The original "Laurel's Kitchen" is a gold mine of great recipes, simple ingredients and user-friendly directions. BUT, the true treasure is the introduction and the journey the author undertakes, with the reader happily in tow.
It starts with the simple phrase "keeper of the keys" referring to a position women held in previous years. Creating balanced and healthy meals, a full pantry and a harmonious home was considered a privilege, not an unpleasant chore. The art of providing colorful, fulfilling meals and a centered homelife that draws others into its warmth and harmony is presented as a highly valued undertaking in and of itself. Aside from the woman literally being "keeper of the keys" to the larder, a great amount of her time, skill and effort went into preparing and maintaining her household.
We are inunndated by a fast-paced, fast-food, buy now and pay later world. This extends into what we choose to eat, or, more frequently, what foods choose us - we eat now and pay later. What "Laurel's Kitchen" does is weave our propensity for food with the concepts of a joyful and healthy life. There is a melding of food choices incorporated with a lifestyle that leaves a small footprint (before the word footprint was used). What? Is a cookbook offering such a change in lifestyle? Well, I have to say yes, it is. And it works.
The recipes are delicious, easy to make with ingredients you can actually find that are affordable. Of course, there are certain favorites. I really enjoy the soups, muffins, breads and desserts; they smell wonderful, with lots of flavor and texture. A surpise section was the condiments, including salad dressings and yogurt. Very easy to make with simple ingredients; very economical when compared to ready-made. Another plus is the option to delete certain ingredients which may cause allergies - an easy solution.
One recommendation I can make for this book is that I went to some trouble to find the "Keeper of the Keys" version. My home life feels more centered and harmonious, and people seem to gather in my kitchen when I take Laurel's "keeper" philosophy and make it foremost in my everyday life. When I make an effort to provide friends with a bit of respite from life's craziness, they can move on their next activity feeling a bit more relaxed, a bit more valued. With a tasty snack for later! They know they're important to me, and who doesn't need that! All from a little book that will touch your heart (and stomach) in a big big way ...