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Festivals Family and Food Paperback – 1982
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Top Customer Reviews
This book seemed like a good fit. I like All Year Round from what I have seen of a friend's copy, but shy away from outright purchase of it because of the Christian tone (we're Unitarian-types). So I got this instead thinking it would fit a similar scope minues the religious agenda. It seemed like it did. It seems like it should. But it just didn't nail it for me.
I'll start with the foods. They are fatty and non-progressive, laden with suggestions for food coloring, mayo, sour cream, tons of butter etc. Alright I confess we're a vegan (and high-raw) family, but it's not like I was expecting vegan or raw recipes. I was hoping for more earthy, harvest-type foods. Fresh pressed fall cider, summer berries harvested in the woods, wild edible herbs and salads from your backyard, local farmer's market stuff, even canning/pickling tips, farm/garden fare and fun holiday goodies like popcorn balls, nutmeg pumpkin soups, cornbread and homemade rosemary or apple breads, cranberry sauce etc. There is some of that stuff here and there but very little of it and none it it natural and whole foods based. I always keep thinking "This food is gross." Sorry if that sounds harsh; I don't mean it to. I realize that this was printed in like the early 80's and there was a different food vibe going back then but there was also a great back-to-the-land movement then and I guess I thought these authors were part of that scene. Ok so you get my point on the food thing.
The festivals bit gave me some loose ideas but did not have hardly any educational content in the form of history, folklore, legends, stories...things I could really get into. I'd love to tell some of those stories to my girls but will have to keep searching (yes, suggestions welcome!) It just had stuff like how to build a Maypole and some songs to sing around it but not the content and understanding of why the Maypole is cool or important. It's kinda like you have to already have that knowledge and if you do this book wouldn't add much insight for you anyway.
The crafts used some raw nature materials but also needed glue, string, scissors, foil, etc. I was hoping for more hardcore just-what-you-can-find-on-the-ground gnome and fairie villages and stuff. And also to include legends and stories about those fairies/woodland creatures would have added more fun and purpose behind making some of the projects.
The book has a nice harvest-type book cover and warm homemade-quality notes and sketches that keep me reaching for the book again, but then I always walk away let down. No cool stories to tell, no recipes I would use, very few crafts simple or appealing enough to actually make. I'm a music teacher and the songs are a nice touch but the lyrics are more obscure-nursery-rhyme-from-another-time in nature (which I guess is fine; I am a believer in music preservation too) but I was longing for harvest/bonfire/seasonal and sort of melancholy-yet-childlike timeless tunes.
I think all of the above things I was seeking comprises the book I would have loved to be written. Maybe there's one out there like that and I'm hoping to find it.
If there are some inaccuracies in my report it's cause I don't have the book with me; just recalling what I remember from it the 15 or so times I've tried to give it an earnest chance. I don't outright dislike the book and it's clear the authors put a lot of love and caring into their work; I just haven't found it very useful for what I was looking for.
A rich resource which has not wasted money (printing cost) on glossy pictures, just has all of the information you need to make your home festive and real in a way children enjoy. Very good for a stay at home Mum.
This is a useful book, but given its length it could have been better. Perhaps it's that the recipes aren't as accessible for Americans; I can't quite put my finger on what left me underwhelmed. Common holidays in America are of course not covered. Still, it's a very useful resource. If you're just beginning with the celebration of seasonal holidays, I'd recommend Mrs. Sharp's Victorian Traditions by Breathnach instead to start off with, then add this one later when you're ready for more.
It provides plenty of resources, but the always changing format with each content makes it also hard to go back to a certain section, as you may not find it easily. The recipes are confusing, ingredients are not listed in the order added, measurements are not clear and not well adapted for the US market. Altogether, I appreciate the book and will keep using it at occasions. I am certain the authors wanted to keep the style of the book simple and not flashy, but if the goal is to reach more people and invite them to celebrate our seasons with nature and family in mind, then I would have structured it a bit better - and really keeping it simple that way all around.