Susan Branch Books
y Heart of the Home books are dedicated to the things that connect women, past, present, and future; courage, energy, nurturing spirit, creativity, humor, and heart. We don’t have as much time for the art (which is what it really is about) of homemaking these busy days, but we still love our homes, love a cozy nurturing environment- our devotion to home and family is second nature for most of us. My books celebrate
lthough my mother would never agree, I know she and my dad made a lot of personal sacrifices while raising my 4 brothers and 3 sisters. But she was a fairytale mother, made the little things in life so special – our house was a kidworld and she was the queen. I don’t think any of us showed much gratitude at the time, we were too noisy and busy to realize just what was going on, but I can’t imagine who or what I might have been without my wonderful innocent childhood. I am soooooooo grateful.
know my mom didn’t feel like a queen when we were growing up, (6 loads of laundry every day takes the queen feelings right out of a person!) so when I wrote my books I tried to put appreciation for moms on every page. It wasn’t hard!
eart of the Home, my first book, and all the ones that followed, became a giant thank you to my mom, and a celebration of what it meant to be a family, “all for one, one for all.” Not only my mom, but for all moms who keep the home fires burning and make us feel so loved. (Dad’s, too!!!)
y dad built rooms onto our house (kids kept coming!), showed us how the watermelon seeds we spit out in the yard became watermelon plants (my first gardening lesson!); my mom taught me how to sew and cook and knit – my parents were the most creative people! They made something from nothing everyday! They taught by example, and showed me I could make it myself. And I could pretty much make anything – even a cookbook – even if it meant I had to hand write and paint it myself.
ach of my books has it’s own story, its own reason for being, so I’ll tell you a bit about each of them. As time has gone on, several of them have begun to go out of print. Still, if you are able to find one on Ebay or in a second hand bookstore, you may be interested to know what inspired it.
ookbooks: The mantra for my cookbooks has always been “Quick, Easy, Elegant and Delicious.” The recipes are the integrity of a cookbook; cute isn’t good enough all by itself– those recipes better work! And they do, “many times, tried and true.”
eart of the Home was my first book. I wrote it while sitting at my dining room table in my first house on Martha’s Vineyard. (all those years ago…). Heart of the Home is dedicated to my big family- and has lots of family recipes and dinner party recipes. Splurge and make the best Vichyssoise you’ll ever taste!, use your own garden tomatoes to make heavenly Filled Tomatoes, and don’t even think about skipping the German Pancake in the special Breakfast section. (Now out of print.)
ineyard Seasons came next and was inspired by the four seasons on the New England island of Martha’s Vineyard where I live. In this one, the fans go crazy for the Lemon Noodles and my mom’s yummy Spareribs and Juice, just to mention two. Vineyard Seasons also has a special section for Tea, which is where you’ll find the recipe for my famous delectable melt-in-your-mouth Orange Cake, with Orange Icing, and Orange Filling. 2-die-4! (Now out of Print.)
ext came Christmas from the Heart of the Home which I’m proud to say was nominated for a James Beard Award. The thing I love about this book now, is that when it’s Christmas time, all I have to do is pull out this book and VOILA, POOF! Everything I know about Christmas is right there! From decorating, to gifts, to party ideas. Puts me right in the mood! Festive holiday recipes include Cranberry Chicken and Pears, Father’s Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce, and Sweet Potato Casserole. Ooh la la! (Now out of print.)
took a little time off from cooking when I did Baby Love, a book for new moms to write in – all about mom during pregnancy, and then what happens when the new bundle of joy comes home. What I love about this book is all the stories I’ve heard about babies from folks standing in line at book signings! They make me cry! Some moms and grandmas wait a very long time for a new addition to their families and their joy absolutely bubbles over.
ove is a little Keepsake Book that tells a story, going from young love, to new love, to romantic love, to lost love; to married love; sweet, quirky and actually useful! One reason is because of the romantic menus and recipes included, such as the All Chocolate Menu, the Breakfast in Bed Menu, and much more. Lists of romantic old movies, Valentine toasts, aphrodisiacs, advise to men, and gifts for each anniversary are also handy.
ust as the title suggests, The Summer Book is everything I could think of that relates to Summer- fabulous recipes such as (where do I start…) OK, you have to try the Potato Fish Cakes, the killer Salad Nicoise, the gorgeous three-layer Coconut Cake with Lemon Filling and the Old Fashioned Boiled Frosting – and don’t forget my famous PINK cocktail, the Skip and Go Naked – oh Yeahhhhh. The Summer Book also goes into the garden, has ideas to decorate your house for the season, and reminds us (as Julia Child said) that “life itself is the proper binge.”
ays from the Heart of the Home was next off the press. What makes this book fun to use is the heavy, smooth paper and covered spiral binding. It’s a perpetual calendar, so it’s good for any year. What makes it special is the stories we hear from readers, such as this photo and note by Kathy Nagel, who’s now on her 12th book! With her daily notations, it’s the story of her life!
“Every morning since July 1996, I have paused to thank God for the previous days’ blessings… “so that I might have roses in December.” My DAYS journals have traveled with me from New York to San Diego, from Marco Island to Northern Canada and even to Ireland and France!! I have never tired of turning the pages to a new season’s illustrations and over the years have incorporated many of Susan’s inspiring musings into my own life.
If there was ever an Rx for maintaining a positive outlook (even in the midst of some serious trials) – it is waking up to the life-loving personality of Susan Branch and remembering the Good/God parts of the previous day!! Thank you Susan!! God Bless You!!
Ps. My dozen DAYS journals, stacked under my nightstand lamp, are a visual reminder of God’s faithfulness. Please keep this book in print! And… If you’re ever in Ohio, please come for dinner!”
-Kathy Barrord Nagel
weets to the Sweet is a collection of (one guess) SWEET recipes – all deserts, from cakes and pies, to puddings and candy and fruit desserts, cold things and hot things, all tried and true. None of them fattening because I took out all the calories. Feel free to eat the entire book in one sitting, you will not gain an ounce.
also did a full-color, better than the average kind, Heart of the Home Address Book. It’s a pretty little binder with lots of pages in it – and quotes and all the regular stuff.
hristmas Joy is another small Keepsake Book; a collection of sweet and simple ideas in the quest for a joyous and fulfilling Christmas. Keeping it simple is the focus. It’s also very big on COOKIES!
ne of my favorite books is Girlfriends Forever. It’s a celebration of US! I wrote it for grown ups, but after it was out a year or so, I read it again, and I think the whole thing was really written for 12 year old girls (which is basically my age for life). “Girlfriends” has great healthy recipes such as the Turkey Meatloaf (which even a man can love), the Asian Chicken Salad- and not to forget, well worth the price of the book all by itself, Spicy Mango Salad! There are Chick Flicks, the story of how I met the Beatles (She was Just Seventeen), Natural Beauty, How to be Pulled Together when Traveling, Stress Relief, and much much more.
hristmas Memories is a five-year Christmas Scrapbook. There are places in this book for you and your children to write, places for five years of Christmas Tree Photos, five years of Christmas Dinner Menus, five years of New Year’s Resolutions, and lots more. (Now out of print.)
utumn from the Heart of the Home is my most recent book, totally inspired by nature. I love fall and I loved painting all those gorgeous autumn colors. Like SUMMER, it has ideas for seasonal decorating, fall crafts, autumn entertaining, and fun; plus holiday celebrations for Thanksgiving and Halloween. There’s a recipe for Homemade Marshmallows in this book! You should also try the Cinnamon Ice Cream, the Gingerbread Cake, and the Scallops, Mashed Potatoes and Corn Chowder. Lots of stories too: My House; Twas a Dark and Stormy Night, to name just two.