I’m so thankful for The Homemade Kitchen because it saves me so much time.
Not time in the kitchen mind you, it’s not full of minute-shaving tips. The Homemade Kitchen is saving me oodles of time in that now I don’t have to write a cookbook! WooHoo! Alana Chernila has said everything I’d ever want to say, and about half the recipes are things I make on a regular basis and would put in my own cookbook. Except that now I don’t have to. What a relief! It’s all so beautifully done and with absolutely zero stress or effort on my part. 😉
The subtitle, “Recipes for Cooking with Pleasure,” is a five word manifesto for how Lacy and I aim to feel and eat. As with Chernila’s first book, The Homemade Kitchen is written in such a realistic and approachable way. The food photography is gorgeous, and the recipes are solid.
“How do I eat? Organicish. Locenough. Homemade when I can. Fresh. Good. Mine.” – Alana Chernila, The Homemade Kitchen
More than a cookbook, The Homemade Kitchen opens with an invitation to “speak honestly about why we cook, and who we are.”
Alana, you had me at “honestly.”
She acknowledges that “all this [modern] focus on the redemptive power of home cooking can feel oppressive and judgmental,” and that in the same week we can both love and loathe the act of feeding our families: “Talk to me on a Saturday morning when I’m working at the farmer’s market, and I’ll convince you that a locally grown kohlrabi can change your life. Walk into my kitchen when the whole family is grumpy with hunger and I can’t figure out what’s for dinner, and I’ll pour you a glass of wine and admit that I, too, just hate making dinner. One perspective doesn’t negate the other.”
As for the homemade aspect of this book, that’s some powerful stuff as many of us know: “Small as the act might be, having the power to feed myself and my family makes me feel optimistic about my own resources to create what I want in life…I can choose, day by day, to pay attention to the small moments, to love the work of life, and ultimately, to love the days I get to live it…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.”
“You can create the life you want out of the small, ordinary moments of every day.” – Alana Chernila, The Homemade Kitchen
Out of this cookbook, I’ve made the Ginger Pumpkin Pie which uses maple syrup instead of a more refined sugar; the Tagliatelle with Fresh Tomatoes and Balsamic Vinegar was perfectly simple and delicious; the Swiss Chard Tacos with Fresh Cheese and a Fried Egg were a major revelation; and the Stuffed Winter Squash inspired my own mash up version which is now my best/favorite autumn recipe EVER!
“Homemade food is the opposite of perfection…Cooking at home is my window into what I want to create in life as a whole. I want to make it better, unique, delicious, stamped with my own love and work. It’s going to be imperfect, and I’m good with that.” – Alana Chernila, The Homemade Kitchen
The mindfulness that Chernila brings to cooking and making things homemade also extends to the act of eating, and the many ways we sabotage ourselves: When I “eat with the thought of some differently shaped me, the food tastes different than it does when I rest in the deliciousness of the meal, when my focus is on enjoying my food. In fact, I don’t taste it at all. Instead, I feel afraid of my food.”
“I think enjoyment might just be a nutrient in itself – in fact, it might be the most important one of all.” – Alana Chernila, The Homemade Kitchen
The Homemade Kitchen also includes tips and tricks like the “Ten Bits & Scraps Worth Saving” which has great ideas for how to use things like citrus peels.
Her other book, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making is pretty cool too, if you’re so inclined.
This book was provided to us free to review by Blogging for Books, a service of The Crown Publishing Group. Opinions are entirely my own.
3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Homemade Kitchen”
I just bought the book for my kindle. This really is a great cookbook. With so many cookbooks out right now I can really appreciate the different approach of this particular cookbook in regards to cooking from scratch at home.
Exactly Connie! 🙂