Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 57.
- Review Date: 2007-05-07
- Reviewer: Staff
This smorgasbord of organic recipes, tips and suggestions has something for everyone, but like a Jack-of-all-trades, it's a master of none. With an emphasis on food, from gardening and buying to preserving and preparing, it also covers household hints on such subjects as conservation (turn down the thermostat), safe cleaning products (baking soda) and the three R's of green living: reduce, reuse and recycle, with recipes for such products as baby food, sauerkraut and exfoliating skin scrub. Some of these slices of organic living are appealing and accessible, like instructions for growing potted herbs, making compost and drying tomatoes. Others, like the information on renewable energy and keeping honey bees, are too sketchy to be of real use. The six pages devoted to raising pigs (with one entire page on selecting your breeds) borders on the absurd for most people. The selections are randomly ordered, with churning butter next to “Make Organic Drinks.” Profusely illustrated, the book may make an inspiring gift for those wishing to make their lives greener, but it's apt to frustrate and confuse novices trying out “organic,” and those seeking in-depth information will have to look elsewhere. (June)
All you gotta do is live naturally
Sheherazade Goldsmith wants you to grow herbs and vegetables, use energy-efficient lighting, bake bread andif you're brave enoughraise a pig or two. A Slice of Organic Life, which compiles Goldsmith's sensible and folksy suggestions for eco-friendly, back-to-the-earth living, encourages us to change our planet-damaging lifestyle habits one at a time, whether we're city dwellers, suburbanites or rural residents.
Goldsmith believes it's the tiny changes we make that are crucial, noting that "each one of us has a role to play in reversing the decline of our planet, whether it's turning our televisions off at the wall or installing a wood-burning stove."
So, are you ready to change the world? A Slice of Organic Life, which hops on the trendy, sustainable living bandwagon, gently shows you how in three instructive sections: one for city dwellers with no land, another for those who have garden space and the third for people of the 40-acre ilk. Earth-friendly tips abound, from growing lettuces and using natural cleaning products to composting, churning butter and heating household water naturally. While some tips are sketchy, such as how to "Nourish Skin Naturally" (only one homemade facial recipe is included), there is a useful resource directory that expands consumer knowledge of "companies and organizations whose products and services are relevant to an organic lifestyle."
No matter how well intentioned, any book that tells us how to live risks veering dangerously into preachy waters. This one does not: It is an earnest, friendly manual that'll entice you into the kitchen to make jameven if you've never before successfully boiled water.