Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Houswives in the past

I have been looking through some of my old cookery and houewifery books - it really is amazing how much things have changed. The differences between the above 'Cookery and comforts' book and the 1950 edition of 'Housewife' are, I think, not as great as the gulf between the 1950's and today.

The hints and recipes here are for little dishes, and a fairly fussy sort of menu. It was not easy photographing these books, the pages are a creamy sort of old, and the printing is not very crisp. But I am sure if you click on the photos you will be able to find the recipe for 'Curry Croquete'.

Meatless meals were becoming less eccentric, and pasta was making an appearance. But only macaroni and spaghetti! Most of those recipes sound a bit boring!

And how about this lovely apron whilst you do your housework?

When we get to the 1950's copy of 'Housewife' it is quite clear that, whatever women have been doing during the war - working in factories, on the land or in the armed services, their place is now firmly at home. And they are expected to do all the housework themselves. Which is why in mid morning, brush and dustpan in hand, our now frilly-aproned housewife goes 'flop'!

Some of the advertisements are lovely! Don't you just fancy this coat in the 'New Look' length? Actually, I had one very like that, with a big snuggly collar, in a dark teal colour. I loved it!

And hands up those who are old enough to remember Oxydol! Ah! How we were supposed to worry over whether our whites were whiter than our neighbours'!

It was too difficult to photograph the pages, but there are several reminders that, even in 1950, five years after the war had ended, food was still short, and rationed. In a short feature entitled 'Recipes for Sick Children' there are instructions for making a fish custard, and a recipe for Tripe Mould, which is supposed to taste like chicken (??) and for disguising rabbit as chicken. As the poor child had probably never tasted much real chicken, he or she could well have been deceived!

(And for those of you who don't know what tripe is, its the stomach of cows - comes in various types, honeycomb is one I can remember. Nasty, flabby white stuff, since you ask!)

I'm off to browse through 'Housewife' again - the hairstyles are wonderfully tight and curly, the babies all chubby and wearing wool next to the skin, and the women incredibly glamorous with minute waists and long flowing dresses!

And some of the recipes aren't bad, either!


awareness said...

Hey Gilly! This made me laugh! I have an old cook book that begins with all these rules of how a housewife is to behave and what she should be wearing etc when her husband comes home after a long, long day at the office.
Some of the meals we were fed as children are just horrifying...it makes me wonder how my kids will interpret the meals I make for them now. :)

kenju said...

I love the old ads, but the old recipes? Not so much.

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

The plan, when I grew up, was to have a bright yellow dress, with a matching belt and layer upon layer of net petticoats.

What actually happened was Twiggy, the shift, mini skirts and non-existent bosoms! I can also remember that women would give up employment when they got married and 'washing your hair' meant staying in for the night!

Gilly said...

Dana: yes, I was never too good at the sort of behaviour a young wife was supposed to do!

Kenju - I love old ads, there are dozens in the magazine, but difficult to photograph!

Lesley - Oh yes, the twiggy style - my body never fitted that skinny look! and when I washed my hair I used to go to bed with it wet, done up in pincurls!!

g said...

Aren't those fun! I have a few old cooking pamphlets in a box of stuff salvaged from my great aunts' old furniture - I must find them!

Love those New Look coats - just think of how many yards of fabric that took!

Marja said...

What a wonderful pictures. How much has changed. I am hopping in at your blog a bit less these days as I am working a lot and trying to be a good housewife as well. Don't know about the last one.

...Miss...Maddie's... said...

Those vintage cookbooks can certainly be entertaining and the advertisements are such a step back in time.
I would imagine the terms for cooking are British oriented as I have several Delia Smith books and in the beginning wondered what gasmark 6 referred to...
I have a few very old ones dating to the late 1800's you'd get a giggle from, for some of the ingredients would not suit our modern day palette... squirrel stew is one.
Enjoy your day Gilly.

Diane said...

My mum gave me some of her "Do"s for pregnant housewifes when I was having my first baby 18 years ago. She had given birth to 3 of us following these "top tips". It said that I had to apply fresh lipstick when my husband came home, and dont forget to still wear hat and gloves when I went out - I hadn't to let my standards slip!!

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

The world is a different place than it was back in the 1950s. I often wonder what it will be like in 2050. Will people look back and think we are terribly old fashioned?

theMuddledMarketPlace said...

oh my!

When all of twenty and in a fit of housewiferly duties, in my first marriage i perused a very old housekeeping magazine to come up with ideas for meals.
The poor man was presented with pigs trotters rissoles and when he went to the freezer for the icecream, found to his horror that I'd frozen half an animals head....something to do with bath chap. My memory is going ...

cheshire wife said...

This is all a bit before my time.

KathyA said...

Tripe??? For sick children?? I don't think so -- unless you want to induce vomiting...
I think you're right about the differences being greater between the 50s and now -- just in the ideas of what women SHOULD do alone!