Two Books Worth Their Salt.

Book shopping has always, for as long as I can remember, been the only type of shopping I truly enjoy. I’m very picky when choosing books and have become ever more so. I get quite annoyed with myself when I am suckered by publicity into buying a mediocre book.

When I’m reviewing books, I try to write what it is I like about a book. But, there are some books, the books that rise above the average, that I want to hold up above my head and wave towards you saying, LOOK, this is a book worth your time and money.

A mixed perk/pressure of my book reviewing work is that I can sometimes choose books from a publisher’s advance catalogue but, to do that, I must rely on gut instinct as there are rarely any reliable reviews to help. I am obliged to, lierally, judge a book by its cover. I’m on tenterhooks then, when book post arrives, for fear I will be let down.

In the last month, I have been unexpectedly delighted by two books. Both are far more practical and useful than I could have hoped. More surprisingly, both have made me think deeply about how I am raising this little family of mine.

The first is Feeding a Family by Sarah Waldman. I came across this by happenstance as it had the same publisher (Roost) as Eat This Poem. Obviously, as feeding a family is my primary concern, I was attracted by the title. In just a few short weeks, this book has become the mainstay of our dinner time. It is the best blend of healthy/tasty/practical that I’ve come across in this style of book. Perhaps the best endorsement is that my kids won’t let me give it away. Only one caveat: measurements are mostly in American cups and spoons and sticks of butter, all that malarkey. I have an imperial measure that has both English and American cup markings on it which is dead handy.

Cookbooks are always expensive but, if you are trying to feed a family, particularly a young family, this is a good investment. Read my full review here.

Feeding a Family. Sarah Waldman.

The second is The Art of the Natural Home by Rebecca Sullivan.Rebecca Sullivan. The Art of the Natural Home.

This is a book of recipes to make natural (meaning safe, environmentally harmless and, for the most part, even edible) products that most people would never even consider trying to make. Oven cleaner, kitchen spray, food colouring, moisturiser, shampoo, even mascara!

My girls and I got a real kick out of the cosmetics section and I was thrilled by their reaction to it.

Best of all, the products work. This book, genuinely, has the power to change how you think about buying stuff.

Don’t believe me? Oh ye of little faith…read my full review here.

I’m off now to dolly myself up (cocoa blusher and all) for Teenage Son’s End Of Year school mass. My boy has finished school. Weird.

I’ve enrolled in a food writing workshop at Litfest17 in Ballymaloe tomorrow. I’m very worried that ‘workshop’ implies actual work. They won’t make me stand up and read something, will they? Waaah!

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7 thoughts on “Two Books Worth Their Salt.

  1. In many ways, these two books are interrelated (and also tie in wonderfully with your previous post about beauty and keeping things natural in the garden). I’m a former pharmacist (who worked as a lab tech during pharmacy school) and I developed an interest in nutrition shortly after our first child was born. After 20 years of reading on the subject, I’m happy that the conversation has (essentially) come full circle: “whole foods, mostly plants, not too much” seems to be the mostly-agreed-upon scientific consensus for disease prevention and good health (and maybe even radiant skin 😉 ), which is likely the very thing our grandmothers and great-grandmothers would have told us. (I love the term “granny skills” (indeed, it seems as though much of the past 20 years of my life has been spent occupied in those granny-like endeavours.))

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  2. Oh I’m envying you the workshop, how brilliant. I shall look forward to hearing how you get on with it. The family cookbook looks particularly good, I like recipes for things that are actually likely to get eaten! CJ xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It has been a real hit. I’m particularly pleased that the kids have taken to using it. I came home on saturday to a delicious slice of apple cake made by the 12 year old!

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  3. I posted your bookwitty review of the Natural Home to the ZeroWaste FB group I am in – you might be interested in the group, so I have added you (sorry for the liberty!).

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    1. Hi Rachel. Thanks a million! I didn’t quite manage to express how much Rebecca Sullivan has impressed me as a good, earnest person. The prettiness of the book is almost a disadvantage, I think, when she herself is so earthy and grounded. Pretty too, I should probably say that. Anyway, the girls and I had a right old giggle stirring up potions.
      I had a browse through the FB group and realised how much I have to learn. I appreciate the invitation to join in. Hope ye are all well. x

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  4. I’m not a very good zero-waster, but there’s loads of interesting ideas and it will make you see your decisions in a new way. Granny-skills for the win!

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