Apr 172011
When you hear the words “Home Ec”, what do you think of?  Maybe your mind may instantly drifts back to your junior high or high school days of learning to hem a pair of pants or sew on a button, balance a checkbook, or boil eggs.

For me, the first thing that comes to mind was the mandatory Home Ec class that was part of my eighth grade curriculum.  We learned how to sew a pair of Bermuda shorts and a stuffed sundae-shaped pillow, how to set a formal table with all the extra forks and spoons, and how to cook a few basic dishes.  Later in high school anyone that had been inspired by these lessons could sign up for a Textile Arts (sewing) or Foods (cooking) class.  I actually did take one semester of Foods; we learned to make homemade Alfredo sauce, grill a mean steak and bake a cake shaped like a Big Mac (don’t ask, I have no idea why).  We also learned that you suddenly had a lot of friends when you left class with a big box of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.

So I was curious as to what to expect when I recently had the opportunity to read an advance copy of Chapter 20 of Heather Solos’ Home-Ec 101: Skills for Everyday Living – Cook it, Clean it, Fix it, Wash it.  (You may be familiar with Heather and her “Home-Ec” ways from her blog).  While I have not yet had the chance to read the entire book, the chapter that I read – a chapter on meal planning – gave me good insight into the style of the book and author.
This is not reminiscent of your grandmother’s Home-Ec.  While some of the tips may be timeless and may, in fact, be lessons you learned at your mother’s knee, the book is written in a much more contemporary style.  Heather interjects a bit of wit while she teaches you how to plan a menu (sample menus are even included), stretch a dollar, and make dinner a less hectic event.

One of the things I most enjoyed about this chapter – and Heather’s style, in general – is that she doesn’t try to force a lifestyle change overnight.  She approaches meal planning and all it’s coordinating pieces with common sense and baby steps.  Baby steps are something that if you are anything like me you will enjoy; I really hate books that say “start by throwing out everything you own, here’s a recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon, and why don’t you organize your closet by season while you’re at it”.

With other chapters that give tips on scheduling, cleaning, home repair and more, I believe that most people will find something helpful or interesting in this book.

In order to facilitate this review, I was provided a copy of Chapter 20 of this book by the One2One Network.  I received no other compensation and the opinions are 100% my own.