A book to empower your time in the kitchen
The Homemade Kitchen, recipes for cooking with pleasure by Alana Chernila (Clarkson Potter Publishers: New York,) 2015.
This book is pleasure. It is filled with beautiful photography and more beautiful stories of the imperfections that make food made at home taste better. I really like this cookbook. This is a homesteaders’ dream cookbook. Cheese making, fermentation, kefir, Kimchi, even tofu recipes are here. There are no prepared mixes, just from scratch goodness. This is the perfect cookbook to coach you through this winter’s meals and snacks. It’s a good companion for your CSA box or your Farmer’s Market excursions.
The Homemade Kitchen, recipes for cooking with pleasure is the second book for blogger Alana Chernila, who blogs at EatingFromTheGroundUp.com. Her debut book, The Homemade Pantry inspired its readers to save money, and make staples that taste better by cooking them from scratch at home. This second book dives into food preparation by looking beyond ingredients and focusing on homemade food and the pleasure of life from kitchen to community.
Even cheesy goldfish crackers and animals crackers
Homemade goldfish cheese crackers and even animal crackers recipes made from scratch are here. There’s 3 types of bread and a bagel recipe. There’s poultry, lamb, and beef recipes. There’s fish. But the best part of the book isn’t the recipes. It’s the essays about life, food, and happiness that are the vitality of this book. The reader is tutored in the idea that making dinner from scratch empowers one to take control of one’s destiny in every aspect.
“When I create what I want to eat, the simple task becomes the seed that empowers me to live the life I want, and to create that, too. And when I cook and eat in a way that reflects how I want to live, it means I have the opportunity three (or more!) times a day to make decisions that help me live that life. That’s why I cook.” (p. 11)
Rules for a homemade kitchen
Each chapter begins with a phrase, a sort of rule for living a handmade life that begins in the kitchen and filters out to the rest of our lives. As if the kitchen is the practice field for a total life win. Phrases like: “Start where you are.” “Be a beginner.” “Put your hands in the earth.” “Do the work.” Remind us that we really can have the life we want. They are an invitation to live well, enjoy each day, meal by meal, and do what you can to support the well being of your family, your community, and the world beyond.
Don’t be afraid of food
My favorite chapter was “don’t be afraid of food”. In it Alana begins with, “I have spent a fair amount of time living and eating alongside the fantasy of a perfect body.” She goes on to speak about how we cheat ourselves out of the present enjoyment by focusing on what we should or should not eat for our health or for our weight. She speaks to the need to relish the food we enjoy, without guilt. The chapter is about dessert. Pound Cake, Summer Trifle, homemade Ice-cream, Plum Tart (the one on the cover), gingerbread, mousse, and lemon curd – the ending of the meal becomes the ending of the book.
The Homemade Kitchen, recipes for cooking with pleasure is a feast that feeds your imagination and your soul as it coaches you in the way to best feed your body. If you like to eat you’ll want to own this book. If you are just beginning to explore cooking from scratch, this book will delight you without overwhelming you. If you are a master in the kitchen already, this book offers you a philosophy to make your time in the kitchen pregnant with transcendent meaning and purpose. If you are a perfectionist in the kitchen, though, you may want to skip this one. This book demands messy, loud, hands on work. But if you like to put your hands in the dirt, and do things your own way, you’ll love this book.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book from Blogging for Books. Nevertheless, this represents my honest opinion of the work.