Alana Chernila is a writer, cook, teacher of cheese making, and blogger at EatingFromTheGroundUp.com. She lives with her husband and daughters in Western Massachusetts. She is also the author of two cookbooks, the first one being The Homemade Pantry and her newest one being The Homemade Kitchen.
The Homemade Kitchen is a gorgeous, inspirational cookbook. It has beautiful pictures of Alana's delicious sounding recipes and her in her kitchen, garden, at the market, and outside; with family and friends or just by herself. The inviting nature of her narrative is delightful and friendly. Alana feels like kindred spirit as she offers up her thoughts on life and collection of homemade dishes that make one's mouth water.
I love how Alana puts this cookbook together. Every chapter starts with an encouraging phrase that she has taped on her fridge. These makeup the framework of her philosophy and this cookbook. Te recipes start with a title and how much it makes or how many it serves. Then a narrative from Alana usually follows with the ingredient list and instructions listed below. Most of these recipes with a few exceptions have beautiful photos of the dish to represent them. There are also pages of narrative and tips throughout.
- Start Where You Are - Introduction about Alana's thoughts of why we cook, and who we are.
- Be a Beginner - How to section of: cooking eggs, cooking vegetables, making jam, pickling things, making salads and dressings, roasting a chicken, making other dairy products out of milk, cooking grains, making piecrust and pie, using fresh herbs, and making pasta. These are all things of which we should all learn how to do in my opinion.
- Feed Yourself - Wonderful dishes to cook for just yourself. Since I am to be growing radishes in my garden this year I will definitely try the Bread with Radish Butter!
- Put Your Hands in the Earth - Recipes with fresh edibles from the garden. The Queen Garlic with Chèvre and Tomatoes look divine.
- Be Active - Making fermented things using vinegar, kefir grains, starter culture, or yeast & making other delicious things with them. I love a good Kimchi! The Kefir Banana Cake and Chèvre Cheesecake with Mint and Berries also sound so yummy!
- Use Your Scraps - How to make use of food waste, reuse in the kitchen & help foods last longer. Includes recipes that make use of these bits and scraps. I never knew that peach pits were so useful!
- Do Your Best, and Then Let Go - Good advice about choosing what you eat. In this chapter, Alana acknowledges how her family really eats, "Organicish. Locenough. Homemade when I can. Fresh. Good. Mine." I love this because this is more my style than fretting over every last little thing. Tips and recipes on buying: cow, chicken, fish; making tofu and its alternatives, using pastas, making homemade snacks and a popover recipe everyone will love.
- Be Helpful - Wonderful dishes to feed the soul, when there is a birth, death, or anything big in between. I love when Alana says, "When we bring dinner, we say: I'm in your community. I'm here for you. Eat."
- Do the Work - This chapter is all about breads that are beautiful and practical to make. Alana reminds us that homemade bread is actually easy to make and many appliances can do most the work for you. To quote her, "Bread , like so many other staples, is one of those foods that we imagine to be more of a project than it really is."
- Slow Down - Alana reminisces about her quiet time outside in her orchard, hanging clothes on the line, or looking for beautiful flowers to put in a vase for the table. I, myself love having me time with nature or a cup of herbal tea. It gives me calm before the chaos kicks in. In this chapter the recipes focus around this concept.
- Eat Outside - I agree with Alana so much that, "Everything just tastes better outside". I happen to believe that picnics are a perfect way to celebrate the outdoors. The recipes in this section are great to make and take for a lovely spread.
- Invite People Over - I love to entertain guests, family, or friends at my home. Being LDS, I occasionally invite the missionaries into my home for dinner. Making food for others is a wonderful pastime. I love the idea of "Social Tuesday", which Alana's friend thought up. It centers around a single family in a group of friends or neighborhood community, hosting a themed potluck of sorts, where everyone invited brings a dish for a dinner together on a Tuesday night. I've been involved in work parties and love doing service for friends or family, then filling my belly with good home cooking. When we lived in Reedsport we used to go over to a great chainsaw buddy's house and sometimes he would make sushi packed with a number of interesting, but delectable ingredients. I learned how to make my own sushi from him and love to make it for my friends that are a bit adventurous. I was surprised to find a sushi recipe, Maki Rolls, in this chapter, yet it was obvious to me why it was included...like tacos you can make-your-own and have your guests do so as well. With so many options for fillings this is a no-brainer why it is great for parties. I also love that there is a great chili recipe with corn bread because this is also my go to food of choice for company.
- Don't Be Afraid of Food - Oh yes...Alana saved the best for last. Last, but certainly not least...the scrumptious, delicious, delectable desserts! I love trifle and Alana's Summer Trifle looks so fabulous. I will definitely have to try it as it gets to be berry picking season. The Plum tart...you know, the one on the front cover... is what lured me to review this cookbook in the first place. I love tarts, but admittedly have not made one ever myself, so maybe I just might when the plums on my tree are ready.
In the end she has Acknowledgements, a very nice Bibliography filled with books that I now have to check out, and an Index to help you find your way throughout this cookbook.
The Homemade Kitchen: Recipes For Cooking With Pleasure is a wonderful cookbook that I highly recommend to anyone that would love to get back to home cooking from scratch without the fuss. The author, Alana Chernila is such a pleasure. This cookbook is a treasure indeed.
DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Blogging For Books for sending me this book for free to review. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.