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A Well-Kept Home : Household Traditions and Simple Secrets from a French Grandmother Hardcover – April 21, 2001

4.0 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Laura Fronty is a journalist, stylist, and contributor to a number of interior and lifestyle magazines. She is also the author of more than a dozen books. Yves Duronsoy is a photographer who works regularly for international fashion and lifestyle magazines.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Universe (April 21, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789305283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789305282
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.7 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,401,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
About 50% of this book offers advice that is either useless or dangerous. A few potted geraniums on your windowsill will NOT keep away mosquitoes. You do not make "Homemade soap" by squashing together the remains of previously-used soap. Ditto for "Homemade cheese". Anyone who tries to "save" rancid butter by massaging in a few tablespoons of baking soda and water is just asking for a bellyache. Do you have any "Spanish White" around your house? Neither do I. If I'm going to make a special trip to "any local hardware store" to pick up a tube of Spanish White and a vial of "methelated spirits" so I can blend them into silver-polishing paste, why wouldn't I just snap up a cheap tube of silver polish and save myself the added expense and mixing effort? The worst advice in the entire book is this: "Give your apricot, plum or cherry jam an almond taste by cooking a few crushed fruit stones, enclosed in a small muslin bag, at the same time as the fruits." That almond taste you've just added is CYANIDE, a deadly poison found concentrated in fruit pits and usually used to execute gas-chamber prisoners in a really horrible way. Do you really want to add that to your jam? Wouldn't you rather use an inexpensive and non-poisonous almond extract, almond milk or even marzipan paste instead? And for those of you who argue that a little can't hurt - how much arsenic or lead do you usually like to add to your food? Cyanide is MUCH worse. How much is too much? The authors certainly don't say. They don't even mention that it's poison.
If anything, the photographs in the book are exquisite, and if you study them for decorating ideas, gardening ideas and color combinations, the book is certainly worth a dent in your credit or library card. The prose, however, needs more than a little tightening up and perhaps some fact-checking.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is nothing but a hardcover magazine. Gorgeous pictures, useless content. These are not the memories of a French grandmother so much as a big... ad for you to buy a whole lot of products, try out some weekend project that never ends, give up and go out and buy more useless products. There are much better books on this topic for people who are serious about the running of their home but are mostly, unfortunately out of print.
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Format: Hardcover
I only gave this book three stars because it is the same book as "Secrets of Good Housekeeping" also by Laura Fronty -- same content, lovely photo's, etc., only difference is the title.
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Format: Hardcover
I've read all the bad reviews written before mine, and I really don't understand why they are so aggressive ?
Actually, I have this book in French, because I bought it in France a while ago, because I am French, and I've been using it since then. I recently tried the cleaning of copper and it is amazing how it works, better than any product I ever bought before for copper cleaning !
I am wondering if readers who are so aggressive towards this book aren't so because they really don't like French people ? I may understand that, but this book is not to blame. And I precise I don't know the author, I am not linked to the original publisher, so I have absolutely no reason to write a good revue on it, except really loving it.
The recipes given in this book, are really old recipes used by our grandmothers in France, not only the author's grandmothers, but many old people in France, like my own grandmother. We just don't listen when we are a child, and then, we regret. With this book, we have everything gathered in it, with gorgeous photos.
Of course, it is more "natural recipes", so if you search for something chemical, harsh, efficient over the top, it is not for you.
These recipes respect nature, avoid pollution, are smooth, soft recipes, but still softly efficient.
Another book which is good for that, an English one this time is : "A Guide to Green Housekeeping" by Christina Strutt of Cabbages and Roses. Very ecological, natural, soft, amazing too.
These two books are my two guides in home.
If you are patient and curious, I am sure you will appreciate them as well.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A wonderful book! Just good. old-fashioned sense and solutions for living without modern chemical products. Simple "recipes" for cleaning, preserving, scenting your home. Very inspiring, too. There is joy in having a well-kept home and it's inviting to others, too. Complete without being overwhelming. Uncomplicated. The "old ways" are easy to fit into an over-burdened, stressed-out lifestyle and easily replace methods and rituals already used.
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By A Customer on October 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Disappointing content. Pictures are nice but not worth more than a quick browse.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I couldn't put this book on the shelf when I finished it. There is so much good information I want to be sure I remember. I want to read it again, slowly.

Reading it is a sensuous experience - and not just because of the gorgeous photography on every page. The words are tactile, inspiring one to create sophistication and luxury in the experience of ordinary things. The book has nothing to do with spirituality - and yet, it seems to me that is precisely what is here - an exercise in the mindfulness possible in daily living.

This book is made of heavy, glossy paper - it is definitely a 'coffee table book'. But it is so much more than that. It has been a long time since I've had so much pleasure from reading a book.
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