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Hearth & Home: Recipes for Life Review by Christine Field

Karey Swan
Healthy Life Press
PO Box 642
Roseland, FL 32957-0642

OK, I confess. I have far too many cookbooks. I use perhaps one or two recipes out of each one and could easily cull out my cookbook shelf. Why, then, did I ask to review yet another cookbook? Hearth & Home is more than a cookbook. Subtitled "Recipes for Life," this book by Karey Swan has much to teach us as wives and mothers and homeschoolers.

I have seen this book countless times at homeschool conventions. The copy I received was the 2009 seventh edition. Did you read that correctly? Yes, the seventh edition! As a writer, I know that books do not endure multiple printings unless they are unique and special. Such is this book.

With a complete emphasis on health, this book begins with a discussion of homemade health. Mrs. Swan takes us through some basic nutritional knowledge, letting us know that her recipes emphasize whole and healthy food. Then the recipes start! Wonderful breakfasts, breads, soups, beans and burgers, and pies and sweets are lovingly presented. We learn about quinoa and buckwheat, tofu and Ezekiel bread. Often, I am intimidated by the ingredients in these types of recipes, but Mrs. Swan's recipes call for readily available stuff. You may have to go to a health food store to buy some of the grains, but in my area even the big grocers are starting to carry more of these items.

If you are thinking, "My family would never eat like that," hold on. In the dinner section, we learn healthy ways to prepare real macaroni and cheese, chicken pot pie, and enchiladas. You will find plenty here to satisfy your family.

In addition to the yummy recipes and the delightful old-timey illustrations, at least a third of the book is dedicated to advice. Cooking tips and pantry stocking, common sense nutrition, gardening, and homemade soap recipes are all found here. A final large section is entitled "Recipes for Life," "The Art of Life," and "Thought Food for the Future." This is where Mrs. Swan shares her heart about relationships, serenity, child rearing, and homeschooling. The section contains the lyrics to many of Monte Swan's (her husband) songs. Like a conversation with an old friend, she shares her thoughts, tips, and challenges.

I loved this book! Few cookbooks will stand the test of time on my over-crowded shelves. This is one I will want to give to my daughters.

Product review by Christine Field, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December 2009