This is Experiences in Homemaking (1954 Edition), a high school home ec textbook.
Let's see how you'd do in the class!
Make your bedOpen your windowPut on your robeBrush your teeth
Open your window!
Says the book: “Before you go to breakfast, open your window, if you closed it when you got up, and pull the covers back over the foot of the bed so they may air.” The idea is to let your bed air out while you're eating breakfast. Then you're supposed to make your bed (and brush your teeth) after you've eaten.
Every day when you take them offEvery 2-3 wearsOnce per weekOnce per month
According to the book, “Your stocking should be washed every day when you take them off.”Via James G. Welgos / Getty
Once a dayTwice a dayOnce a week
Once a day!
“The toilet should be washed daily with a strong soap, a long-handled brush, or a cloth which may be burned afterwards.” Really into the instructions to burn something, TBH. Aside from the once-a-day cleaning, they say to clean the toilet once a week with a strong disinfectant.Via George Marks / Stringer / Getty
Once a dayEvery other dayOnce a weekTwice a month
“The hair should be shampooed regularly at least every two weeks and more often if it gets dirty.”Via George Marks / Stringer / Getty
“Mother, I’d like to introduce you to Gloria Adams.” “Gloria, this is my mother.” “Father, I’d like to introduce you to Gloria Adams.” “Gloria, this is my father.”“Mother, this is Gloria Adams.” “Father, I’d like to introduce you to Gloria Adams.”“Mother and Father, this is Gloria Adams.”“Gloria, I’d like to introduce you to mother and father.”
“Mother, this is Gloria Adams.” “Father, I’d like to introduce you to Gloria Adams.”
From the book: “In making introductions, there are a few simple rules to remember. Men and boys are introduced to women and girls. Young people are introduced to older people of the same sex.” So you present Gloria to your mother, and present your father to Gloria. Yes, this is confusing as hell.Via George Marks / Stringer / Getty
“Eggs should always be washed before using; when an egg is opened, the contents often run over the outside of the shell, taking along whatever dirt or bacteria have accumulated there.”
“If it is necessary to taste a food several times, the use of many different spoons can be avoided by pouring some of the food from the mixing spoon into a teaspoon. Repeat each time it is necessary to taste the food. This special spoon for tasting saves work and keeps the food clean.” Pretty smart little hack!
Kitchen utensils, china, glass, silverKitchen utensils, glass, silver, chinaGlass, silver, china, kitchen utensilsSilver, glass, china, kitchen utensils
Glass, silver, china, kitchen utensils.
“Generally, the cleanest dishes are washed first and the cooking utensils last.” They do not specify how long you can let that dirty pot soak in the sink before finally doing something about it.
Right, left, rightRight, right, leftLeft, left, rightRight, right, right
“A right-handed person picks up a dish with her right hand and places it in the washing pan. She then holds the dish with her left hand and washes it with the dishcloth or mop, which is held in her right hand." Got all that?
Once a dayEvery time you wash dishesTwice a weekOnce a week
“The sink should be cleaned whenever the dishes are washed.”Via George Marks / Stringer / Getty
According to our authors, "A table laid with fresh linen, with china and silver placed in an orderly way, and perhaps with a centerpiece of bright flowers produces a cheerful effect and helps those who eat at it feel happy. Table manners tend to match the table. The entire meal is made enjoyable, the food tastes better, and it is more beneficial when the table is attractive, the company agreeable, and the talk around the table friendly and interesting."
Right, right, right, rightLeft, right, right, rightLeft, left, right, rightRight, right, left, left
“Place all dishes at the left of the person being served, except beverages, which are placed at the right. When placing dishes at the left, place them with the left hand. When placing beverages, use the right hand."
Russian, English, FrenchEnglish, Russian, compromiseBritish, Russian, blendedEnglish, French, mélangé
“There are three types of table service: English, Russian, and compromise.”
FYI, “compromise” is just a combination of English and Russian.
Break off a small piece of bread and butter it with your knife; repeat for each biteButter a small, bite-sized section of bread, bite the buttered section off/chew/swallow, and then butter the next small section of bread.Butter your entire slice of bread, then pass the butter dish to the next guestBread should arrive at the table sliced and pre-buttered
“To spread butter on bread, break off a small piece of bread and butter it with your knife; do not butter the whole slice of bread.”
The head of the familyThe oldest person presentThe hostessThe oldest man present
"After you have found your place, it is customary to stand behind your chair until your hostess is seated. At the close of the meal, she also gives the signal for leaving the table." Glad to see women reclaiming a tiny bit of power here.Via George Marks / Stringer / Getty
The leftThe rightEither side
"It is considered correct to sit and rise from the left of your chair."
They say if everyone does this, no one will bump into each other!Via L. J. Willinger / Stringer / Getty
The right sideThe wrong sideEither side
“Cotton and linen fabrics may be pressed on either the right or wrong side."
Also! Here's a tip: "Press on the right side for a glossy finish; on the wrong side for a dull finish.”Via George Marks / Stringer / Getty
The book spends several pages explaining the difference between a democratic family and a patriarchal family, and gives examples of both kinds of families. According to our authors, the children in the patriarchal family end up struggling because they had "little opportunity to make decisions for themselves" and were "poorly prepared for adult life in a democracy."
Labor incomeEmotional laborA giftA natural extension of her God-given talents
In the chapter on budgeting, Experiences in Homemaking explains that a mother’s work is a form of income, and asks, “Have you ever stopped to consider what it would cost if someone were paid to do the work your mother does about the house? … When estimates have been made of what it would cost to pay other people for the various tasks the mother does in caring for her home and family, it has been found that the mother’s time is as valuable as the average father’s time in terms of money.”Via George Marks / Stringer / Getty
Could You Pass A 1954 Home Economics Class?
When it comes to the domestic arts, you still have a lot to learn. You have been known to leave dirty dishes lying around, you don't give a damn about the "proper" way to clean things, and you probably butter your entire slice of bread before eating it. SMDH.
You own an iron and clean your place from time to time, but you don't care much for rules when it comes to the domestic arts. Keep studying and you may become a hostess with the mostess someday!
Hot damn, you are quite the domestic goddess! You care about having a clean and lovely home and you know the best ways to make that happen. The rest of us could stand to learn a thing or two from you.