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Christmas With Southern Living: Savor * Entertain * Decorate * Share Kindle Edition
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|Length: 192 pages||
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Top Customer Reviews
To be more specific, the book just seemed to be way, way, WAY too fussy this year. The first part of the book was pretty, but filled with recipes that were very...gourmet, I guess. I'm an experienced cook and it still came across that way to me.
The middle of the book was not visually appealing to me at all. I usually enjoy the decor portion of the book, but this book looks like a Christmas bomb went off in it. It was so visually cluttered! I like elegant and romantic, but this was just too, too much, and not at all realistic for the average person. And a lot of it looked....old and oddly tinted, like viewing things through an instagram filter. I'm still confused.
The rest of the book *looked* much better, but didn't have much that was very appealing to me. I miss the more practical ideas that SL has provided in their Christmas books in past years. I missed the gift ideas and project ideas that have been shown before. I missed the instructions that have been present in the books from prior years. I also missed seeing the real (and realistic) homes that have been shown before. This book was filled with beautiful and luxurious homes, but they were mansions, for crying out loud. In the end, it was just something that I couldn't relate to for the *most* part, and despite being a serious crafter, not the kinds of things that I could or would do for my own home.
Anyway, I hate to give a negative review, but it's all honest and things I would have liked to know before buying the book.
Many (not all) of the recipes are a little too gourmet, and there aren't many that I desire to try. The decorations are a mixed bag; a few of them are beautiful, but many are over-the-top cluttered or downright uninspiring. Page 53 has the word "NOEL" spelled out with greenery and apples. I like the way it looks, but with no "how-to" instructions, it'll never be more than a photo. The "Merry Mantles," "Cheery Christmas Trees," and "Timeless Table Settings" Sections were all disappointing with nothing to write home about. The "Timeless Table Settings" section in particular, is nothing more than a huge missed opportunity. The ideas are very common ones that require little-to-no creativity, resourcefulness or even good taste: The same tired, gold-rimmed dishware with either a napkin or an ordinary place card holder, blah, blah, blah. And apparently, the more clutter, the better. The photo on page 81 contains so much clutter, I still have no idea what I'm looking at. The featured kitchen and decorative ideas in the "Old to New Again" section are hideous (fluffy marshmallow place settings? Seriously?).
I was delighted to see a section entitled "A Child's Christmas," and hope that CWSL continues this in future books. Unfortunately though, this section left a lot to be desired, and I hope it'll be improved upon in the future. Finally, I was a little disappointed that there was no section on gift wrapping this time.
There are a couple of reasons why, despite my criticism of this book, I gave it 3 stars. First of all, I already gave CWSL 1991 a 1-star rating; it was truly horrible, the worst of all. Compared to that, this one is definitely better. Also, there are a few recipes that look delicious, that I will probably try. Overall, the book is bright and cheerful with excellent quality photos, and I'm sure that it will appeal to others, especially those new to CWSL. However, sorry to say, it just doesn't come up to the level of excellence of the books edited by Rebecca Brennan.
The menu section has 5 meals with beautiful pictures and a game plan - a timetable of when to do things. We have already made and really enjoyed the Old Bay Bloody Mary, the cold roasted tenderloin of beef with creamy horseradish and the shrimp pilau. Most of the dishes are not very hard to make, especially if you are an experienced cook.
The decorating section shows some wonderful ideas, but there are no directions on how to do these projects. One thing really bothers me... they show with most of their garlands that drape over fireplaces - them hanging low, sometimes a foot below the firebox. Even with glass doors, heat will dry out these decorations and make them very flammable.
The next recipe section has some very good ideas for, especially breakfast dishes. We have made and enjoyed the bacon-caramelized onion-spinach bake. Dishes are labeled make ahead or easy.
The section with gifts to make does have directions and there are some nice ideas. There are instructions for canning 101, several holiday planners, including a pantry check off list and ideas for holiday gifts and holiday hot line numbers. There is a general index and a recipe index.
This is a nice book for Christmas ideas - the usual great Christmas inspirations and suggestions that Southern Living always has...just watch those garlands over the fireplaces.
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