Recently looking at the sorry state of my house, I wonder how did it get this way? It feels like I am always cleaning, yet it looks like a hurricane has touched down in the middle of our living room.
I can manage the basics, vacuuming at least once a week, dishes a couple of times a day, grocery shopping, taking out the garbage, recycling etc. etc. But I cannot fathom how to find time to do more, well-besides giving up on my blog posts. Or quitting my job, which is not an option.
This week, I came across a battered copy of my late mother in law’s book titled Foods, Nutrition and Home Management Manual, printed in 1951. It is written for the government of the province of British Columbia, Department of Education. It has her signature written in blue ink on the first page of the front cover. It is her maiden name.
I did not get a book like this during my years at Edmund Partridge Junior High School, and I think that is why my home management skills are so poor. You may think that perhaps my own mother was a poor home manager, but this was not the case. The only thing untidy in her home was me, and a little drawer that she called the junk drawer, but even this spot was tidied now and then.
Today I feel it is my duty to share some of the very interesting information provided in this manual.
In the introduction, it says that Home Management is the wise spending of ourselves, our strength, time, and money. Efficient home management depends on:-
- Labour-saving furnishing and equipment
- Step-saving arrangement of the equipment
- Improved methods of work
- Efficient planning of work
- Simple living ( I love this point)
Here are some tips that are not relevant to todays modern home.
- Keep refrigerator well iced. Keep the ice compartment filled at least one-half.
- To prevent rusting of your gas oven, leave open while oven is cooling.
- For a coal stove place crumpled paper on the bottom of the fire-box. Place sticks of kindling-wood criss-cross on the paper.Place a few pieces of coal on top of the kindling.
- For care of (glass!) milk-bottles-Rinse at once with cold water and leave filled until ready to wash.Wash in hot, soapy water, and rinse with very hot water.
- Care of waxed floors-Daily sweep with a soft-haired brush. Rub or wipe with a covered brush or oiled mop.Weekly, rub all spots with kerosene. Rewax if necessary. Polish with a weighted brush.
- Soap solution for Boiling!? or for the Washing-machine.( If you are lucky, I guess) Dissolve 1 lb of soap-chips in 5 gals. of water.
There is a great section on how to get rid of different kinds of stains, with recipes included, such as making Javelle water… which is home-made bleach, methinks.
There is a great question area too, for instance:
How can you freshen up a cotton or a linen dress without laundering it?
And on grocery shopping, or as they call it marketing there is a section about the amount that should be spent on food. The dollar amount should be about 25 to 50 percent of the total salary. Which is interesting, I don’t think we spend that much, in our modern household.
For phone ordering it tells us to be courteous and considerate in your demands for service. It shows a lack of planning to ask for more than one delivery a day. This reminds me of that Woody Allen movie where the mother is always sending her son out to buy a 1/4 pound of butter. When the son says, “why don’t you just buy the whole pound?’ She replies, “what if the house burns down? Then we will have wasted all that butter!”
Here are some good points that may be relevant in our modern-day:
- Buy foods that are in season when the prices are low. Foods out of season are always high on account of transportation and hothouse conditions. High prices do not signify quality.
- Packaged foods command higher prices than foods bought in bulk. One must determine if the extra cost is desirable.
Stay tuned for my updates on this very interesting manual. There are recipes for ice cream made with rock salt in a pail. And Cream of Tomato Soup made with fresh cooked tomatoes, back when a side of crackers were made in the coal-fired oven. Plus many more!
I am only on page 23!
I am grateful that R.’s mom used the back blank pages to write out a nice recipe for fried chicken with paprika. I am definitely going to try it out.