Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Nov 4, 1999 - House & Home - 896 pages
240 Reviews
Home Comforts is something new. For the first time in nearly a century, a sole author has written a comprehensive book about housekeeping. This is not a dry how-to manual, nor a collection of odd tips and hints, a cleaning book, a history book, or an arid encyclopedia compiled by a committee or an institute. Home Comforts is a readable explanation for both beginners and experts of all the domestic arts -- choosing fabrics, keeping the piano in tune, caring for books, making a good fire in the fireplace and avoiding chimney fires, ironing and folding, setting up a good reading light, keeping surfaces free of food pathogens, and everything else that modern people might want to do for themselves in their homes. But this reliable and thorough book on the practicalities of housekeeping is also an argument for the importance of private life and the comforts offered by housekeeping.

Cheryl Mendelson is a philosopher, lawyer, sometime professor, and a homemaker, wife, and mother. Home Comforts is based on her domestic education, which she acquired while growing up on a farm in the hills of Greene County, in southwestern Pennsylvania, from her grandmothers, aunts, and mother. Learning from the distinct domestic styles of her native Appalachian relatives and her Italian immigrant relatives, she appreciated early on how important domestic customs are to a sense of comfort and identity in life. She writes out of love and respect for her subject, and hopes to inspire others to develop the affection and respect for home life and housework she was fortunate to have learned.

Mendelson addresses the meanings as well as the methods of housekeeping with a keen sense of the history and values involved. The result is a warm, good-humored, engagingly written book with a message and a point of view, one that is overflowing with useful reflections and information. The clarity, breadth, and depth of the information collected here are unparalleled. You can read Home Comforts for thoughtful entertainment or use its ample index to help you find the answers to practical domestic questions. There is nothing quite like it.

Among this book's unique features:

A skeptical discussion of the excessive use of disinfectants in the home. How to iron a dress shirt and how to fold sheets. How to make up a bed with hospital corners. How to do all basic sewing stitches. How to choose proper sizes for sheets, tablecloths, and other household linens. How to set the table for informal and formal meals. Expert recommendations for safe food storage. The most exhaustive and reliable information on fabrics, textile fibers, and their laundering, drying, and other care that exists for nonprofessionals. A thorough explanation of care labels and why and how you should often (carefully) disregard them. Housekeeping guidelines for people with pets or with allergies. What to do about dust mites. How to clean and care for wood, china and crystal, jewelry, ceramic tile, metals, and more. Guides to stain and spot removal. Extensive recommendations for improving home safety. A summary of laws applicable to the home, including privacy, accident liability, contracts, and domestic employees.

200 Elegant, Clear Drawings
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
116
4 stars
72
3 stars
31
2 stars
14
1 star
7

Excellent home management reference book. - Goodreads
Note use of the word "reference." - Goodreads
Cheryl is an excelent writer! - Goodreads
The philosophy behind her research is fascinating. - Goodreads
This is a good reference for housekeeping. - Goodreads
How to set the table for informal and formal meals. - Goodreads

Review: Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House

User Review  - Rachael - Goodreads

This is the ultimate reference for how to keep a house in running order. It's not a book to be read through in a few sittings, however, it's an encyclopedia to be referenced as needed. Not to say it ... Read full review

Review: Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House

User Review  - Sonica - Goodreads

highly recommended to anyone who likes to geek out about household things. you can totally tell this book was written by a lawyer. (in a good way.) Read full review

Contents

My Secret Life
3
CLEANLINESS DAILY LIFE
5
Easing into a Routine
17
Neatening
30
The Whys and Wherefores of Home Cooking
37
Breakfast Lunch and Dinner
49
Serving Meals
58
Stimulating Beverages
70
The Chemistry of Household Cleaning
436
Aprons Rags and Mops
446
Dust and Dust Mites
450
Vacuuming Sweeping
454
and Dusting
458
Textile Furnishings
466
Floors and Furniture of Wood and Woodlike Materials
487
Resilient Floors
506

The Center of a Dwelling
88
C Kitchen Culture
103
To Market to Market
122
Cold Comfort
142
Bread and Honey
155
Safe Food
161
The Fabric of Your Home
193
Transformations
221
The Natural Fibers
232
The ManMade Fibers
242
and Blends
253
Fabrics That Work
266
IQ Carefully Disregarding
270
Care Labels
276
Gathering Storing and Sorting Laundry
288
Laundering
303
Drying the Laundry
329
Ironing
339
Folding Clothes and Linens
351
How to Launder Tricky Items
358
Common Laundry Mishaps
363
and Problems
367
Sanitizing the Laundry
375
Removing Stains from Fabrics
380
The Air in Your Castle
393
Peaceful Coexistence
401
with Microbes
417
Ceramic Tile
510
Stone
516
ManMade Solid Surfaces and Other Plastics
523
Bathrooms
529
Pipes and Drains
534
Walls Ceilings Woodwork and Windows
536
China and Crystal
543
Metals
553
Caring for Jewelry
563
Kindly Light
569
Fireplaces
587
Some Quiet Occupations
594
Sewing
599
Caring for Books
612
Music
617
Images and Recordings
622
Home Offices
628
and Computers
631
Pets
637
SLEEP
643
The Cave of Nakedness
653
Beds and Bedding
671
Closets for Clothes and Linens
687
NOTES
839
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
847
INDEX
857
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1999)

Cheryl Mendelson is a Harvard Law School graduate, a sometime philosophy professor, a novelist (Morningside Heights and Love, Work, Children), and a homemaker by choice. Born into a rural family in Greene County, Pennsylvania, she now lives in New York City with her husband and son.

Bibliographic information