do that? 😀

  326. Hien D

    Love books and can’t wait to read this book.

  327. Kaye Judge

    Tables in the Wilderness – I love it even before I have read it! The art of hospitality – truly a God given gift! Here you have share hospitality through the written word. I would love to come dine with you and share a meal flavoured with loving words! Souls from accross the world can at least be in touch through words! I am writing my own book – inspire me to keep going! Mine is about child life in the country – playfulness in tune with the shepherd’s Psalm as it was lived in my playing years! Thank-you for your thoughtful generosity – I would love to share you book with all my reading friends and all my students! Whether it becomes a gift sent from you or a purchase I will make – it will still be a gift of joy!

  328. Gaby

    Love the way you write. As you say, in the kitchen is where I like to spend my time, talk over chopping, peeling and cooking,and when by myself, my favorite way to meditate. There’s something gratifying and multisensorial about food, either the smell, flavor, the look or the textures makes me travel to other times and other places where my body and my mind gladly follows with joy.

  329. Stephanie

    This book might be a good step toward a more grown-up theology for me. I’ve finally realized and accepted (about 20 years later) that the way I understood God and the story of my life, were based on a particular time and place and situation. Enough time has passed that I realize how naive, self-centered and narrow those beliefs were. But now what? Where to go from here. Maybe this story will help.

  330. Margie J.

    What a beautiful cover and peaceful title!! Would love a copy of this book…not to mention the spices! xo

  331. Sandy

    I’d love to,win this for my new daughter in law who loves to cook and is having knee surgery Thursday . I’ll br MIL of the year 🙂

  332. Heather

    I’m so curious about it being told in a circle because I’ve been thinking about that concept so much lately in regards to life and faith. And I, too, wish I could be a food writer. 🙂

  333. Donna

    I would love to read this book! Thanks fir the opportunity! ! 🙂

  334. Carol

    In our family, the kitchen is the heart of the house. So when we are cooking and/or eating we are loving! (And they wonder why I am chubby…..). If you are not in the kitchen talking & eating, something must be amiss. All important discussions and decisions take place around the kitchen table. Trying different spices just adds to the fun!

  335. Rita Mae Muller

    The spices and the book both look intriguing!

  336. Amy

    Good Food and Good People. My two favourite things!

  337. Emily

    Sounds interesting….;)

  338. Bonnie

    A great “new season” read….

  339. kelsey jones

    Pick me! 🙂

  340. Rachel

    Food and books! My favorites!!

  341. April C

    Ooh…….I’ve had this book on my wish list for a while. Would love to win a copy.

  342. Linda Cox

    Love experimenting with spices and herbs and the book must be excellent!

  343. Laura

    This sounds like an interesting book. Partly because these are interesting topics and partly because I like how the author strings together words and ideas. Already drawn in from just the book description alone.

  344. Ruthie S.

    I would love to read the book 🙂

  345. MaureenD

    Sounds like a great read!

  346. Cari

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  347. Katie

    me, me, me! I want this book! 🙂

  348. Devon Hernandez

    From reading this post and the description of the book, it is calling out to me to be read. This will be a soul-satisfying read. I must read it! And, those spice blends sound amazing. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway!

  349. Jill Foley

    I’d love to win a copy of the book! Thanks for the opportunity.

  350. Vikki

    Telling stories through food or sharing food through stories…the stuff life is made of. This book sounds great.

  351. Mona

    Sounds like a great read! Yes, please!

  352. Phyllis alexander

    Great blog post. I think there are two kinds of people: those who are hesitant to claim a seat at the table unless specifically invited and those who are confident not only that there is a seat waiting for them at every table, but that they are the guest of honor. As one of those who has lived much of life in the former group, I would love to be one who helps everyone feel as though they are in the latter. Your book sounds wonderful. Win or lose, I see a copy on my bookshelf in the very near future.

  353. marilyn

    I love what you wrote in the blog post, you have me wanting to read your book.

  354. Melissa W

    Sounds lovely!

  355. SandyRasmussen

    I would LOVE to win this! Sounds like a great read. 🙂 Thanks!

  356. Fawn Carriker

    What a delightful combination…cooking spices and words to spice up our minds. Thank you. – Fawn

  357. Jill Shaw

    This sounds like a very interesting journey and real food for the mind, heart and soul.

  358. Linda

    Oh such a lovely gift!

  359. Kristin

    This is what I imagine heaven will be like. I table full of delicious food and an intimate gathering with friends and God.

  360. Christy Spier

    YES – it is all resonating!! Would love to read and share

  361. Barb Cash

    I would LOVE to read this book!! Food IS love!!

  362. Nancy

    Sounds like a great book.

  363. Victoria

    Great title. Love to read this book!

  364. kellik

    This book is now on my must read list! Can’t wait

  365. Katy

    Soundes like a great book!

  366. Katy

    Sounds like a great book!

  367. Jess

    One of the most beautiful articles I have read in sometime…

  368. Terry Wilson

    Spices. And Stories. I’m in.

  369. Andrea

    Looks like a wonderful read! Thoroughly enjoy your posts…thank you!

  370. Katie

    A book and spices? Sounds like a perfect afternoon! Pick me! Pick me! Lol

  371. Gina Foresta

    This book and the spice mixes look amazing!

  372. Bethany Turner

    Already added this book to my Want To Read list.

  373. Sue

    Sounds like a wonderful autumn read. there’s nothing i love more than reading and cooking!

  374. Brandy R

    Tables and Wilderness… those words alone caught my attention; seeing that the book relates to relationships and especially of that with God I was even more curious. I know some of my best relationships happen around a table, and my greatest peace with God comes when I’m in the wilderness. Jesus developed wonderful relationships through table type moments, and he would go to the garden or the wilderness to seek God. Tables and Wilderness, this is a fantastic connection to make.

  375. Cynthia

    Love your writing style! Can’t wait to read the book – I added it to my wishlist after seeing it in Relevant earlier!

  376. Gina

    I love food and good books. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this giveaway! 🙂

  377. julie

    This sounds like a book I could read with my Lord at His table.

  378. Denise

    I’m putting this on my to-read list!

  379. Michelle

    I would love a new book to read! Thanks for the opportunity:)

  380. Anna-Leigh McClelland

    The thought of good food and a good book sound great! Thanks for the giveaway!

  381. Rebecca L

    This excites me! Always looking for new read and when it involves food…LOVELY!

  382. Becky

    Looks like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway!

  383. RJ

    Lovely! If the book is half as ‘tasty’ as the post, it’ll be more than worth it 🙂

  384. Amy

    I’d love to win an new book!!

  385. Lin

    Very interested:-) Thank you.

  386. MelissaJoy

    yes, memoirs are a lovely genre and I would love to read yours. Thanks for the chance.

  387. Brenden

    Thanks for the wonderful giveaway. A delight for the mind or the mouth, how can we lose?

  388. Angeline Munoz

    I’m intrigued…by the book and the spices. I’d love to come sit in your kitchen and talk, but will settle for the book 🙂

  389. Jenine A.

    Looking forward to reading your book!

  390. Missy Bergquist

    I so appreciated your post today and the picture you painted for us all. Time for the dining room table to come back into the kitchen where all great conversations take place.

  391. Tiffany

    Sounds so intriguing! I’d love to read it!

  392. Amy B.

    Oh, I would love to have the opportunity to read this–or to diversify my spice rack!

  393. Melissa Palladino

    This sounds like a beautiful read…

  394. Laura B.

    I am eager to read this book and hopefully share it with some kindred spirits. Thanks for the opportunity to win a book, or set of spices!

  395. Chassidy

    I’d love to have the chance to read it.

  396. Jessica

    This sounds like a perfect fall read. Thank you!

  397. Cat

    I’d love try out the spice blends work in my vegan kitchen!

  398. Valerie

    I’d love to dive into this book!

  399. Martha

    Definitely would be interested in reading this book!

  400. Ryan

    Looks like a great book!

  401. Marsha Gulick

    Food, friends and a good book. What could be better?

  402. Christa Johnson

    my husband is a church planter and church planting coach. The network he runs is called “the table”. This book really aligns with our passion and take on relationships. Would love to have it! Thanks

  403. Marla Taviano

    I love memoirs! And food! And God! Win win win!

  404. Brenda Klaassen

    The books sounds like one I would read over and over again! The spices would assist me in making good dinners for my family!

  405. Dottie

    i would love to read this!

  406. Nancy P

    I just read an article about you in American Lifestyle Magazine and I’m so pleased to be introduced to your website!

  407. Julie

    i’ve never tried African spice before, it sounds so good.

  408. Sarah R.

    The book looks great. We love Penzey’s spices!

  409. Sarah Westphal

    Looks yummy!

  410. Sarah Caldwell

    I just started reading your book today Preston, and my highlighter and pen in the margins won’t quit–SUCH LITERARY GOODNESS! I’ve heard amazing things about Penzey’s spices –I’m crossing my virtual fingers for this giveaway. If I win a copy of the book, I already pre-ordered one, so I will give it to someone who will enjoy it! Happy Book Release!

  411. Tamara A

    This book sounds great!!! I use Penzeys and love ’em too … my husbands grandmother got me hooked on Penzeys!

  412. Bren

    Thanks for introducing me to yet another wonderful book + company!! Looking forward to reading this …

  413. Kimberly

    My memories and stories are surrounded and mixed with flavors and scents and sounds.
    I would love this.

  414. Elizabeth smillie

    Sounds like a wonderful read! (Which is, of course, something I’m always in search of :D)

  415. Linda Kish

    I would love to read this book.

  416. Leslie

    I’d love to read this book!

  417. Sally Jo

    I can’t decide which I’d rather win, spices or a new book. Fortunately, it’s up to the random number generator instead of me. 🙂

  418. Heather

    Sounds like a fun read!

  419. Cathie Mason

    Sounds like a very interesting book that I’d love to read.

  420. Layla

    What a wonderful giveaway! Been waiting for this book to be available! Can’t wait to dive right in!!

  421. Sarah

    Congratulations Preston! So exciting to have a book published! It sounds incredible–I hope to win a copy (as well as those spices!) Penzey’s is awesome!! Celebrate and blessings to you!! 🙂

  422. Joel

    Relationships ARE the spice of life. Relationships with food, with ourselves, with the spiritual are some of the spiciest on the table. I am looking forward to joining the conversation.

  423. Donna Lohr

    Yes, please! I would love to read this book.

  424. Loretta

    Sounds like an interesting read!

  425. Hanni

    I love books about liked around the table and the effects on our relationships!

  426. Celie

    I would love to read this book.

  427. Hanelene

    If your book as even a fraction as beautiful as this blog post, I can’t wait to read it. Thank you for sharing!

  428. Mama Rachael

    I think I’ll bake bread today! I’m inspired! First off, the spice blend sounds just wonderful, we love such things and both Hubby and I will revel in the fun flavors. Second — yes, I’m hungry. for food, for relationship. The more I gain from relationships, the more I want. I want deeper, I want more flavorful. Bring it on.

  429. Caitlin

    Thanks for the opportunity to enjoy your journey and your spices. Best wishes on your book’s debut.

  430. Melinda

    I want to read this!

  431. Athena

    I would love to read this book! It’s not available at the library :/ I think my boyfriend would really like it and benefit from it a lot. Thanks for writing! God bless you!

  432. Mountain Girl

    I’d love to read it!

  433. Kristin M

    This sounds like my kind of book. I’d love to win it.

  434. Mariah Dula

    I often give spices or coffee/tea + a good book for Christmas now that our extended family has moved to mostly consumable gifts and I’m going to add Table in the Wilderness to my ideas list. I hope it includes some savory spice blend recipes. Kuddos on your book!

  435. barbara n

    I love flavorful foods and tried to incorporate different spices into my cooking! Would love to win! I also love a good book!

  436. Jami G

    Sounds like a fabulous book!

  437. Laurel

    This looks like a great read! And I always love new spice blends!

  438. Helen Washington

    I have been intrigued by this book since first hearing about it.
    Your post describing it has definitely added to the interest in reading it.

  439. SaraR

    Maybe Preston has a “pumpkin pie spice” combination he would share?! The book also sounds great 🙂

  440. Aleksandra Nazarova

    I’d like to read this book!

  441. Aleksandra Nazarova

    I’d like to read it!

  442. nicole duf

    Sounds wonderful!

  443. Amy L

    Sounds great!

  444. Carmen N

    I love Penzey’s Spices, and I’m finally coming into a season of life where I can read again! Thanks for the giveaway.

  445. Melisa


  446. Heidi F.

    If the book reads anywhere near as lovely as this blog post, I would be blessed to spend some time in its company. And I would like lessons in hand blending spices with mortar and pestle. That sounds like a meditation all on its own.

  447. Angela

    This book looks right up my alley. Thanks for the chance to win!

  448. Martha

    I love new flavors to try and curling up with a new book.

  449. Margaret

    I wouldn’t use the spices but am certainly interested in the book.

    My road toward minimalism started early this year; I’m always looking for new insights. Would love to read the book then pass it along to others in the Minimalists group I’m in.

  450. Karen

    Half way through this post I could already feel the book in my hands and the words touching me deep inside. Regardless of if I win this book, I will be reading it. (although it would be such a blessing, and of course I really want to win it.)

    I don’t feel that way about books much, aside from cookbooks. I’ve spent my life living among the broccoli, chorizo and wild rice. It’s a new season for me though and I’m turning from the kitchen to the page. It’s hard to write well if you don’t read, so I’ve begun reading. I’m drawn to the spiritual most, both in the blogs I follow and the books I choose because I think God is calling me forward drawing me near. Food will always be part of it all, because of the nature of our need to eat and commune so it’s a special treat to read a spiritual piece that includes food.

    I will be making the rosemary risotto soon. How I’ve not been there before I’m not sure, as I make risotto at least twice a month. Thanks!

  451. Cornelia Boot

    I wouldn’t mind not to win, I only hope this book will be available in Holland in due time!

  452. Emily

    This book looks intriguing and combines my favorite book genres!

  453. Steph

    Wow! Firstly, I just love food. Secondly, I am really interested in spiritual memoirs. My husband and I are planning on hiking the pilgrimage El Camino Del Santiago in Spain next spring, and I’m preparing for that trip by reflecting on my relationship with God, and trying to read all I can about other people’s experiences. This sounds like a great book!

  454. Kim

    I’d love to be a food writer, invited to try this finest dish, or spending my afternoon whipping up an amazing dinner in my kitchen.
    I’m not there yet either. Not at all. But who knows what the future holds.

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