Monday, October 26, 2009

26 October 1955 “What I Learned From My VICTORY WEEK and more”

55 plymouth This is an advert for a lower end Plymouth. I wonder what happened to the bench seat? Did it disappear because of some sort of safety reason? Was it to keep the woman from sitting snuggled to the man, as you see in old movies, in case of an accident? Does anyone know? I have to say it looks so much more comfortable and practical than bucket seats, and boy do you lose things down between the seat and console, at least I always seem to.

So, VICTORY WEEK has ended and here are some of the things I learned. First off, I can be even more inventive than I had already thought. At the end of the week, for a dessert, I had a few apples and some butter left, but not enough for a pie, so of course Baked apples. This recipe was actually quite nice as it felt very ‘apple pie’-ish and yet much lower calorie without all the crust!


4 Tart apples, cored

2 TBS butter

1 TBS flour

1/4 cup brown sugar (I actually use white sugar and put a little molasses drizzled.  I know only make my own brown sugar with one tbs molasses to every one cup sugar. It is cheaper and it allows me to have molasses in the house for other reasons without buying that and brown sugar)

1/2 tsp vanilla

Nutmeg and cinnamon to taste

Pare apples half way down. Put in baking dish, pared side up. Melt butter. Stir in flour and mis well. Add sugar and vanilla. SPread over apples. sprinkle with cinnamon etc. Bake at 425 until crust is set. Lower temperature to 350. Bake until apples are tender (about 30 mins.)

I also noticed that, as I had mentioned before, I can stretch the amount of meat we eat even further with really not too much notice from hubby. I found myself eating less for breakfast, as well, as I would give up my rations for hubby since he had to have energy for his day of work, while I could always have a midmorning snack of say bread crust and jam.

I have to say that I surprised myself and feel that, though I do not want to deprive myself, there could be at least one week a month where I really trim back the groceries and not have it hurt too much. In fact, I am going to readjust our budget to a weekly budget from a monthly budget (A tip I learned from one of the films I showed you) so, in so doing I will enable myself one week a month to have a little extra from the grocery budget to either store away in a ‘Kitchen Emergency Fund’. I figure this fund could be like the Kitchen’s Pin Money, so one week if I have spent the budget for groceries but realized I forgot flour or something, I can steal it form there. Or, if there is something for hubby’s work where I need to bake extra or make something for he to take to work, it could come from there. I might, being of the artistic bent, make a darling little container out of an old cigar box or jar decorated to keep somewhere in the kitchen. So, budget-wise I feel VICTORY WEEK helped there.

As I had mentioned before, it also made me think more about my garbage. When you have your cupboards more bare (and I tried to stick to what I had for the week without taking from the pantry to get a more ‘rationed’ experience)you think more about what you throw away. I have already, since 1955, done this more. Most things are saved for future meals or for the dogs etc. But, bread crusts, or half eaten toast began to look like future meal filler. I don’t throw much food away, but sometimes at breakfast if hubby didn’t eat all of his egg, but part of it (and the dog’s won’t eat it, they are very picky) it would get tossed. I found myself saving it in a Tupperware to add to ‘cottage pie’ later in the week. Some would think, “Oh, no, germs, that’s garbage'” But it was only my hubby and I eating it, so it wasn’t as if I was giving it to company. Really, the level to which we waste food is becoming even more appalling to me. I can’t imagine in nursing homes and public schools and hospitals what they must throw away!

I also began to think how during the War, the country could rally together against a common enemy and work to ‘Save for Victory’ “Garden for Victory” etc and how, now that we do realize how much we waste and hurt the planet etc, how that some sort of common goal of “Unified Victory” could really work to make all our lives better, but that in our modern Consumer drive world of big box stores and etc really controlling the government through lobbyists, how that could never happen. It really got me thinking that if in the new year, if one of my ‘projects’ is to promote more community and to see if you ladies would, in your own communities, want to foster your own “Vintage Club/Apron Revolution” clubs a sort of Vintage Junior League, maybe we could, ourselves, help with such ideas. When ladies come together we can often accomplish a lot. Especially since, even in the modern world, the government and many still very male-driven organizations wouldn’t even notice us. We would just be groups of nice ladies in hats and gloves having charity teas, but how honestly such an Apron Revolution could really help us locally. Posters, meetings, bake sales, etc all to help us become aware of how to not waste, how to scrimp and manage our money, how to repair and use old and not continually buy buy buy and throw away. I think it just sounds such a lovely idea. I am not sure how we can go about it as of yet, but I DO know it will be part of my New Year Project.

You see, the one main element I felt during the VICTORY WEEK was the lack of camaraderie that must have existed amongst those women who had to ‘get along and get to business’. We have one another here online and I am glad for that, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could foster it in our own communities as well? It seems a little intimidating to me as well and yet I feel driven enough to try it somehow. So, the idea of community, thrift and waste really were driven home from one week. It is amazing how when you really just approach a day  more alive or awake to your actions how you really feel in control of your life and empowered in a way to make it better for yourself. I mean, when I ran out of things during VICTORY WEEK I had to make do. I had to stop and think and manage something out of it. It really made me feel, even more, that the mind and imagination are one of the prime tools of a homemaker and so needed to achieve our ACTION!

I also, more than ever, really found that the kitchen really is a mix between a science laboratory, art studio, and Think Tank. If you have the right BASIC ingredients, you can make just about anything! From Glue to Bread to Window cleaner, so buying pre-made is really, even more so, going to be uppermost in my mind.

So, VICTORY WEEK had made me make the following concrete changes to my routine.

1. One week out of the month is a VICTORY WEEK (I will cut my weekly budget in half and buy what I can with that and make d0 and the rest goes into my darling decorated “Kitchen Pin Money” box/jar

2.Less Waste. Before anything, food or other (such as my dryer lint) goes in the garbage I stop and think, “Is there ANY use for this, or can I make this product myself so I don’t have this box/bottle/container to throw away?

3.The idea of community. To share my findings (as I do here) but in some form in the new year within my own community.

So, all in all, I would say VICTORY WEEK was really a success for me. I feel now as if I can take every challenge head on and rather I fail or not, I know I will learn something. I think that is one of the main lessons learned this year, that doing more and trying to challenge yourself doesn’t lead to disappointment or frustration, but to liberation and empowerment. I can make my own jam, wear the pretty dress, clean, organize and save. Do I miss the time I don’t have for hours of TV or mindless shopping? NO.

50s beauty Now, I think along with being a homemaker and learning to budget and save and manage, another element is as important. It is another thing I think really lacking from the modern world and one that certainly could easily be reintroduced. The idea of glamour. Feeling pretty and well groomed. Even if you don’t aspire to vintage clothes, there are many pretty modern ‘nice or fancy clothes’ that deserve a daily wearing. I think this coming week I will try and focus on some beauty ideas and tips. I need to get some get photos of simple hairstyles I now wear. Having short hair and bangs allows so many different ways to wear hair and so much easier to care for than long straight in your face locks. It seems as if even the creativity in ones hairstyles is gone. A person gets a cut and style and that is it everyday. With the right cut (one you can even maintain yourself ladies to save on your budget) you can have different styles for different occasions and still feel ‘movie star’ gorgeous throughout the day, even if only the grocer or the dog sees you. You deserve to be pretty for YOURSELF and as it becomes more of your daily life, you will WANT to go out and mingle and ‘show it off’ more.

I also want to share in tomorrow’s post an interesting thing. One of my followers, I believe she lives in Australia, is writing a paper and wants me to answer a series of questions for her. I am, with her permission of course, to post the questions and my answers as the next post. I think it should be interesting. I am hoping when she finishes her paper she could somehow link the final result for us to read.

I fogot, a commenter gave these wonderful tips on stretching milk and butter. I have not tried it yet, but am going to. Here they are:

"Speaking of stretching and conserving. I thought I would pass along a couple little hints first,about butter. (since you mentioned butter in this post) Here's a very inexpensive way to "stretch" your butter. (this only works with butter NOT margarine) Let one stick of butter come to room temperature. Put it in a bowl with 1/4 cup of canola oil (good for you) mix with electric mixer till the oil is incorporated in the butter. Then slowly add 1/4 cup of cold water to the butter while the continuing to mix with electric mixer. Mix until creamy and smooth. Store in the door of the fridge and it will be softer to spread then regular butter. (I do a pound of butter at a time...4 sticks of butter, 1 C. oil, 1 C. cold water = 2 lbs. butter!)

Also, stretch a gallon of milk cheaply too. Split a gallon of milk between 2 gallon jugs. Add one can of evaporated milk to each jug and fill with water. TaDa...2 gallons of milk! Or if you are down to a half a gallon, add a can of evaporated milk and fill with now have a gallon of milk again!"
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