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This Modern Home Ec Book Will Stop People From Asking, “You Live Like This???”


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“The sense of being at home is important to everyone’s well-being. If you do not get enough of it, your happiness, resilience, energy, humor, and courage will decrease. It is a complex thing, an amalgam. In part, it is a sense of having special rights, dignities, and entitlements — and these are legal realities, not just emotional states. It includes familiarity, warmth, affection, and a conviction of security. Being at home feels safe; you have a sense of relief whenever you come home and close the door behind you, reduced fear of social and emotional dangers as well as physical ones.”

Like, YES, Cheryl!!!

If you already believe a home should be clean/tidy/cozy/happy but have never been able to articulate exactly why it’s so important to you, you will feel seen. And if you aren’t a terribly neat/tidy/clean person, you will feel gently dragged (like, just the right amount). In either case, you will feel inspired.

Here are a few lines that I especially enjoyed:

• “I told him [her boyfriend] straight-out that the three-hole punch, a complete run of PC Magazine, and several collections of literary reviews did not belong in the kitchen cabinets over the sink and that I could not live with this. He shrugged, and so I married him.”

• On the topic of home-cooked meals: “But it is in everyone’s interest to do away entirely with feeling ashamed of how or what one cooks. If you cannot avoid having only sandwiches one day, the rational response is to feel slightly sorry for yourself, not to blame yourself.”

• “You will often read and hear half-jesting advice to the effect that you should spend your housecleaning time on only those areas of your home that people are going to see when they come visit. This is bad advice and a bad joke.”

• “If a lifestyle has been imposed on you that leaves you without enough time to eat real meals, I think you have a right to resent it.”

• “While dirt should continue to arouse your fighting spirit, it is perfectly all right to surrender to insignificant stains.”

• On the topic of refrigerators: “In fact, to compare someone or something to the homely refrigerator is a common form of humorous derogation. … Despite how important refrigerators are to us, practically and emotionally, most people probably underuse or misuse these splendid machines.”

• “To keep things in perspective, it may help to consider the recipe for roast beef in one of my great-grandmother’s cookbooks, which called for, among other things, a cow.”

• “(See chapter 47: ‘Kindly Light.’)”

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