Saturday, August 22, 2009

22 August 1955 “A Post-rant, Proud American, Cookies, Scones, and dreaming of Utility Space”

 

I don’t want any of you to despair when I go off on one of my tangents or rants. Surely, my being disgusted and upset with the modern world can BE a positive. For me it only ignites the fire under me to pursue more and more the ways of yesterday. To delve deeper into my own accountability and my own ABILITY to make and create more my own.
I know we, we few quiet homemakers, cannot as such change the government, but in our own ways we can affect things by how we live and shop. If we do not support those very places that are not responsible for their actions, who care more about how cheap their product is than rather or not it is using child labor or hurting small business, then they begin to weaken. Yes, some things can cost more when you try to live this way, but what I am finding out is that I can still spend the same amount but that I actually NEED less.

Think about it. IF you are in a big store where there are savings, great you are buying for less, but now they have EVERYTHING in there, so Oh you stop by an end cap display showing some cutesy plastic item to organize your things, I better get one they are only  X dollars and then Oh, what is that, what a darling thing and so cheap, so in the end you are still actually spending more, and buying things you DO NOT NEED and then going out and buying more Books on how to organize it all and the out to buy more containers to put all that you bought but didn’t need to store and make it orderly. It is a viscous wheel and I want off.

So, please don’t let my little rants make anyone think I am not happy to be American. I, in many ways, feel very American. I always joke that my ancestors came over and ‘created’ the us by taking it from my other ancestors and then married them. SO, I feel I am as American as they come, but I get upset when I see big business taking what I feel those in the 1950s wanted their new war free country to be and ruining it. But, we homemakers, we can change it. We do the shopping. We MAKE the home. We raise the children and can teach them from the beginning to be accountable. We can change the world an apron string at a time. So, do feel that I don’t feel there is nothing we can do, but quite the opposite. I really feel the more we can learn and recreate the skills of the past homemakers the better our lives will be and a better generation will be made. Many people, including those from our won sex, discount the import of a stay at home mother and homemaker, when it is probably THE most important job around. If the world collapsed and even medicine were gone we would still need to go on and raise up the next generations. It is the first and best job around. So, lets use our knowledge and ability to look around us and be aware of how the world REALLY is and then take that as a cue to change it for the better.

Well, I will get off my soapbox now and down to some practical things.

First off, I found the BEST Molasses cookie recipe on the back of one of my magazines. I love that the ad has a cookie for mummy and daughter to make. cookie recipe Isn’t it darling that you can cut out the recipe and put it on a card for your recipe card box? I think you could copy this image and print it out and cut it out for your own use. I would never cut the original (and thank goodness who owned it first did not) but now I can make a copy and cut it out.

Though I have been so very busy packing and moving things (that’s the advantage of having access to where I am moving while still living here!) I am still sticking to my housework schedule. And of course, though it is hot, I still find time to bake. In fact my husband has another ‘request’ that I do some baked goods for work again. This time I have learned ‘no cakes in the hot of summer’. So, a tray of cookies. I am going to do these cookies as well as some great peanut butter chocolate chip that I tried yesterday. And I am not sure what I am going to do for the third cookie.

I also made a great meal of Lamb A’ la Marseilles the other night. I had got a good pair of lamb chops and wanted to try something new. Here is the recipe, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product, but it was delicious.

Lam A’ la Marseilles

Pan broil on one side. Place in baking dish, cooked side up. Cover with hot Mushroom Sauce. Bake 8 minutes at 450 degrees.

Brown Mushroom Sauce

3 TBS butter

Few drops onion juice ( I fried onions in butter and used that)

3 TBS flour

1cup cream

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

1 TSP beef extract (I used bouillon)

salt and paprika

Brown butter slightly. Add onion jice and flour and stir and cook until brown. Pour on cream gradually while stirring constantly. Add mushrooms, cooked in butter. Season with beef extract, salt and paprika.

It was delicious. This is from my 50’s Boston Cooking School book.

I also made some wonderful scones the other day.scones I may have shared this recipe before, but here it is again. It is also from my Boston Cooking School Book.scone recipe I have noticed, for whatever reason, that we Americans seems to serve scones in triangular form while I have mostly seem them in the UK in our American ‘Biscuit’ form. I had always thought this was a new idea yet when I made these from this 1950’s book, it does indeed tell me to cut into triangles. Do any of you readers know if scones are ever triangular in the uk? I notice, which is not unusual, that we make our scones here much sweeter. Even I put in Ghirardelli chips to make them sweet. I also notices our American pronunciation of  Scone (SKOH-OWN) seems to be Irish or working class british, has anyone else noticed that as opposed to (SCAH-NN)? Just curious.

This leads me to a moment yesterday that I was rather proud of myself. As I have said (way too often most like) I have been inundated with packing, so my days seem to have a little chaos thrown in. Well, yesterday I suddenly had a craving for something sweet and I hadn’t anything made. My first impulse (I still get those 2009 impulses) was to just pop down to the store and ‘grab something’. Then I thought, “Why on earth would I go buy something when I have a pantry full of ingredients?”

The old me would have thought to make something myself would have been too much work. The 1955 me, who does it every day, things no big deal. In fact, I would be willing to bet if I added in the time of summer traffic and lines at the market, I probably whipped up those peanut butter cookies faster than I could have gone out and bought some. Then I was able to try out a recipe before I made some for my hubby’s work and the leftover dough went into the freezer for the future and the cookie jar was filled to the brim AND my sweet tooth satisfied.

It is really amazing how the more you do yourself, the more you make part of your routine, the less daunting it seems; score one for 1955!

Since dismantling my home to be moved to a new one, I have really begun to think more intently about my future house work. It is very exciting to think of that I have used this place, in a way, as a lab to experiment on the ways I want to clean and keep a home. I have many plans for the future dwelling, but I know many of them may only be dreams at first until things can be added. But, I had to share this image from my 1950 Womans Home Companion Household Book.utility closet They even have a floor polisher. I am not sure if such machines were only for linoleum, but I have a lot of nice wide pumpkin pine floors in the ‘new’ house and would love to see them shine. I think, however, that will involve more of the good ole’ fashioned hands and knees approach.

I am glad I did not go to crazy with my own changes here in this house (though I did quite a bit) but have allowed myself to work more than half a year as a homemaker and to see what is important in the kitchen, mudroom, pantry etc. Where last year it would have been simply based on esthetics, now my ‘makeovers’ will be Function and Form hand in had. Functional Beauty and the Beauty of Function will be the rule of the day for my future plans.

Speaking of remodeling and building, I am glad to see in many of my magazines of the time that women and men work happily side by side on such projects.building project

I love that this shows the husband and wife working together. I see so much of this in my woman’s magazines. The concept that the 1950s housewife was delicate with pearls and puffy dresses and didn’t want to break a nail is Hollywood for sure. I know I can build and paint with the best of them AND I still like to clean up in petticoats and pearls and go have tea with the girls.

We should, as women, embrace the duality of our power. We now feel that if you are pretty and dressed up you are a particular kind of girly girl, that is phooey. Women  are the BEST at multi-tasking. We can talk on the phone, cook, and hem a skirt all at the same time, so why can’t we build an addition, paint the house, clean and still look nice when we go marketing? And it is not a case of “Oh, we have to do that” it is more “YEAH, we GET to do that”. To dress up and feel pretty is important to women, I feel. Who has ever been nicely dressed with your hair just so and then thought, “Boy, I feel lousy!”. We can be both of these women.

 woman cleaning in pajamas 1950s woman in dress

20 comments:

  1. Hello 50's Gal!

    Yes, impulse buying is one of the downsides of shopping at big box stores. At WM, I always spend $50. Always. No matter if I was only going in there for bread. $50. Weird.

    "still spend the same amount but that I actually NEED less."

    Oh, my goodness...this is the KEY, I believe--
    doing more for yourself so that you have more money to shop locally or buy the morally-correct product.

    If we were to bake our own bread and preserve our own veggies etc...then when we do need something, we will be able to spend a little more however or wherever we wish.

    (And just like you've been writing about, scaling back to the barest ingredients and staples would ensure we know what we are actually eating.)

    If we don't eat at the fast food chains every other day, we can have a really nice meal at a locally-owned restaurant maybe once a month.

    It's the same theme of buying locally, however, the first gripe always is...it's too expensive. If we can just be a smidge resourceful and put forth a little effort, we can get our smaller businesses healthy again.

    It is so terribly important. I wonder if we (as a country) are up to it.

    We just have to resist that now-now-now urge, huh? And stop thinking of ourselves as consumers, but citizens instead.

    And you are sooo right, the homemaker's job is very important. There is so much flexibility in this arena. Hubby lost his job? Well, the family still needs fed and the wife must figure out a way to get that done. Aren't we also the underlying voice of the nation? I mean, world leaders have wives. I believe that our sensitivity was meant to be shared with our men, so that they may make the right decisions. (sorry, getting a little sexist, I guess)

    I think the problem is that many of us consider ourselves too busy to do more for ourselves. Reality or not, it's the perception...and we have to get over that nonsense to do the right thing.

    Sorry that I commented an entire novel!

    Kris7
    Working hard at www.sccworlds.com

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  2. Kris-Don't apoligize Kris, What a great response. I know how hard it is to not shop at the big stores. My biggest issue so far has been with my bulk groceries and am shopping still most of my things from a chain. When I move, even though there is one close by, I am going to try and shop more locally. This can be a challenge with groceries, but I have decided to try and scale back to making more of my own things, bread, english muffins, even things like crackers or more form of chips to keep for ourselves, so we are blessed with quite a few locally owned health food stores. I will try to get my staples there. It is true that it can be more expensive but if I am buying the staples and NOT buying prepared things I think it will work out. I wish I could find a local diary farm, but not easy where I live. It's funny that we have to feel it is a sexist statement to say that the world leaders have wives. Somehow pc means to ignore the truth. There are women world leaders, but the majority of the world IS run by men. ALl you have stated is a fact. We seem to think by merely ignoring the obvioius it somehow makes it better. By not saying that we don't suddenly have many women leaders. And the women leaders we do have are NOT diminshed by acknowledging that their are many male leaders with wives. And I DO believe those wives weild a certain level of power. I just want us all to be accountable and more real with the world and less, "let's pretend what we want and it is ok". It isn't fair to ourselves or the next generations. I am glad to have long comments. I do worry that my laxness in posting this past month may have left many people to go elsewhere and I feel bad, as if I have let our 'community' down. I hope that is not the case. But, one can only do their best, try harder and hope. Thanks Kris.

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  3. Dear 50s Gal,

    You are not letting us down in any way shape or form! I am inspired by your writings each and every time that I read them, and have begun to implement them in my home. I am planning my meals more meticulously than I ever have before and I have returned to shopping at the local butcher shop instead of the Super Big Mart (I think you know which one I mean). I bake for my whole family each week, and spend time planning out hot breakfasts for the children to have before school.

    Keep up your wonderful work as best you can during this very busy time!!
    ~Mrs.J~

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  4. 50's Gal:

    Yes, as Mrs. J says, I am also inspired by your writings.

    Just like any physical/geographic community, residents go through seasons of real life (busy times, stressful times, joyful times).

    It is our duty as community members to encourage one another.

    Go 50's Gal!!

    We know you are moving households in a vintage way and we can't wait to hear all about it whenever you have the time--when the business of moving is over for you.

    Thanks for all you do.

    Kris7

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  5. Thank you so much for your encouragement, I do so love our community! So far some of my vintage moving has involved reusing my brown paper grocery bags to wrap china, some wooden fruit crates (rather flimsier than in 1950 I am sure) that I finagled out of our local grocer at the back door, all very espionage. Back to packing!

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  6. How excited I was to see a new post from you and with 'rant' in the title! It was great as usual! Thank you so much.

    We can change things for the better 'one apron string at a time'. We can. And thanks to you we are feeling more empowered and encouraged to do so. I so love your writings and examples.

    With the scones (pronounced in Aust, scon, rhymes with John)we never have them in a triangular shape. (circular, maybe square-ish but no triangles.)

    Yes we can be both those women, competent and gorgeous (at the same time even) and in what ever homemaking areas in which we decide to be involved. It is all so exciting, isn't it. :)

    Kris 7 comments were wonderful and your response to her, excellent. Thank you both.

    I'm off to care for my home and darling husband with an extra smile in my heart thanks to you.

    Linda

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  7. Beth from Upstate NYAugust 22, 2009 at 6:37 PM

    My mother had one of those floor polishers that you show in your picture. They were used in the days when floors were waxed. Newer polyurethane finishes do not require waxing or polishing. I wish I could finde one of those nice wooden shoe shine boxes that is also in the picture. My dad had one of those. Keeping your shoes neat makes such a difference in your appearance, don't you think?

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  8. They do make a difference and my father still has his. I am actually going to try and get one together for my hubby as a gift. He would be very happy to shine his shoes and as a matter of fact they really need it! We are going to try and take care of our shoes, having them resoled etc and lose the atitude of "oh, I'll just buy a new pair" Very vintage and green and good on the wallet.

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  9. Enjoying your blog very much and thanks for posting all the vintage articles, recipes, etc.

    My mum was Scottish and always made fun of scones rhymed with stones. Her pronunciation was closer to sounding like the first syllable of awning, or what you would say when you see a cute baby, "Aww", but not quite. Somewhere in between the two, stone and Aww, and hard for Americans to hear the difference, much less pronounce.

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  10. Hello there, sister,

    I've been following for a while but wanted to stop at this post and say I really appreciate what you are saying here. My husband and I really try to avoid the big box stores whenever we can. In fact, my husband is down right insistant we not go to Walmart. :)

    I think all th epoints you made were good ones. In my humble observation, it's a terrible cycle that feeds itself: women are working outside the home as much as men, which means theres no one home to make the meals or th epeanut butter cookies or clean the floor, so the family ends up buying "convenience" items to make up the time. but of course all the pre-cooked, pre-packaged, convenience stuff is much more expensive, so in order to stay within budge people shop where its absolutely cheapest, eg Walmart, etc. And they do, as you pointed out, end up buying extra stuff they don't need.

    On a similar note, Caleb and I try to buy mostly organic animal products, and while yes they are way more expensive, we also just eat less meat, which is precisely what they would have done 5 decades ago or more. Used to be Chicken was a special Sunday night meal, now its two or three times a day, but at what cost? So, that's one way we are trying to make a difference in both our lives and the world around us.

    Really enjoying the blog. Blessings!

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  11. I wanted to pop in here with a quick comment. (at least I hope it is quick, hee hee)...

    I have been miffed at the entire Wal-Mart scene for a long time now. I had the misfortune of working there for about six months, and I LOATHED it. We live in a farming commuinty, and the theft issues were insane. I spent more time at my job trying to explain things in english to people whose first comment was "Do you speak spanish?" than I did anything else. I worked in the shoe area, and we would have at least three pairs of shoes stolen a night. At LEAST!. People would just walk in, kick off their old shoes, stick them in a box and walk ot with new ones on. What realy ticked me off was hen parents would do that to children. Teaching them young to steal...sad.

    I sat down and figured out how much I was "saving" by going to Wal-Mart, compared to my local grocer. I then firgured out the gas I was spending (nearest WM is about 15 miles away), and I was LOSING money.

    I live in a SMALL town (about 1500 people), and I hardly ever leave town. I buy all I need local. I support the local farmers at the farmers market, I shop local, buy clothing at the consignments shop in town, and buy gas at the station in town. I am putting money back into my community and saving gas and time.

    Oh, and Armchair Housewife...you are so right. My mother talks of the times growing up when chicken was always for sunday supper. NEVER any other time. They didn't normally have meat the rest of the week, unless my grandaddy got a deer or bought a cow at the market. We have gotten so lazy in modern times. I love this blog for it encourages us to return to being real people, not a group of virtual existers.

    Well, gotta get ready for sunday night church, then we will have homemade chocolate cake.

    Go 50's Gal!!! Apron Revolution!!!!

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  12. You are an idealist and an optimist and a bit of a philosopher and you're not on your own. We have a responsibility to act ethically and effect change.

    Reagrding scones. Yes, in my vintage books most scones (up until the early 1950s) cut into squares or triangles rather than stamped into circles. Saves wasting the dough, I suppose. Also, in these books there a more recipes for scones than you can shake a stick at! Hmm, I'm Enlish so I pronounce scone as if it rhymed with "gone", but it's the Scots who are the scone queens and they rhyme scone with "cone" so there you have it.

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  13. Hmmm, so the main American pronounciation is similiar to the Scottish, interesting. Thanks for that Dulce. Yes, I suppose I am a little bit of a philospher and an idealist. I guess I am an optimist and I used to think I was a realist, though as I am living this year in 1955 maybe that is not as accurate as I thought?!

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  14. Dear 50sGal I think that being an optimist is such a gift you give to us all in your writing and posting! Thank you!!

    ~Mrs.J~

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  15. I always find your posts wonderfully interesting, a great mix of subject, and EXACTLY on target. I am grateful for your ideas and opinions that are expressed thoroughly and accurately, and ALWAYS AGREE 100%. There is something comforting about finding kindred spirits who aren't afraid to express themselves. My Best Grateful Wishes Dianne

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  16. Hi 50's gal!
    Here in the UK, 99% of scones are round, especially with a cream tea. I have seen triangular scones here - but often these have been from a large scone, which is cut a bit like a cake. Often, these are cheese/savoury scones instead. Oh and potato scones in scotland are always triangular. All are yummy!

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  17. Stunning picture of the woman in dress. Do you know if she's playing at the casino ?

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