Synopses & Reviews
is something new. For the first time in nearly a century, a sole author has written a comprehensive book about housekeeping. This is not a dry how-to manual, nor a collection of odd tips and hints, a cleaning book, a history book, or an arid encyclopedia compiled by a committee or an institute. Home Comforts
is a readable explanation for both beginners and experts of all the domestic arts -- choosing fabrics, keeping the piano in tune, caring for books, making a good fire in the fireplace and avoiding chimney fires, ironing and folding, setting up a good reading light, keeping surfaces free of food pathogens, and everything else that modern people might want to do for themselves in their homes. But this reliable and thorough book on the practicalities of housekeeping is also an argument for the importance of private life and the comforts offered by housekeeping.
Cheryl Mendelson is a philosopher, lawyer, sometime professor, and a homemaker, wife, and mother. Home Comforts is based on her domestic education, which she acquired while growing up on a farm in the hills of Greene County, in southwestern Pennsylvania, from her grandmothers, aunts, and mother. Learning from the distinct domestic styles of her native Appalachian relatives and her Italian immigrant relatives, she appreciated early on how important domestic customs are to a sense of comfort and identity in life. She writes out of love and respect for her subject, and hopes to inspire others to develop the affection and respect for home life and housework she was fortunate to have learned.
Mendelson addresses the meanings as well as the methods of housekeeping with a keen sense of the history and values involved. The result is a warm, good-humored, engagingly written book with a message and a point of view, one that is overflowing with useful reflections and information. The clarity, breadth, and depth of the information collected here are unparalleled. You can read Home Comforts for thoughtful entertainment or use its ample index to help you find the answers to practical domestic questions. There is nothing quite like it.
Among this book's unique features:
· A skeptical discussion of the excessive use of disinfectants in the home. · How to iron a dress shirt and how to fold sheets. · How to make up a bed with hospital corners. · How to do all basic sewing stitches. · How to choose proper sizes for sheets, tablecloths, and other household linens. · How to set the table for informal and formal meals. · Expert recommendations for safe food storage. · The most exhaustive and reliable information on fabrics, textile fibers, and their laundering, drying, and other care that exists for nonprofessionals. · A thorough explanation of care labels and why and how you should often (carefully) disregard them. · Housekeeping guidelines for people with pets or with allergies. · What to do about dust mites. · How to clean and care for wood, china and crystal, jewelry, ceramic tile, metals, and more. · Guides to stain and spot removal. · Extensive recommendations for improving home safety. · A summary of laws applicable to the home, including privacy, accident liability, contracts, and domestic employees.·
· 200 Elegant, Clear Drawings ·
"The bible of good housekeeping."
"An extraordinary achievement that has no peer in this century and may well have none in the next." -- Newsweek
is to the house what Joy of Cooking
is to food."
-- USA Today
"Mesmerizing -- and, in its own way, revolutionary." -- Chicago Sun-Times
"There's only one book to own if you want to be serious about your housekeeping: Cheryl Mendelson's magesterial HOME COMFORTS."
Mendelson addresses the meanings as well as the methods of housekeeping with a keen sense of the history and values involved. The result is a warm, good-humored, engagingly written book with a message and a point of view, one that is overflowing with useful reflections and information.
The classic bestselling resource for every American home. Choosing fabrics, cleaning china, keeping the piano in tune, making a good fire, folding a fitted sheet, setting the dining room table, keeping surfaces free of food pathogens, watering plants, removing stains -- Home Comforts
addresses the meanings as well as the methods of hands -- on housekeeping to help you manage everyday chores, find creative solutions to modern domestic dilemmas, and enhance the experience of life at home.
Further topics include: Making up a bed with hospital corners, Expert recommendations for safe food storage, Reading care labels (and sometimes carefully disregarding them), Keeping your home free of dust mites and other allergens, Home safety and security, A summary of laws applicable to the home, including privacy, accident liability, contracts, and domestic employees and more in this practical, good-humored, historic, philosophical, even romantic, guidebook to the art of household management.
About the Author
Cheryl Mendelson is a Harvard Law School graduate, a sometime philosophy professor, a novelist (Morningside Heights and Love, Work, Children), and a homemaker by choice. Born into a rural family in Greene County, Pennsylvania, she now lives in New York City with her husband and son.
Table of Contents
1 My Secret Life
2 Easing into a Routine
4 The Whys and Wherefores of Home Cooking
5 Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
6 Serving Meals
7 Stimulating Beverages
8 The Center of a Dwelling
9 Kitchen Culture
10 To Market, to Market
11 Cold Comfort
12 Bread and Honey
13 Safe Food
14 The Fabric of Your Home
16 The Natural Fibers
17 The Man-Made Fibers and Blends
18 Fabrics That Work
19 Carefully Disregarding Care Labels
20 Gathering, Storing, and Sorting Laundry
22 Drying the Laundry
24 Folding Clothes and Linens
25 How to Launder Tricky Items
26 Common Laundry Mishaps and Problems
27 Sanitizing the Laundry
28 Removing Stains from Fabrics
29 The Air in Your Castle
30 Peaceful Coexistence with Microbes
31 The Chemistry of Household Cleaning
32 Aprons, Rags, and Mops
33 Dust and Dust Mites
34 Vacuuming, Sweeping, and Dusting
35 Textile Furnishings
36 Floors and Furniture of Wood and Woodlike Materials
37 Resilient Floors
38 Ceramic Tile
40 Man-Made Solid Surfaces and Other Plastics
42 Pipes and Drains
43 Walls, Ceilings, Woodwork, and Windows
44 China and Crystal
46 Caring for Jewelry
47 Kindly Light
49 Some Quiet Occupations
51 Caring for Books
53 Images and Recordings
54 Home Offices and Computers
56 The Cave of Nakedness
57 Beds and Bedding
58 Closets for Clothes and Linens
59 Being Prepared
61 Electrical Safety
62 Slips and Falls
63 Further Miscellaneous Safety Rules
64 Poisons, Hazardous Substances, and Proper Disposal of Hazardous Household Wastes
65 Additional Safety Measures for Children
66 Understanding Your Castle
67 Too Late to Say You?re Sorry
68 Promises, Promises
69 Domestic Employment Laws
70 Working with Household Help
72 Fond Records