Friday, May 4, 2012

4 May 1947 “Budgeting Our Time the 1940’s Way and a Need for Home Economics Today”

bugettimeschedule I know I have shared this little checklist with you before. It is from my 1947 America’s Housekeeping Book.  It is a handy little book and this is a good layout of a possible weeks work.

You will notice the little addendum on the bottom that tells one Saturday can be planned in advance as a rest day. This is certainly true if you plan the meals ahead of time and set in the ice box to simply cook that day.

It also mentions wash and marketing. I do my laundry on Monday, ironing is Tuesday and my Marketing is done on Friday as there are often sales then. But there is a list of reasons you may not be able to maintain your schedule outlined in the book and here it follows. (Simply click on any image to read full-size of course).

 budgettime2Some of these things refer you to other pages in the book, but most are simply an ‘ask yourself, test your common sense’. And some things, like the reference to the ‘one handed kitchen set up on pg. 20’ simply tells how modern cabinets are often too deep. Try to arrange like things with like such as bowls of same size together not nest larger and smaller together, as you would need two hands to get at it. Also it points out how shelves made or adjusted to simply hold one row of things, such as canned goods, make more efficiency as well as do not lead to clutter or digging to find things and lets one know what is on hand and what is needed when making next weeks marketing list.

Such films as this from 1950 on simply buying foods would not only be helpful today but would point out what I have learned. That inflation is currently rampant. Many shop haphazard and with no list or particular pattern. I have been with friends when they have shopped thus. This way many do not see the changes in prices. Because many prices are hidden cleverly today. For instance ice cream has reduced its packaging. It deceptive is the same height and width along the front of the packaging but it is narrower now. So, even when the price stays the same you are literally buying less, thus that means you are paying more per weight of item.

This has been true with tuna as well which has shrunk from 10 oz down to currently 5 oz. Just since I started my 1955 project tuna has gone from 7.5 oz. 5 oz for same brands. And though it might sometimes be on sale, even then the price over all is higher.

40steensshopping To have the ability to plan and look and watch what you are spending both for meal planning and money planning is almost unheard of today. My friend who is 28 told me she had ‘Life Skills’ courses in High School not Home Economics. And in that class they taught them how to make packaged macaroni and cheese as well as packaged cake mixes! And the school had to buy these pre packaged national brand packages as well! Wouldn’t you think one who can simply read could make mac n cheese on their own?

When I told her about the 50’s Home Economics teaching about weights and qualities and how different cuts of meat are created and used. How leftovers can be used and even understanding different fabrics to see what clothing lasts longer and how to prepare it, she said how much that would have actually helped her. So, it isn’t that today’s youth don’t want to know or understand such things.

Here is the film on buying food:

And for those who may have  been worried of the ‘Rock n Roll’ set or even if young men in the 50’s took Home Ec., here you can see this short film about young teens going to a local grocer as part of the training in their Home Economics class room.

These young people even visit the butcher while there to see the different cuts of meat and how they are used. Many people today buy premade or simply ground beef. When there is so much more economy, taste, and really quality if full meat. Though much of the meat is still full of hormones and antibiotics and the cows themselves are poorly fed on corn (not their natural diet) at least buying actual cuts of meat lets you know what you have. While pre-packaged fish fingers, chick patties and the like are mostly made of who knows what.

I heard something about some sort of ‘pink slime’ that is now used in ground beef and was only last year labeled only fit for animal foods. Another way, by the bye, that the increase in food costs are hidden, by decreasing the quality product to include ‘filler’. In a world where little is prepared but comes prepared, it is easy to slip in such false economies.

Enjoy the teens and their class at the supermarket:

I am going to close with this darling photo, also from my ‘47 Homemakers book. Here we see the good idea of allowing the young child to emulate and learn at an early age how to cook and bake. Of course, one must have a family member with such skills in order to pass this on to children. I fear this might be also vanishing. Today children may simply learn how to press the buttons on the microwave and how to toss out their paper plate rather than ‘cleaning up’ afterwards.

childinkitchen In many ways most of we modern people are like the child and do need more lessons. I have certainly given myself a thorough training session in Home Ec over the past three years. But, I am always learning and with still so much to understand. And with every day I feel a bit more in control of my small part of life. I only wish we had more control over our lives on the grander scale concerning laws, rights and such. So, the haven of the home shall have to be all the better equipped to handle the ups and downs of the economy and a better refuge from the turbulent modern world.

Happy Homemaking.

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