The Bottom Line
Whether you're a brand new soapmaker or an old-timer, you can't but help to be enchanted and delighted by Sandy Maine's love for soap. While this is not a comprehensive "everything you ever wanted to know about soap making" book, it's a wonderful book to get started, or revisit when you need some "this is why I make soap" inspiration.
- Really captures the spirit of soap making
- Superb section on the history of soap making
- Wonderful recipes - all variations of the same basic recipe
- A little old-fashioned - no microwaves, no stick blenders
- No discussion of the qualities of oils, or creating your own recipe
- A wonderful basic book on soap making - great simple instructions and recipes to get you started
- Full of old fashioned charm and a deep love and respect for the craft of soap making
- Lots of great tips and techniques too...from cutting, curing , packaging and special effects
- 30 different recipes - all variations on the same tried-and-true basic soap recipe
- Wonderful section on aromatherapy and scent blending - rare for a beginning soap book
- All the recipes have a little "story" behind them...the inspiration behind the recipe or how it was developed.
Guide Review - The Soap Book by Sandy Maine
I mention all of this as an example of the spirit that permeates every page of the book where she is "able to sit and share with you the romance of soapmaking."
In addition to romance and love for the craft of soapmaking, Sandy gives a great section on the history of soapmaking, especially post 1970s when Ann Bramson's Soap:Making it, Enjoying it was first published.
After enchanting you with the "why" and the history of soap, she gets down to some great, easy-to-understand basic instructions including:
- Chemistry and Raw Materials
- Aromacrafting and Aromatherapy
- Cutting, Curing, Forming, Packaging, and Decorating
- Special Techniques
- Aromatherapy Soaps
- Soaps from the Garden
- Soaps from the Wild
- Botanical & Grain-filled Soaps
- Soaps for Men
- Fanciful Soaps
Now if you're a soapmaking oil snob, you may not like Sandy's recipes. All of the recipes in the book are based on a really basic recipe:
- 44% Crisco
- 28% Olive oil
- 28% Coconut
And as I wrote when I was reconsidering Crisco, it's good soap! It's also a really great starter recipe.
Now more modern soapmakers may find "The Soap Book" a bit quaint. Sandy is certainly not as slick as some other more modern soap makers. There are no microwaves or stick blenders anywhere in the book. It is indeed, very traditional. Wonderfully traditional...delightfully traditional...solidly traditional.
If nothing else, get (or borrow) a copy of this book just to get a feel for and touch a bit of our collective soapmaking history and traditions.