Don’ts for the Homemaker

Source: American Cookery (December, 1917)

Here’s some tips for homemakers that appeared in a cooking magazine called American Cookery a hundred years ago. Not sure how many of these tips still apply. And, are these tips just for homemakers or are they applicable to most anyone?

50 thoughts on “Don’ts for the Homemaker

  1. I used to fuss at my mother for refusing to use her “good” china, crystal, and silver for daily meals — even when she was in her 80s and 90s. I pointed out a few realities — like, “You can’t take it with you” — but she was adamant. Now, I have it, and use it.

  2. I would say that all are important for today, 4, 5 being most important, then 1 and 2, 3 will fall into place much easier. Good advice for many years yet to come!πŸ™‚

    1. hmm. . . Does #5 (don’t neglect your hair) really mean take care of yourself? If so, I also think that #4 (voice appreciation) and #5 are the most important.

  3. Number 1 is definitely still valid for any homemaker today. If we are to take number 3 seriously, the writer should probably find a way to give her advice without the dictatorial ‘Don’t’. πŸ™‚

    1. This reminds me of discussions I used to have with other mothers about whether it was better to state things in a negative or positive way. For example – Is it better to say, “Don’t pull the cat’s tail” or “Pet the cat gently on its head.”?

    1. It’s so much fun the way they worded things back them. I think that my pug looks the about the same as it did 10 or 15 years ago (though I’ve had it shorter once or twice in the middle).

        1. I like to think that we’ve figured out our signature hairstyles and lipstick colors, though maybe it really means that we’re just getting older. πŸ™‚

    1. One thing that I really enjoy about reading old magazines is that I get to directly see how people thought about things back then.

    1. And, more of the comments address hairstyle than any of the other pieces of advice. It might seem somewhat shallow, but hairstyle is obviously important. πŸ™‚

  4. Made me cringe! Housewives had enough to contend with without having to live up to the standards of these magazines. That being said, I have fallen under that pressure when I was a young wife and mother and working woman reading the Woman’s Day and Family Circle of my day.

    1. In some ways it makes me cringe, too. It does seem like there was an underlying assumption that housewives were trying to please someone else. I tend to avoid looking at style magazines because they make feel fat. πŸ™‚

    1. For me, it would depend upon how radically I changed my hairstyle. If I dyed my hair green, people would notice – but I’m not sure that it would be in a good way.

  5. I think it’s sound advice for anyone, except for the hair. Personally, I don’t change my hair style that often, and when I do, it’s because of my own preference, and not to please anyone else. But I especially like the advice to use your “good” stuff for everyday with family.

    1. I agree- sometimes it’s hard not to save the “good stuff” for special occasions, but then it often ends up not being used or enjoyed.

  6. I think it’s still sound advice for today, though it’s kind of odd to have appeared in a cooking magazine, especially the hair part. Regarding the hair (which I see is getting a lot of traction in your comments section), I think it’s unfortunate when a woman clings to the same style she had in her youth, though it may not flatter her any longer. I know many women whose entire look would be transformed if they would simply cut off about eight inches and get some layers, or replace the chronic bun for a modern style. At the same time, I recognize that it’s none of my business how a woman chooses to wear her hair. Old habits die hard.

    1. I really liked your description, and can picture several friends and acquaintances who still have the exact hairstyle they had in high school and college. You’re absolutely right, a new hair style would do wonders.

      1. I think the advice is reasonable. However, I have worn the same hair since my teen years when I started putting my hair up in a bun and wearing a prayer cap. 40 years. So I don’t think I can have anything to say about another’s hair currency or not. Hahaha. Though sometimes I side part, sometimes middle part, sometimes none!

        1. In my book different ways of parting hair counts as different styles. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to move my part – and it always gravitates back to about the same spot in the middle. πŸ™‚

    1. I bet that there are a lot. I know that I have things that I’ve saved to use for company. And, that my mother also saved things for company that were never used in her lifetime – and which ended up often looking tattered just from being stored for so long.

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