Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House

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9780684814650: Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House

Ranging from suggestions on the care of musical instruments to tips on maintaining home safety, a celebration of and guide to the finer points of keeping house offers a contemporary, creative, and positive take on a traditional subject. 75,000 first printing. BOMC, The Good Cook, Country Homes & Gardens, & QPB Alt. Tour.

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Review:

Virtually everyone enjoys a crisply ironed dress shirt, clean sheets on a well-made bed, and a savory home-cooked meal. Yet housekeeping today stands as a somewhat neglected, if not maligned, job. But as author Cheryl Mendelson points out in Home Comforts, keeping house well can be a rewarding position--it allows you to provide for the physical and emotional comfort of loved ones. It's also not an easy job--there's much to be learned about properly managing a home, and Mendelson has set out to provide a guide to doing just that.

Mendelson, a homemaker, lawyer, and mother, learned about housekeeping from an early age from her grandmothers, one Appalachian, the other Italian. The two grandmothers taught her that although different ways of keeping house can be appropriate, there are generally smarter, faster, and more creative ways of housekeeping that make it less of a chore and more of an art. In a practical, authoritative tone, Mendelson discusses the ins and outs of homemaking, such as washing dishes, recommended cleaning methods for various surfaces, housekeeping for those with pets or allergies, and emergency preparedness and safety procedures.

Mendelson's well-researched book includes meticulous sections on food (for example, which foods belong in the fridge versus the pantry, food storage times, picking the freshest fruits and vegetables, and keeping your kitchen and food sanitary) as well as laundry (caring for various fabrics, how to read--and read between the lines of--clothing care labels, and removing stains). Mendelson covers a lot of ground, and as she herself points out, readers shouldn't feel required to do everything mentioned in the book--simply pick the activities that seem appropriate for your particular home. This is a comprehensive reference book that should serve homemakers well and induce a greater appreciation for the effort and specialized knowledge that go into keeping house. --Kris Law

About the Author:

Cheryl Mendelson received her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Rochester and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. She has practiced law in New York City and has taught philosophy at Purdue and Columbia Universities. She lives in New York City with her husband and son.

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