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Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House Paperback – May 17, 2005
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More 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 teaches philosophy at Barnard College. Her books include the bestselling Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House, a trilogy of novels about Morningside Heights, and, most recently, The Good Life: The Moral Individual in an Antimoral World (Bloomsbury 2012). Her next book, on the subject of marriage, is to be published by Bloomsbury in 2013. She lives in New York City with her husband and son.
Top Customer Reviews
Home Comforts is not "the fascists guide to spotless houses at the expense of friends, family, career, and joy". Indeed, the author repeatedly stresses that her methods and schedules are suggestions, nothing more, and goes to great lengths to explain why each task should be done in the first place, and how to balance the effort against the benefits. I found nothing in it to suggest that I, living alone in my brand-new house, should be forced into hours of weekly drudgery in order to meet an irrational white-glove standard; what I found was a set of clear explanations that would allow me to make informed choices on how to set my own standards and keep up with them in a reasonable and realistic way.
Attempting to read it from cover to cover in one sitting is indeed overwhelming, and I can see why it left some people feeling inadequate or with the false impression that the author was looking down her nose at the readers. I didn't know most of those things either, and much of what I thought I knew was wrong.
Some aspects that others find off-putting added to the charm for me. Who but a lawyer would, when faced with the complications of laundry care labels, reach immediately for the federal regulations governing them?Read more ›
Yes, the author is often obssessive--and she freely admits to that charge. (Has Martha Stewart ever done so?) In fact, she details which chores she believes are essential and which tasks are obssessive. But her advice seems to be generally sound and thoroughly researched, especially when it comes to explaining the scientific & medical reasons of why certain tasks should be done in certain ways. (The chapter on dust mites is, frankly, slightly terrifying.)
This isn't a book about decorating or crafts for the home or time management (though there is some advice about organizing). There are dozens of other sources for those subjects--take this for what it is. It's fantastic, and it's changed the way my husband and I keep our house. I wish more books--fiction and non-fiction--could be so well-written.
In the past, the only cleaning I did during the week was wash the dishes, clean the counters and take out the garbage. That left weekends as the only time to launder, dust, vacuum, and on and on.
Needless to say, weekends were not a lot of fun and the feeling of peace that you feel when you're in a clean home only existed for one or two days.
Thank you, Ms Mendelson, for helping me find a way to have a comfortable home 7 days a week and time to enjoy my week-ends!
The book is more like a detailed, well-organized textbook than a "helpful hints" manual. For example, the "Cloth" section begins with descriptions of modern fabrics, and thoroughly discusses everything relevant to choosing, laundering, ironing, folding, removing stains, sanitizing (for contagious diseases, lice, or poison ivy), and troubleshooting fabric difficulties. And she manages to make it interesting!
My mother, whose home was perfectly maintained, used many of Mendelson's techniques and scheduling ideas, but never passed them on to me (she preferred to do it herself so that it would be done "right") so I grew up feeling that housework was something I couldn't successfully do.Since there are few things more depressing than feeling incompetant, I've tried to learn homemaking through trial and error. This book would have eliminated much of the error, and provided a much shorter and more pleasant learning curve.
I recommend this book to anyone who has a home or wants to be prepared to maintain one. It's well worth the price.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love this book! Very thorough, not pretentious, and wonderful information.Published 12 days ago by Malia Broaddrick
This is not a book ; it is an encyclopedia. No wonder this took years and years to write. With the author being a philosopher and a lawyer, this book takes on a very unique and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by isyme
Great book! Note that all the information from the Laundry book by the same author is found in this book.Published 2 months ago by Amit M. Shanker
This book is a wonder! It doesn't matter if your home is a mansion or a tent, the author helps you make the best of it. Cheryl Mendelson gets to the heart of the home, comfort. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lorriedel
Especially great for young people, anyone really. This covers so much in managing a home.Published 3 months ago by Angela Book
I thought it would have more tips about how to actually do things from an authoritative perspective, instead in comes off as overly preachy regarding what your attitude should be. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I love this book because It has so much information in it! I've been referencing it pretty regularly, and it's full of helpful hints and recommendations. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Earth Creature