Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Back To Basics: Traditional Kitchen Wisdom - Readers Digest, edited by Andrea Chesman

Summary:  Live on less and still have plenty!  There's something to be said for simpler times, when our way of life seemed more wholesome...when our food was grown with fewer pesticides and growth hormones...when we tended kitchen gardens, kept a flock of chickens, and "put up" beans, pears, and pickles.  So it's easy to see why people across the nation are returning to their roots--and root cellars--and embracing a return to the basics.

With Traditional Kitchen Wisdom you, too, can enjoy the rewards of being more self-reliant by...
  • Growing your own fruits and vegetables in a space as small as a windowsill
  • Turning fresh fruit into jams and jellies
  • Learning safe canning and freezing methods
  • Drying foods and creating your own herbs and spices
  • Making homemade wine, beer, and naturally flavored vodka
  • Raising chickens and honeybees, making your own cheese, and more
Start your own family traditions with Traditional Kitchen Wisdom, and rediscover the pleasure of returning to a greener, healthier, and more self-sufficient lifestyle.   (Image from and summary from back of the book.)

My Review:  Honestly, I've never been much of a Suzy-Homemaker type.  My mother knew how to can, sew, garden, pickle, and everything in between.  I spent a little time learning the very basics of a couple of these skills--definitely not enough to talk about though.  In the past couple years I've gotten into gardening and consequently canning and maybe someday I'll get into sewing.  This book peaked my interest because it gives the basics on many kitchen tasks I've never fully explored...and allows me to refresh my skills without pestering my mother!

Reader friendly is the best way to describe the format.  It has an easy to follow table of contents, clear headings broken down into steps, has color illustrations depicting what it's describing, tables and charts when the information is best conveyed that way, equipment lists, and recipes.  I can't say I've tried everything in the book because I don't have all the right tools/equipment for each skill. But, I'm excited to try some though.

There's one section of the book that is obsolete for me, but may intrigue other readers: wine and beer brewing.  While I'm sure it's a great skill for some, I have no use for it.

The last section of the book shows ways to have a sustainable home.  I'm not sure I'll ever get to this point in my life, as raising chickens is not my ambition.  Still, I like having the information if I ever do need it.

For a novice like me, this book was informative and inspired me to want to try some of these food preserving techniques.  If you're a domestic diva knowing all the arts of the kitchen, this book is probably too simplistic.

Rating:  4.5 Stars

Sum it up: A book with basics of home preserving techniques for a beginner in the process.

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