The Bag Lady was perusing her cookbook shelves and came across a couple of books that had belonged to her mother. She started looking through them (she is easily distracted by almost anything that will allow her to put off what she is actually supposed to be doing…) and decided that she simply had to share some of the information she found there.
The books she found so fascinating were published in the 1940’s, when our nations were either at war or about to go to war, so rationing was prevalent. One of the books has instructions for building a Fireless Cooker, which is a precursor to our modern-day slow cookers! There is a lot more work involved in building your own slow-cooker, but the Bag Lady loves odd and unusual things, so just may have to build one of these (in the summer, mind you – not now, when it’s too cold to spend much time outside.)
There are recipes for things she hopes she never has to eat (the Bag Lady is definitely NOT a fan of organ meats!) like Liver Spoon Cakes, Kidney in Creole Sauce, or Brains and Scrambled Eggs (shudder!). How about Stuffed Heart or Heart Chop Suey? Pickled Tongue?
There are also some rather interesting beverage recipes. Prune Milk, anyone? How about Fruit Jerry, which is avocado, ice cream, milk and carbonated water.
There ARE some recipes that do sound quite appealing. Brazil-nut Pie Shell with Lemon Filling or War-time Beef Stew.
Another of the books is full of household hints. Believe me, ladies, we don’t work half as hard as they did in the 1940’s!! When was the last time you starched anything using home-made starch? Or used a mangle to do your laundry? If we all followed the instructions in this book to clean our homes, we would never rest! Here are some examples:
To remove bathtub stains, first use a cloth moistened with kerosene and rub with a scratchless cleansing powder. Then wash the tub with warm water and cleanser…does anyone out there even have kerosene in their home? (well, okay, the Bag Lady does, but it’s for a lamp we could use if the electricity goes out.)
To clean brass, use salt and vinegar or lemon juice. Rub well. Wash and dry.
To test linen, rub briskly between hands. If a fuzzy nap appears on the surface, the material is part cotton.
To keep your turkeys in their enclosure, clip one wing – the outer wing feathers at the top.
To soften shoe paste, add a little turpentine.
Cleaning – Each Day: Sweep walks and porches; use carpet sweeper over rugs; dust furniture; use dustmop on floors; put rooms in order; brush upholstered furniture. Clean bathtub, kitchen sink and fittings. Clean stove after each use.
Cleaning – Each Week: move each piece of furniture and dust thoroughly. Dust radiators, baseboards, doors and windows. Dust all woodwork, pictures, mirrors, lighting fixtures, electric light bulbs, clothes closets, Venetian blinds, etc. Dust doors and windows outside of the house. Wash and polish bathroom fixtures. Clean the fridge, polish silver, clean pantry, put shelves in order. Clean the stove, including burners and oven, and polish all bright metal parts. Clean the mouthpiece of the telephone, wash and dry door knobs, dust stair rails.
There now. That’s only part of what you should do to keep a proper house. The Bag Lady is exhausted from just typing that out, so she isn’t going to get into what you should do monthly and semi-annually and annually.
She’s going to go mangle some laundry now...