Book Review: Home Ec 101 by Heather Solos

A slight departure from the world of weight management today. Or maybe not. I’m a firm believer that this is a whole-life endeavor. When we’re successful in one area of our lives, there’s a good chance it will carry over into other areas. I’m filing this one under organization and stress management for myself.

I’m not going to tell you the year I took Home Ec in high school. We’ll just say that it was some time after the discovery of fire but before the invention of the microwave. Two years were required of all female students. (Boys had to take auto shop and woodworking classes.) The first year of Home Ec was cooking and sewing; the second year was cleaning and family budgeting. I didn’t do so well in the first year (not because of ability, but because I was experiencing the headiness of being in high school and our classroom overlooked the boys’ shop class), so it was quite a relief when I transferred school districts and didn’t have to take that pesky second year.

Fast forward X years. I’m still not a noteworthy cook (unless you count cake joys, my most requested recipe), and my sewing skills are limited to reattaching buttons and completing minor repairs to wayward seams. (Ooh, previously undiscovered NSV: After losing 100 pounds, I haven’t had to repair any split seams!) My house isn’t ready to be condemned, but I do sometimes have to greet visitors with a mumbled, “Excuse the mess. I was just {insert anything besides surfing and/or watching TV here}”. I do great with the budgeting, though, thanks to the Consumer Math class I also took in high school! Go, ME!

In short, I’m no Suzy Homemaker, and I’m usually quite content to be that way. It’s that usually that had me agreeing to review a copy of a newly released book entitled, Home-Ec 101: Skills for Everyday Living .
Home-Ec 101 cover
Written by Heather Solos, this guide to home/life management has chapters on cleaning, laundry, home repairs, and cooking. It goes beyond the do this, then do that type advice by including the chemistry behind cleanliness and its enemies. (Maybe a little too much chemistry for this non-science-y type, but that’s what skimming is for. Plus, I now have a resource for the information when I need it!) The writing style is easy to read and often humorous, which should encourage the reluctant to continue reading.

It will be no surprise that my favorite part of the book was the section on cooking! Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your point of view, the author doesn’t seem to share my decadence love and focuses on some solid basics of cooking: understanding kitchen terminology and the components that make ingredients work well (and not!) together, stocking a kitchen and pantry, and pulling it all together into budget-friendly, healthy meal planning. There are even some suggested menus with simple, but real foods. If I recall correctly, Ramen noodles never made the list!

Bottom line: The information in Home-Ec 101 could be useful for the first-time home buyer , a college student venturing out on their own for the first time, and for experienced homeowners as well. It would certainly be a nice housewarming, bridal shower, or graduation gift. Or maybe just a gentle nudge to someone you care about to clean up their house! Even at my advanced age, I found it to be interesting reading and I learned a few things! (Now if I only remember to put them in action!)

Did you take Home Ec (or Adult Living, as it was known in later years, so boys would sign up for it) in high school? Are you Suzy Homemaker’s clone? (I’ll still adore you if you are.)

One2One Network provided me with a complimentary digital copy of this book for review purposes. No other compensation was requested, offered, or received. Amazon link is through my affiliate account, from which I would earn a whopping $0.54 per book purchased. Clearly, I am not doing this for the money.

11 thoughts on “Book Review: Home Ec 101 by Heather Solos

  1. Yes, I did have to take Home Ec and yes, it was in the days when it was still called Home Ed and the boys took shop while the girls were in Home Ec. It is no secret to BlogLand that I am domestically challenged so should be no surprise that Home Ec was almost as great a source of stress as gym was! Fortunately, I got through both and have managed to live a successful life without too many psychological issues as a result of it. I do believe, however, that I will take your word for this book and skip it! Just reading your review has caused visions of that ugly dress I made to dance across my field of vision and now it won’t go away! LOL! Think bold print, empire waist and go-go boots! EEK

  2. I had a Home-Ec type class for a nine week quarter in 7th grade. It was pretty sad. I remember making chili in the class, and the recipe called for 1/4 cup sugar. I mistakenly put in 1/4 cup salt. Egads!!! The thing I learned is that you can put a raw, peeled potato in a dish, and it will soak up excess salt. I don’t really remember if it worked, but it’s supposed to.

    I’m no home expert. I just do what’s fast and what works. Some extra advice is ALWAYS welcome!

  3. I did in fact take Home Ec in grade school. I believe we went in grade 7 and 8 and we had to be bussed to the school that carried it. The boys went to machine shop and we got to cook and sew. I have always loved to cook, but even at a young age I would guess I liked to do it my way…and I don’t recall having much love for the teachers.

    I did take it voluntarily in grade 9, but can’t remember much about it. I do cook all the time, but I don’t clean much…when the boss and I moved in together, we decided to get a cleaning lady, so she comes every two weeks and works her magic.

    We both look after our own laundry and I load the dishwasher and he unloads…it works out perfectly.

  4. Pingback: Book Review: Home Ec 101 by Heather Solos Books Empire | Books Empire

  5. Cammy, LOVED this cause like you, I am NOT NOT a homebody person – can’t so any of that stuff including sewing!!! I also had to take HomeEc & yes, we are in the same age range so… and boys got to take auto shop and woodworking classes. PO’d me!! 😉 As for sewing, I cheated & had somebody else make my stuff – I just never got it – really!!! Cooking was not great either! Too funny!

    Thx for this review!

  6. I took Home Ec in 8th grade and hated it. Fortunately I also changed schools at the end of that year and it wasn’t compulsory for 9th grade in my new school.

    But, I grew up with my mother – a woman who is convinced that an inch of dust settles on everything overnight… and I have a cleaning lady once a week. I’m not like my mom, but I’m pretty tidy and can’t stand clutter or grime.

    As for cooking… there’s a reason why I’m so attracted to the fruitarian lifestyle. I spend less than 30 minutes a day in the kitchen!

  7. I never took Home Ec or family and consumer science. I was too busy being a band geek and a JROTC dork. I knew I wasn’t the only band geek out there who managed to miss the elective, which is part of the reason I wrote the book.
    Thank you so much for writing the review. Since I’m a first time author, every shred of publicity helps and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your effort. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

  8. Hey Cammy, It has been a long time. Yes, I took Home Ec. The teacher said the zipper I put in a skirt was as crooked as a mules hind leg. Can’t say I ever notice mules legs before that day. However, my mother in law (first husband) & mother sewed so I learned. The rest of it cooking and cleaning not so much. We did have to take two years of it but remember nothing but the mules hind leg comment and the fact that the fabrick for the skirt and blouse sewing project was orange. Orange is not my color. Do they even teach such things now? My teenage grandkiddos don’t know anything about taking care of themselve much less a home. HA!!! Hummmm, I’ll have to ask that question later today.

  9. LOVE this post!! LOL Yes, I loved “Home Ec” – but I don’t remember doing budgeting – maybe they stopped that in my high school? (who needs budgeting??? ME!) Anyway, I also took “Home Ec” when the guys got to do the fun stuff and girls weren’t allowed to do shops (although it changed the year after me)…I learned so much in Home Ec. Funny you should mention this b/c today I cleaned out one of my drawers & found a necklace that I won for the TOP Home Ec student! I am not a Suzy Homemaker – but I am a Suzy Homemaker Wannabe! :)
    Wow, 100 lbs!! Awesome!

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