`Domesticity' Author Explores the Wonderful Comforts of Home

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), December 24, 2008 | Go to article overview

`Domesticity' Author Explores the Wonderful Comforts of Home


Byline: COOKBOOKS By Kim Davaz For The Register-Guard

The Gentle Art of Domesticity

By Jane Brocket

(Stewart, Tabori & Chang; $35 hardcover)

I had a discussion with my dental hygienist recently (or as much of a conversation as one can have with a mouth full of fingers and dental instruments) about knitting (I'd brought mine along while I waited), food and family. When I got home, I wished I'd mentioned the book "The Gentle Art of Domesticity: Stitching, Baking, Nature, Art & the Comforts of Home" by Jane Brocket.

Brocket is a British blogger (www.yarnstorm.blogs.com/jane_brocket/) about all things domestic, including much on books, a little about wine, more on flower bulbs and needlework, and a good amount on baking.

Most of the photographs were taken by Brocket, showing parts of her house and garden, her family and her domestic projects. She is in no way embarrassed about being domestic. She revels in it with no apologies and with no demands that everyone knits or crochets or sews or gardens or cooks. Please pick something you like and do it, leaving as much time as necessary for good books and family and the fruits of your labor.

As far as her sense of color goes, don't think pale Laura Ashley prints or muted William Morris colors. Think gaudy. Think bright Caribbean clothing or Indian music video colors. Brocket's color sense will wake you up.

Those colors are evident in the socks she knits, the tulips she plants, the quilts she sews and the cupcakes she ices. The woman loves color. Even if it isn't your color palette, you have to admire the way she puts them together. It takes a certain amount of confidence to make fluorescent icing or to paint your walls a cross between kiwi and lime. While I can't quite face icing that almost screams, she's made me rethink my choices for flower bulbs and knitting wool.

Brocket writes about passing on traditions and life skills to both her daughters and her son. Often the most significant conversations with her children take place in the car.

Her next book, "Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer: A Golden Treasury of Classic Treats" has recipes inspired by classic children's books. I can't wait to get my hands on that one, too.

"The Gentle Art of Domesticity" ends with page after page of resources listing Brocket's favorite crafting Web sites (including a mention of Kate Gilbert, a knitwear designer and blogger I met several years ago), cookbooks, gardening books, needle craft books, films and shops for everything from chocolate to bulbs.

The index lists recipes for things to be made in the kitchen, as well as needlework projects. The needlework projects don't have instructions; they're more descriptions of what Brocket did. …

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