Mother and Housewife
By MARION MILLS MILLER, Litt D.
Edited by THEODORE WATERS
THE SINGLE WOMAN
Her Freedom. Culture a desideratum in her choice of work.
Daughters as assistants of their fathers. In law. In
medicine. As scientific farmers. Preparation for speaking or
writing. Steps in the career of a journalist. The editor. The
Advertising writer. The illustrator. Designing book covers.
THE SINGLE WOMAN
Teaching. Teaching Women in Society. Parliamentary law.
Games. Book-reviewing. Manuscript-reading for publishers.
Library work. Teaching music and painting. Home study of
professional housework. The unmarried daughter at home. The
woman in business. Her relation to her employer. Securing an
increase of salary. The woman of independent means. Her civic
and social duties.
Nature's intention in marriage. The woman's crime in marrying
for support. Her blunder in marrying an inefficient man for
love. The proper union. Mutual aid of husband and wife.
Manipulating a husband. By deceit. By tact. Confidence
between man and wife.
Element in choice of a home. The city apartment. Furniture
for a temporary home. Couches. Rugs. Book-cases. The suburban
and country house. Economic considerations. Buying an old
house. Building a new one. Supervising the building. The
Essential parts of a house. Double use of rooms. Utility of
piazzas. Landscape gardening. Water supply. Water power.
Illumination. Dangers from gas. How to read a gas-meter. How
to test kerosene. Care of lamps. Use of candles. Making the
best of the old house.
FURNITURE AND DECORATION
The qualities to be sought in furniture. Home-made furniture.
Semi-made furniture. Good furniture as an investment.
Furnishing and decorating the hall. The staircase. The
parlor. Rugs and carpets. Oriental rugs. Floors. Treatment of
hardwood. Of other wood. How to stain a floor covering.
FURNITURE AND DECORATION
The carpet square. Furniture for the parlor. Parlor
decoration. The piano. The library. Arrangement of books. The
"Den." The living-room. The dining-room. Bedrooms. How to
make a bed. The guest chamber. Window shades and blinds.
Nursing the child. The mother's diet. Weaning. The nursing
bottle. Milk for the baby. The baby's table manners. His
bath. Cleansing his eyes and nose. Relief of colic. Care of
The school child. Breakfast, Luncheon, Supper. Aiding the
teacher at home. Manual training. Utilizing the collecting
mania. Physical exercise. Intellectual exercise. Forming the
bath habit. Teething. Forming the toothbrush habit. Shoes for
children. Dress. Hats.
CARE OF THE PERSON
The mother's duty toward herself—Her dress. Etiquette
and good manners. The Golden Rule. Pride in personal
appearance. The science of beauty culture. Manicuring as a
home employment. Recipes for toilet preparations.
Nail-biting. Fragile nails. White spots. Chapped hands. Care
of the skin. Facial massage. Recipes for skin lotions.
Treatment of facial blemishes and disorders. Care of the
hair. Diseases of the scalp and hair. Gray hair. Care of
eyebrows and eyelashes.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF COOKING
The prevalence of good receipts for all save meat dishes.
Increased cost of meat makes these desirable. No need to save
expense by giving up meat. The "Government Cook Book." Value
of the cuts of meat.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF COOKING
Texture and flavor of meat. General methods of cooking meat.
Economies in use of meat.
RECIPES FOR MEAT DISHES
Trying out fat. Extending the flavor of meat. Meat stew. Meat
dumplings. Meat pies and similar dishes. Meat with starchy
materials. Turkish pilaf. Stew from cold roast. Meat with
beans. Haricot of mutton. Meat salads. Meat with eggs. Roast
beef with Yorkshire pudding. Corned beef hash with poached
eggs. Stuffing. Mock duck. Veal or beef birds. Utilizing the
cheaper cuts of meat.
RECIPES FOR MEAT DISHES
Prolonged cooking at low heat. Stewed shin of beef. Boiled
beef with horseradish sauce. Stuffed heart. Braised beef, pot
roast, and beef a la mode. Hungarian goulash. Casserole
cookery. Meat cooked with vinegar. Sour beef. Sour beefsteak.
Pounded meat. Farmer stew. Spanish beefsteak. Chopped meat.
Savory rolls. Developing flavor of meat. Retaining natural
flavors. Round steak on biscuits. Flavor of browned meat or
fat. Salt pork with milk gravy. "Salt-fish dinner." Sauces.
Various recipes arranged alphabetically.
What a tribute to the worth of woman are the names by which
she is enshrined in common speech! What tender associations
halo the names of wife, mother, sister and
daughter! It must never be forgotten that the dearest,
most sacred of these names, are, in origin, connected with
the dignity of service. In early speech the wife, or wife-man
(woman) was the "weaver," whose care it was to clothe the
family, as it was the husband's duty to "feed" it, or to
provide the materials of sustenance. The mother or matron was
named from the most tender and sacred of human functions, the
nursing of the babe; the daughter from her original duty, in
the pastoral age, of milking the cows. The lady was so-called
from the social obligations entailed on the prosperous woman,
of "loaf-giving," or dispensing charity to the less
fortunate. As dame, madame, madonna, in the old days of
aristocracy, she bore equal rank with the lord and master,
and carried down to our better democratic age the
co-partnership of civic and family rights and duties.
Modern science and invention, civic and economic progress,
the growth of humanitarian ideas, and the approach to
Christian unity, are all combining to give woman and woman's
work a central place in the social order. The vast machinery
of government, especially in the new activities of the
Agricultural and Labor Departments applied to investigations
and experiments into the questions of pure food, household
economy and employments suited to woman, is now directed more
than ever before to the uplifting of American homes and the
assistance of the homemakers. These researches are at the
call of every housewife. However, to save her the
bewilderment of selection from so many useful suggestions,
and the digesting of voluminous directions, the fundamental
principles of food and household economy as published by the
government departments, are here presented, with the
permission of the respective authorities, together with many
other suggestions of utilitarian character which may assist
the mother and housewife to a greater fulfillment of her
office in the uplift of the home.
THE SINGLE WOMAN
Her Freedom—Culture a Desideratum in Her Choice of
Work—Daughters as Assistants of Their Fathers—In
Law—In Medicine—As Scientific
Farmers—Preparation for Speaking or Writing—Steps
in the Career of a Journalist—The Editor—The
Advertising Writer—The Illustrator—Designing Book
She, keeping green
Love's lilies for the one unseen,
Counselling but her woman's heart,
Chose in all ways the better part.
BENJAMIN HATHAWAY—By the Fireside.
The question of celibacy is too large and complicated to be
here discussed in its moral and sociological aspects. It is a
condition that confronts us, must be accepted, and the best
made of it. Whether by economic compulsion or personal
preference, it is a fact that a large number of American men
remain bachelors, and a corresponding number of American
women content themselves with a life of "single blessedness."
It is a tendency of modern life that marriage be deferred
more and more to a later period of maturity. Accordingly the
period of spinsterhood is an important one for consideration.
It is a question of individual mental attitude whether the
period be viewed by the single woman as a preparation for
possible marriage, or as the determining of a permanent
condition of life. In either case the problem before her is
to choose, like Mr. Hathaway's heroine, "the better part."
The single woman has an advantage over her married sister in
freedom of choice, of self-improvement, and service to
others. Says George Eliot of the wife, "A woman's lot is made
for her by the love she accepts." The "bachelor girl," on the
other hand, has virtually all the liberty of the man whom her
name indicates that she emulates.
To the unmarried woman, especially the one who may
subsequently marry, education in the broad sense of
self-culture and development is of primary importance. The
question of being should take precedence over doing, although
not to the exclusion of the latter, for character is best
formed by action. But all her studies, occupations, even her
pastimes, should be pursued with the main purpose of making
herself the ideal woman, such an one as Wordsworth describes,
"The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength and skill;
A perfect Woman, nobly planned
To warn, to comfort, and command;
And yet a Spirit still, and bright
With something of angelic light."
It is an obviously true, and therefore a trite observation,
that no one, woman or man, should consider that education
(using the term broadly) stopped with graduation from school
or college. But the statement that a grown person who has not
settled down to some particular life work, such as is often
the case with a young unmarried woman, should continue at
least one serious study, will not be so generally
accepted or acceptable. Yet in no other way may that mental
discipline be obtained which is necessary to the mature
development of character. Neglect to cultivate the ability to
go down to the root of a subject, to observe it in its
relations, and to apply it practically, will inevitably lead
to superficial consideration of every subject, and even
ignorance of the fact that this is superficial consideration.
As a practical result, the person will drift through life
rudderless, the sport of circumstance. She will act by
impulse and chance, and be continually at a loss how to
correct her errors. The shallowness with which women as a
class are charged is due to the fact that, their aim in life
for a considerable period not having been fixed by marriage
or choice of a profession, they do not substitute some
definite interest for such remissness, and so form the habit
of intellectual laziness.
The study which an unmarried and unemployed woman should
pursue may be anything worthy of thought, but preferably a
practical subject at which, if necessary, the woman is ready
to earn her living. Many a family has been saved from
financial ruin by a daughter studying the business or the
profession of the father, and, upon his breakdown from
ill-health, becoming his right-hand assistant, or, in the
case of his death, even taking his place as the family
bread-winner. In these days when farming is becoming more and
more a question of the farmer's management, and less and less
of his personal manual labor, a daughter in a farmer's family
already supplied with one or more housekeepers may, as
legitimately as a son, study the science of agriculture, or
one of its many branches, such as poultry-raising or
dairying, and with as certain a prospect of success. Ample
literature of the most practical and authoritative nature on
every phase of farming may be secured from the Department of
Agriculture at Washington, and the various State universities
offer special mid-winter courses in agriculture available for
any one with a common-school education, as well as send
lecturers to the farmer's institutes throughout the State.
To give examples of women who have made notable successes at
farming and its allied industries would be invidious, since
there are so many of them.
Studies that look to the possibility of the student becoming
a teacher are preeminent in the development of mentality. The
science of psychology is the foundation of the art of
pedagogy, and every woman, particularly one who may some day
be required to teach, should know the operations of the mind,
how it receives, retains, and may best apply knowledge. An
essential companion of this study is physiology, the science
of the nature and functions of the bodily organs, together
with its corollary, hygiene, the care of the health. From
ancient times psychology and physiology have been considered
as equally associated and of prime importance. "A sound mind
in a sound body" is an old Latin proverb. The need of every
one to "know himself," both in mind and body, was taught by
the earliest "Wise Men" of Greece. The Roman emperor Tiberius
said that any one who had reached the age of thirty in
ignorance of his physical constitution was a fool, a thought
that has been modernized, with an unnecessary extension of
the age, into the proverb, "At forty a man is either a fool
or a physician."
The study of psychology is a basis for every employment or
activity which has to deal with enlightenment or persuasion
of the public. The person who would like to become a speaker
or writer needs to begin with it rather than with the study
of elocution or rhetoric. The first thing essential for him
to know is himself; the second, his hearers or
readers—what is the order of progress in their
enlightenment. Even logical development of a subject is
subsidiary to the practical psychological order. Formal
logic, the analysis of the process of reasoning, is a
cultural study rather than a practical one, save in criticism
both of one's own work and another's. More cultural, and at
the same time more practical, is the study of exact reasoning
in the form of some branch of mathematics. Abraham Lincoln,
when he "rode the circuit" as a lawyer, carried with him a
geometry, which he studied at every opportunity. To the
mental training which it gave him was due his success not
only as a lawyer, but also as a political orator. Every one
of his speeches was as complete a demonstration of its theme
as a proposition in Euclid is of its theorem. Lincoln once
said that "demonstration" was the greatest word in the
Delineation of character is the chief element of fiction, and
herein literary aspirants are particularly weak, especially
the women, far more of whom than men try their hand at short
stories and novels, and who are generally without that
preliminary experience in journalism which most of the male
writers have undergone. It is not enough for a novelist to
"know life"; he must also know the literary aspect of life,
must have the imaginative power to select and adapt actual
experiences artistically. Young women who write are prone to
record things "just as they happened." This is a mistake.
Aristotle laid down the fundamental principle of creative
work in his statement that the purpose of art is to fulfil
the incomplete designs of nature—that is, aid nature by
using her speech, yet telling her story the way she ought to
have told it but did not. This is his great doctrine of
The writing of children's stories is peculiarly the province
of the woman author, and here, because of her knowledge of
the mind of the child, she is apt to be most successful. The
best of stories about children and for children have been
written by school-teachers. Of these authors a notable
instance was the late Myra Kelly, whose adaptations in story
form of her experiences as a teacher to the foreign
population of the "East Side" of New York will long remain as
models of their kind.
Journalism is a sufficient field in itself for a woman writer
in which to exercise her ability, as well as a preparation
for creative literary work. The natural way to enter it is by
becoming the local correspondent of one of the newspapers of
the region. In this work good judgment in the choice of items
of news, variety in the manner of stating them, and logical
order in arranging and connecting them should be cultivated.
The writing of good, plain English, rather than "smart"
journalese should be the aim. Stale, vulgar and incorrect
phrases, such as "Sundayed," and "in our midst," should be
avoided. There are two tests in selecting a news item: (1)
Will it interest readers? (2) Ought they to know it? When by
these tests an item is proved to be real news that demands
publication, it should be published regardless of a third
consideration, which is too often made a primary one: Will it
please the persons concerned? This consideration should have
weight only in regard to the manner of its statement. When
the news is disagreeable to the parties concerned, it should
be told with all kindness and charity. Thus the facts of a
crime should be stated, who was arrested for it, etc.; but
there should be no positive statement of the guilt of the one
arrested until this has been legally proved. Many a publisher
has had to pay heavy damages because he has overlooked, or
permitted to be published, an unwarranted statement or
opinion of a reporter or correspondent. But even though there
were no law against libel, the commandment against bearing
false witness holds in ethics.
The woman at home may also become a contributor to the
newspaper. Her first articles should be statements of fact on
practical subjects, such as the results of her own or some
neighbor's experiments in a household matter of general
interest, or reminiscences of matters of local history that
happen to be of current interest. Thus when a new church is
erected, the history of the old one may be properly told.
Here the amateur journalist may practise herself in
After such a preparation as this, one may confidently enter
the active profession of journalism as a reporter, preferably
upon the paper for which she has been writing. Since in
entering any profession opportunity for improvement and
advancement in it is the first consideration, the young
reporter should cheerfully accept the low salary that is paid
beginners. There is no discrimination on account of sex in
the newspaper world. Copy is paid for according to its amount
and quality, regardless of whether it was written by a woman
or a man. Women labor here, as elsewhere, under physical
disabilities in comparison with men, and yet in compensation
they have the advantage over men in their special adaptation
to certain features of newspaper work, such as the
interviewing of women, writing household and fashion
articles, etc. There are more chances for this kind of
special work in large cities, and here the aspiring newspaper
woman may go, when she has proved her ability.
Mrs. Ida Husted Harper, who stands in the front rank of
newspaper women, has tersely stated the duties a woman
reporter must undertake and the sacrifices she must make, as
follows: "The woman who wishes to be a newspaper reporter
should ask herself if she is able to toil from eight to
fifteen hours of the day, seven days in the week; if she is
willing to take whatever assignment may be given; to go
wherever sent, to accomplish what she is delegated to do, at
whatever risk, or rebuff, or inconvenience; to brave all
kinds of weather; to give up the frivolities of dress that
women love and confine herself to a plain serviceable suit;
to renounce practically the pleasures of social life; to put
her relations to others on a business basis; to subordinate
personal desires and eliminate the 'ego'; to be careful
always to disarm prejudice against and create an impression
favorable to women in this occupation; to expect no favors on
account of sex; to submit her work to the same standard by
which a man's is judged."
The salaries earned by women as reporters are, with a few
notable exceptions, not large. As low as $8 and $10 a week
are paid to beginners; from $15 to $25 a week is considered a
fair salary, and $30 a week an exceptionally good one for a
woman who has not received recognition as a thoroughly
It is from the ranks of newspaper women who have gone to the
large cities and made a name for themselves as capable
reporters that the editorial staffs of the magazines are
recruited. As a rule they obtain their introductions by
magazine contributions chiefly of special articles on
subjects in which they have made themselves experts. The
salaries of these positions range from $25 a week for
assistant editors to $50 and upward for the heads of
Book publishers employ women of this class to edit and
compile works upon their specialties. Quite a number of women
in New York earn several thousand dollars a year each at such
work, while continuing their regular editorial labors.
Many newspaper women drift naturally into advertising
writing, which is well-paid for when cleverly done. Since the
goods chiefly advertised are largely for women, women have
the preference as writers of advertisements. Then, too,
manufacturers and advertising agents pay well for ideas
useful in promoting the commodities of themselves or their
clients. Here the woman at home may find out whether she has
special ability as an advertising writer, by thinking out new
and catchy ideas for the promotion of articles which she sees
are widely advertised, and mailing these to the
manufacturers. It is well if she have artistic ability, so
that she may make designs of the ideas, though this is not
It is the advertising columns of the newspapers and
magazines, even more than the reading matter, which give a
demand for work in illustration. To the woman who has talent
rather than genius in drawing, illustration and commercial
art afford a far safer field, in respect to remuneration,
than the making of oil-paintings and water-colors. If ability
in drawing is conjoined with ability in designing and writing
advertisements, the earnings are more than doubled. Since
payment for the individual drawing is more customary than
employing an artist at a fixed salary, illustrating and the
designing of advertisements can be done at home. There are
many young girls just out of the art-school who earn from $25
to $50 a week by such "piece-work."
Akin to this work is the designing of book-covers, for which
publishers pay from $15 to $25 each.
Of a more mechanical nature is making the drawings for
commercial catalogues, and the prices paid are low, $9 a week
being the rule for beginners. Designers of patterns, etc.,
for various manufacturers receive a similar amount at first.
They may hope, after several years of experience, to rise to
$25 a week, or possibly $30 or $35.
THE SINGLE WOMAN
Teaching—Teaching Women in Society—Parliamentary
for Publishers—Library Work—Teaching Music and
Painting—Home Study of Professional Housework—The
Unmarried Daughter at Home—The Woman in
Business—Her Relation to Her Employer—Securing an
Increase of Salary—The Woman of Independent
Means—Her Civic and Social Duties.
Teaching is a profession that is particularly the province of
the unmarried woman. The best teachers are those who have
chosen it as their life-work, and have therefore thoroughly
prepared themselves for it. A girl who takes a school
position merely for the money that there is in it, expecting
to give it up in a year or so, when she hopes to marry, is
inflicting a grievous wrong on the children under her charge.
There are other remunerative employments where her lack of
serious intention will not be productive of lasting injury.
Lack of preparation for teaching generally goes with this
lack of intention, doubling the injury. Against this the
examination for the school certificate is not always a
sufficient safeguard, since many girls are clever enough to
"cram up" sufficiently to pass the examination who have not
had the perseverance necessary to master the subjects they
are to teach, not to speak of that interest in the broad
subject of pedagogy, without which the application of its
principles in teaching the various branches is certain to be
neglected. Enthusiasm in her profession, a whole-hearted
interest in each pupil as an individual personality should
characterize every teacher, for next to the mother, she plays
the most important part in the development of the coming
There is a general complaint that the salaries of
school-teachers are too low, measured by the rewards of
persons of corresponding ability in other professions. When,
however, the certainty of pay and the virtual assurance that
the employment is for life if good service is rendered, are
considered, together with the respect accorded the teacher by
the community and the fact that her work necessarily tends to
the cultivation of her mind, the lot of the school-teacher
must be reckoned as one of the most favored. Americans are
more prone than any other people to spend money on education,
and this spirit is ever increasing, so that the
school-teacher is more certain than the member of any other
profession that she will be rewarded worthily in the future.
The establishment of the Carnegie pension fund for retired
college professors is an indication of this growing spirit,
as well as the recent advance of the salaries of public
school teachers in New York City and elsewhere, in
recognition of the increase in the cost of living.
To the bright woman who is interested in the study of civics,
political economy, and sociology, there is opportunity to
earn a living at home by organizing classes in these subjects
among the club-women of her town. Teachers of parliamentary
law are in especial demand. The organization of a mock
congress for parliamentary practise is the most entertaining
as well as the most improving play in which women can join.
There is also a demand among women who seek an intellectual
element in their recreation for instruction in the games of
bridge-whist, whist, and chess. Bridge-whist is the most
popular, largely because of the desire to win money and
valuable prizes at the game. Then, too, a greater amount of
time is spent at it than is legitimate for recreation. For
moral reasons, therefore, the teaching of it cannot be
recommended. Straight whist is also played occasionally for
money, but this practise, happily, is rapidly becoming
obsolete. Chess, except among professionals, is played purely
for sport, and is therefore the best of games to study.
Unfortunately there is very little demand for instruction in
it by women; nevertheless, it is the best of all games for
cultivating the analytical power of the mind, a faculty in
which women, as a rule, are weak.
This power may, with equal pleasure and greater profit, be
gained by paying special attention, in the reading of books
and magazines, to literary style and construction. The
average reader assimilates only a small percentage of what he
reads. The careful thought which the author puts into his
manner of presentation, no less than into the matter, is
appreciated by very few of his readers, and by these only to
a limited extent. Especially is this true of fiction. If one
wishes to become an author, he should first cultivate this
power of criticism, always accompanying the study by
exercises in reconstruction of faults in the author read.
Thus, wherever a sentence appears awkward in expression, the
reader should revise it; wherever there is a seeming error in
the logical development of a subject, or the psychological
development of a fictitious character, he should reconstruct
it. Nothing is so helpful to a writer as self-criticism. Thus
Mrs. Humphrey Ward has recently confessed that the happy
ending of her "Lady Rose's Daughter" was an artistic error,
false to psychology, her heroine being doomed to unhappiness
by her character. After creating his characters, and placing
them in situations where their individuality has proper scope
for action, the author must let them work out their own
salvation. A thoroughly artistic work is marked throughout by
the quality of "the inevitable," and for this the reader
should always be seeking. There is no surer indication of
shallowness than the desire to read only about pleasant
subjects and characters and events. It is akin to the habit
of ignoring the existence of everything disagreeable in life,
which Dickens has satirized in his character, Mr. Podsnap.
And "Podsnappery" exists among women even more than among
men, because of their more sensitive emotional nature. If
women are to join with men in making the world better, they
must not blink at the misery and vice about them, and the
evil elements in human nature and society which produce
these. To be good and brave is better for a grown woman than
to be "sweet" and "innocent," in the limited sense of these
terms. A woman, like a man, should, "see life steadily, and
see it whole."
The foundation of a critical habit in reading has a practical
bearing, inasmuch as it is a direct training for the
positions of book-reviewer and manuscript reader for magazine
and book publishers. Since women read more than men, the
woman's view of a manuscript is often preferred by
publishers. Therefore there are more women than men in the
position of literary adviser. These are paid salaries ranging
from $25 to $50 a week. Manuscripts are read by the piece for
from $3 to $5 each. Book reviews are paid for at all prices,
from the possession of the book alone to the payment of a
cent a word. It is best for the aspiring critic to practice
herself on book reviews first. In these she can with profit
display her power to analyze the artistic construction of
books, and so develop her abilities as a manuscript reader.
The knowledge of books and the ability to digest their
contents are necessary to the making of a library worker, an
employment which the great increase in libraries, through the
benefaction of Andrew Carnegie and others, is offering to
thousands of American women. The salaries are low, but in
considering entering upon the work, weight should be given to
the opportunities for literary knowledge and culture it
affords and its refined surroundings. The making of a
descriptive catalogue of the home library, using the card
index system, forms an ideal test for the young woman who is
uncertain whether she has the taste and ability required in
this sort of work. To the student in the home, even though
she intends to follow some other vocation, such as teaching
or writing, such an inventory of her intellectual store-house
will be invaluable. It matters not how small the library is,
for "intensive cultivation" is as profitable in mental
culture as in agriculture.
Even such accomplishments as music and painting are most
cultural when pursued as if the intention of the student were
to teach them. Knowledge of technique and of the methods by
which its difficulties are overcome is the foundation of all
appreciation of art. The only true connoisseur is the one who
can enter into the delight felt by the artist in creating his
work. Exercise leads to invention. The ancients well said
that the contortions of the sibyl generated her inspiration.
Critics have been sneeringly defined as "those who have
failed in literature and art," but this is not true of the
greatest critics, who never carried their creative work to
the point of success simply because they had found a better
vocation in criticism before reaching such a point. What a
loss to the world it would have been had Ruskin developed
into a painter, even a great one, instead of the master
interpreter and teacher of painting that he did become!
Household employments, such as cooking, needlework, etc., as
vocations for the unmarried woman, no less than the married,
need only be mentioned here, as their appropriateness for the
girl at home is obvious, and they are fully discussed
elsewhere in this series. It should be suggested, however,
that the greater leisure of the unmarried woman enables her
to try experiments in these subjects while the married
housewife is too fully occupied by the routine of her duties
to undertake them. Indeed, if a woman become a notable cook
after marriage, it is often a sign that she is not a notable
wife or mother.
It is an old saying that,
"My son's my son till he gets him a wife,
But my daughter's my daughter all her life."
By the common bond of sex, a daughter is her mother's natural
companion in sympathy, however separated from her in
distance. Therefore, when she lives at home, what a special
obligation is there to be her mother's comfort and
dependence! Even though she acquire greater skill in
household affairs, she should still resign herself to the
subordinate place of assistant.
The thought that she is becoming useless is the chief dread
of a woman who has been a managing worker all her life, and
her daughter should carefully avoid bringing this to her
mind, indeed, should so act that the ageing mother retains
the management of the house, even though her labors diminish.
In respect to the direction of children, the elder daughter
should take a hint from the manner in which the
school-teacher supplements rather than supplants the mother
in her care of the young people, leading to a difference in
the kind of regard which these feel for them. The sister
should always consider herself simply as the eldest, most
experienced of the children, and so the natural monitor of
the group, and, when necessary, the mediator with the
In a similar fashion the unmarried woman should act toward
her neighbors who are wives and mothers. In matters where the
interests of children and households are of chief concern she
should resign the leadership to the married women, and, after
them, to the professional teachers. Religious, social, and
civic matters, wherein as a church member and a citizen she
is on an equal footing with wives and teachers, afford her
ample scope for exercising her instinct for leadership.
Every unmarried woman who lives alone should, whether or not
she possess an income, have a vocation. Earnings and wages
are not alone good in themselves, but are an additional
gratification, in that they supply a proof that the earner's
service is of worth to the world. Some day, when social
conditions are so adjusted that economic competition is
really free, and wealth cannot be obtained save by service,
money will be a proper measure of standing in the community.
It is all the more a duty now, both to herself, her class,
and to society, that the woman who works should contend to
the last cent for her part of the wealth that is created by
the business in which she is engaged. Where her work is equal
to a man's, she should contend for wages equal to his; where
it is inferior, she should be willing to accept less; where
superior, she should demand more. In these matters women are
apt to be either too complaisant or too clamorous. They
should first be sure that they are justified in their claims,
and then, if right, be firm in their demands, and, if wrong,
be resigned to abandon them. The law of supply and demand
acting in the labor market allots wages between workers with
natural justice—certainly more equitably than the
interested opinion either of employer or employee.
It will be seen that the woman in business needs to study the
fundamental elements of political economy even more than the
housewife. Books and magazines are filled with superficial,
obvious advice as to the way in which women as employees
should conduct themselves toward their employers and fellow
workers, but rarely is there a hint given of the actual
rights and obligations of these relations, upon which the
proper conduct is based.
Employment is a business contract between employer and
employee, in which there is no legal or moral obligation for
either party to exceed the terms. Owing to an over-supply of
labor, wages may be exceedingly low, even down to the
starvation point, but for this condition the employer, if he
be not also a monopolist, is not responsible. Indeed, as
employer, his presence in the labor market as an element of
demand raises the market wage. In fact, it is only by his
increasing his business that he can raise wages. If he pay
more to his employees than he needs to, or is profitable for
him, this increase is not real wages, but a gratuity,
something no self-respecting person likes to take. Some other
class in society created this condition, and it is this class
that the low-paid workers should blame, and, as citizens,
take measures against, not the employers. Indeed, they should
consider these as their natural allies in making better
Accordingly, the woman in business should have sympathy for
her employer, who owing to the prevalent condition of
shackled competition has troubles of his own. She should aid
him by loyal, efficient work, thus, and only thus,
establishing a moral claim upon him to recognize her loyalty
in kind. Personal relations, except of this nature, should
not be sought by the employee, particularly if she is a
woman. Outside of the office or shop she may meet and treat
her employer as a fellow citizen and member of society, under
the common rights of citizenship and the proper social rules,
but in business hours she should obey the strict ethics of
business. Thus she may don what dress she will when her work
is done, adopt all the eccentricities of fashion she pleases,
but she should wear with cheerfulness, and even pride, the
simple dress prescribed, for good and sufficient reasons, as
her working costume. Even when no such regulations are made,
her good sense and taste should lead her to adopt a modest,
practical working dress, simple mode of arranging the hair,
etc. This is always agreeable to customers, and it is by
pleasing these she best pleases her employer.
Stenographers and secretaries have a special obligation to
keep sacred the confidences of their employers. If they find
that in so doing they are made instruments in perpetrating
frauds on other business men, or the community in general,
they have no right to expose these. Their only proper course
is to resign their positions, holding sacred, however, the
knowledge gained while acting as employees. It is only when
formally relieved of this obligation by legal compulsion to
testify in court that they may reveal this knowledge.
While it is the custom of an employer to demand references of
the employee, and not give them for himself, the only safe
course for a woman seeking employment is to look into the
character of the man for whom she is to work, and the nature
of his business. This she may do indirectly in the case of
character, and directly in the case of nature of business. If
the employer refuses to impart this, saying, "Your work will
be to do whatever I ask you," it is a blind, and therefore
dangerous contract into which you are entering, and you
should withdraw from it in time.
When an employee has proved her efficiency, and has seen that
it is producing an amount of returns to the business of which
she is not receiving her proportionate share, it is her right
and duty to ask for an increase in wages. If she fails to
receive this, she should investigate the conditions in the
labor market of her class, and guide her action accordingly.
If she finds that there is a demand for workers of her
ability at the higher wage, she should again proffer her
request to her employer, with a statement of this fact. If he
still refuses the increase, she should resign her position,
upon proper notice, and seek employment elsewhere.
When the unmarried woman employs herself in free service for
the public good there will be no need for her to contend for
the proper returns, which will be the love and respect of the
community, given her in full measure. In comparison with
these rewards, the honors of club president and society
leader, for which many women contend with a rivalry that
surpasses in bitterness contests for political honors among
men, are mean and empty. The words of the Master to His
disciples, that he who would be first among them should be
servant to his fellows, should be taken to heart by American
women, before whom are opening new and vast opportunities for
the display of pride and ambition no less than for modest,
Nature's Intention in Marriage—The Woman's Crime in
Marrying for Support—Her Blunder in Marrying an
Inefficient Man for Love—The Proper Union—Mutual
Aid of Husband and Wife—Manipulating a Husband—By
Deceit—By Tact—Confidence Between Man and Wife.
"Her very soul is in home, and in the discharge of all those
quiet virtues of which home is the centre. Her husband will
be to her the object of all her care, solicitude and
affection. She will see nothing but by him, and through him.
If he is a man of sense and virtue, she will sympathize in
his sorrows, divert his fatigue, and share his pleasures. If
she becomes the property of a churlish or negligent husband,
she will suit his taste also, for she will not long survive
his unkindness."—SIR WALTER
Marriage is the crown of woman's life, a dignity that is all
the more honorable because it is of general expectation and
realization. There is a presumption that the unmarried woman
has missed the central and significant reason for her
existence, the perpetuation and nurture of the race, and that
the burden is upon her for compensating society by other
services for this lost opportunity. Marriage for a woman
means attainment first and fulfilment after, the reward given
in advance of labor, and therefore entailing a special moral
obligation that it be justified in its fruits. Nature gives
the future mother peace of mind, rest from doubt as to career
and from responsibility as to breadwinning, in order that she
may tranquilly devote herself to her special function as the
maker of the home.
The fact that in the normal home the wife is relieved from
the necessity of earning the living of the home sometimes has
the effect of making her careless about expenditure. The
thoughtless wife, and here thoughtless means selfish, assumes
that the problem of providing is "up to" the husband and
takes no care to aid him in its solution. If the suggestion
of her being a burden to him ever does cross her mind, she is
ready to excuse herself by consolatory sayings such as "Two
can live cheaper than one," the truth of which, though
universal when every wife was a producer of such things as
clothing that are now bought is now the case only in
agricultural homes, and even there has lost a great deal of
its force. Men do not marry now, as they once did, for
economic reasons, but rather in spite of them, for the higher
rewards of love and companionship of wife and children, and
this the wife should recognize by giving her husband the
things for which he has made his economic sacrifice. In the
old days a man who did not marry paid for his liberty by loss
of physical comfort and wealth. Thus Hesiod, one of the
earliest Greek poets, in his Farmer's Almanac called "Works
and Days," coupled the marrying of a wife with the purchase
of a yoke of oxen and a plow as the first things needful in
beginning to farm, and this in despite of the fact that he
was a woman-hater.
Now it is the woman who is tempted to marry for economic
reasons, to be certain of material support while she
exercises herself in those household avocations and social
pleasures which constitute the main activities of women. This
is a legitimate consideration only when the interest of the
man is also taken into account. Marriage to a man whom she
does not love is a crime for any woman; giving falsely the
offerings of love for material things is harlotry even though
legitimated by vows and ceremonies.
On the other hand, marriage for love to a man who cannot
support her is a sad mistake for a woman who is not able or
willing to take the place of breadwinner, for such a union
defeats its own purpose. Therefore, in kindness to the man as
well as to herself, such a woman should satisfy herself that
he can support her, not necessarily in "the style to which
she has been accustomed," but in the style necessary for her
to perform the duties of homemaker and mother. Those
marriages are the happiest where a wife can also enter into
sympathy with her husband's business ambitions in particular
and ideals of life in general. Here she is peculiarly his
helpmate. He can hire a housekeeper, but not a companion of
A girl properly reared will naturally be drawn to a man
complementary to her in character—not "opposite," as is
so often said. Opposition implies antagonism, which would be
the ruin of home life. The term complementary implies
similarity in the main elements of character with adaptable
differences. Good qualities, such as strength and delicacy,
may complement each other, but not evil and good qualities,
such as brutality and tenderness. As Scott says in the
quotation at the head of this chapter, a tender wife may suit
the taste of a churlish husband, but only by not long
surviving his unkindness. While such opposition may not
result in actual death, it certainly leads to the demise of
all that makes life worth living.
A woman should not expect to find a perfect husband. Indeed,
her chief usefulness to him will be in her strengthening his
weak points, and cultivating his right inclinations until
they are confirmed habits. Yet in this work she should
realize the imperfections in herself, and respond to the
similar aid he gives her by his example and suggestions.
Mutual aid is the great bond of marriage, as it is of all
Women, from their weaker condition, have from ages past been
trained to gain their desires from men by indirection. In the
worst form, this appears as deceit; in the best, as tact.
Laying aside the moral aspect, deceit is always unwise in a
wife, since, in time, it defeats its own end. Many a woman
thinks that she is deceiving her husband, since she wins her
points, when he thoroughly recognizes her machinations, and
accedes to them without contest simply for peace in the
household, acquiring a feeling of moral superiority to her
which, though it may be tolerant, is nevertheless
contemptuous. But when she employs loving tact, especially in
the improvement of her husband's habits and traits, even
though he realizes it, he is at heart grateful for it, and
proud of his wife's superiority in these points.
In those matters where the characters of husband and wife are
strong enough to permit frankness, this should always be
employed. In all the grave problems of life there should be
perfect confidence between the pair who have taken the solemn
vows of wedlock. Any third party that enjoys a superior
confidence with one of them, whether relative or friend, even
the pastor or family physician, is the man invoked against in
the marriage charge, who "puts them asunder." Where unhappily
the husband is irreligious and the wife is forced to seek
confidential help and consolation of her spiritual adviser,
she should strictly limit these to religious matters, else
she will grow apart from her husband. George Moore, in his
collection of stories entitled, "The Untilled Field,"
presents the propensity of women in Ireland to run to the
priest for guidance on every question, as the chief cause of
their domestic tragedies. In America the family physician is
as apt as the pastor to be made the recipient of such
confidences, with evil results where he is not wise enough to
advise that the husband is the proper person to whom the wife
Elements in Choice of a Home—The City
Apartment—Furniture for a Temporary
Suburban and Country House—Economic
Considerations—Buying an Old House—Building a New
One—Supervising the Building—The Woman's Wishes.
Of love, of joy, of peace and plenty: where,
Supporting and supported, polished friends
And dear relations mingle into bliss.
JAMES THOMSON—The Seasons
When husband and wife are truly mated, they form a
co-partnership in the building of the home. In this work the
man, occupied with his business, must leave a large part of
the direction, even in material things, to the woman. And
these material things are of primary consideration, as they
are apt to be in every problem of life. The happiness of home
is immediately and always dependent on the kind of a house
used for dwelling and its equipment for utility and comfort.
The first thing to be considered is the location of the home.
The choice of a good neighborhood, from both social and
sanitary viewpoints, is essential. Good neighbors are almost
as necessary as good air and good drainage. Even before the
children have come, it is a limitation on the function of a
home for husband and wife to be forced to seek social life
entirely outside the neighborhood. If charity (that is,
loving, helpful associations) begins at home, it certainly
does not stop at the threshold, or leap therefrom over those
nearest us. The best citizens are those who take a human
interest in the people of their street, or ward, or village,
for influence in civic reform is dependent on neighborliness.
Children are good citizens in this respect by nature. Limited
to association with children of the neighborhood, they form
an affection for their playmates, which may lead to good or
evil results, as these playmates are moral or vicious in
their tendencies. Therefore, at the formative period of
character children should be guarded from the debasing
influences of improper companions, as well as such
institutions as saloons and low dance-halls which are
generally found to be the local causes of bad neighbors.
Of course, a neighborhood should be selected where there are
good public schools, churches, and allied institutions for
education and culture. It is always a loss to a child in this
democratic country to be educated in a private school, and
yet, especially in cities, careful parents are often
compelled to resort to private instruction for their girls
and boys because of the lack of refining influences in the
public schools. This is why it is often better for families,
when the father works in the city, to live in the suburbs,
where, as a rule, the best public schools are to be found.
But it may not be feasible to live out of the city,
especially in the first years of married life, and therefore
the home life must begin in an apartment. The same sanitary
considerations that obtain in choice of a neighborhood are
essential in the choice of a flat. Good air, light, space,
proper plumbing, and general cleanness are to be sought.
Owing to the general demand for these advantages, and a
limited supply of them which is due to economic conditions
prevailing in our cities, they unfortunately require money,
therefore, the flat-seeker is compelled to do the best he can
with that part of his income which he may safely appropriate
for rent. As a rule, this amount is not more than one-fourth
When an apartment house has been properly built, and the
walls are settled and the plastering dry, it generally comes
up to the standard of comfort and health. Here the latest
improvements in plumbing will be apt to be found, and there
will be no danger of vermin. Then, too, a concession is more
apt to be made by the landlord, who is anxious to secure
tenants, by remission of a month's or a fortnight's rent, to
be taken out after the first month. The landlord of such a
house is also readier than the owner of an old one to make
decorations, and even alterations, to suit the taste of the
The walls in the kitchen should be painted rather than
papered, and other parts of the flat designed primarily for
utility. Since light is the great desideratum, the paint, as
a rule, should be light in color, though soft and tinted in
tone for restfulness to the eye. Where wallpaper is used, it
should have the same characteristics. Fanciful designs should
be avoided. Indeed, plain paper forms the best base for
artistic color schemes in the decoration of rooms, the
variety in which is best obtained by the choice of furniture
and pictures and other wall ornaments.
When there is a prospect that living in apartments will be
only a temporary arrangement, the furniture should be chosen
with a view to its adaptability for a house. Thus
folding-beds should be avoided, and other articles that gain
space by complexity, however ingenious. Simplicity is the
quality to be desired. Thus if the exigency of space requires
that a living room by day be converted into a sleeping room,
a couch should be bought for it, instead of a folding bed. It
will then serve the purpose of a sofa as well as a bed. If it
is a box couch, further economy will be gained by its use as
a place to store the bedclothes. But the simplest of all
arrangements is a divan bed, formed of springs and mattress
alone, and supported on legs nailed to the corners of the
spring-frame. Over it a cover should be thrown during the
day, and the pillows in use, if there is not room for them
elsewhere, should be slipped into covers harmonious in color
with the couch drapery. Such a reclining and sleeping couch
may also be used in bedrooms, although an iron or brass
bedstead gives an appearance of neatness and personal privacy
that is desirable in such chambers.
Where there is lack of closet space and lockers, trunks can
be utilized in a flat for storing things. Steamer trunks that
can be placed beneath the beds and couches are therefore the
best kind to buy. They can also be readily converted into
window seats by making pads of cotton batting to fit the
tops, and placing over them covers and pillow cushions
harmonious with the decoration of the room. Long flat
"wardrobe trunks" are sold, which contain at one end rods for
hanging clothes, so that, when stood up on the other end
against the wall they serve as wardrobes. They always look,
however, like makeshifts, and so are more useful in
travelling than in the home.
Rugs are more desirable than carpets in a city apartment,
since they can be more readily cleaned, and, in case of
moving to another flat or a house in the suburbs, will be
more adaptable to the new situation.
Bookcases in a temporary home should be of the unit system,
where each shelf is a separate box enabling the books to be
moved without repacking, and permitting rearrangement to suit
the new situation, or the acquisition of new books. Where,
however, the lower part of wall space is desired to give room
for articles of furniture such as couches, shelves can be
built, beginning at four and one-half or five feet above the
floor. Mr. Edwin Markham, the poet, whose home overflows with
books, has greatly economized space by building for them a
broad lower shelf, about eighteen inches wide, and, three
inches above this, another shelf twelve inches wide, and,
three inches above this, a third six inches wide. When these
are filled with books the titles of all are exposed, and, by
taking out the volume or two immediately in front, a volume
on one of the back shelves is readily obtained. Thus, by
walking about his room, Mr. Markham can look with level eyes
for the book he wants, and procure it without recourse to a
chair or stepladder. This plan of banking books also lends
itself to a decorative arrangement of them.
Except in matters such as these, where economy is imperative,
the furnishing of a city apartment does not differ
essentially from that of a house, and the reader is therefore
referred to the discussion of this in the following pages.
The suburban, village, or country home differs from the city
apartment, or even city house, in that it has been built
without the primary consideration of space. It is separated
from other houses, even though by the narrowest space of
green lawn, that gives a house the individuality and
independence without which it is hard for it to gather the
associations of home. Even when a detached house is found in
a city, its architecture is generally hampered by its
adaptation to its narrow grounds. It rarely has that rounded
development of character which is as desirable in a home as
in a person.
In selecting a rented home in the suburbs, the cost of the
husband's transportation to and from the city should be added
to the rent to keep this within the proper ratio to income,
just as the difference in price of provisions should be
considered in that portion allotted to food. Provisions, even
country produce, are often dearer in suburban communities
than in the city, and less saving can be made by close
marketing, because the farmers and gardeners find it more
profitable to send their produce to the center of greatest
demand, and therefore of readiest sale, even though it costs
more for transportation than to the smaller markets near by.
So suburban grocers and provision men are wont to buy in the
city markets, and add the cost of transportation back from
the city, and an additional profit for the transaction, to
the price to the consumer.
Owing to the close competition for householders among
real-estate men, it is now almost as easy to purchase a
suburban home as it is to rent one, and it is therefore
advisable to do this. The interest on purchase, and the fixed
charges of taxes, insurance, water rent, etc., should be
counted as rent, but a higher percentage of income may be
safely allotted to these than to rent proper, since the
purchase is also an investment. As a rule, the increase of
land value near a growing city will considerably exceed the
diminution in the value of the improvements. Indeed, owing to
the constant advance of cost of building material in recent
years, there is often enhancement rather than depreciation in
the house value.
For these economic reasons it is advisable to buy an old
house when its cost is less than the cost of constructing a
new one of the same desirability. The home-seeker, however,
should curb his propensity to make extensive alterations,
for, one leading to another, he will find at the end (if he
ever reaches it) that he has virtually built a new house at a
cost greater than he could afford.
On the other hand, he should avoid those houses built on
speculation to sell. In these a showy appearance is gained at
the expense of durability of construction, and the purchaser
will find that he must pay in plumbing, coal bills, and
general repairs an amount he had not calculated upon as
interest on the home, for, unless he rebuilds the house at
ruinous expense, these will be annual charges.
The most satisfactory way, and the one leading to great
enjoyment in satisfying the "nest-building" instinct which
possesses newly mated people no less than birds, is for the
owners themselves to plan and superintend the building of the
home. There is an infinite variety of architectural plans
spread before the homeseeker in books and magazines. An
examination of these will be of great value to him in
clarifying his hazy ideas, but he should not settle upon any
one of them without expert opinion. He should employ a local
architect, or at least a builder with practical architectural
ideas, to examine every feature of the plan selected as
nearest the homeseeker's ideal, and revise it according to
local conditions, cost and availability of material, etc.
Money is always well spent that relieves one of
responsibility, enabling him to say thereafter, "Well, I did
every thing I could to have the thing done properly."
The woman's wish should be paramount in planning the
building. The home is her workshop, and she should have every
convenience she requires to do her work properly. Things that
appear of minor importance to a man, the architect and
builder no less than her husband, are to her most vital. What
pockets are to a man or business woman in clothes, closets
and shelves are to a woman in her house, and yet she usually
has to fight for them with the architect as the business
woman does for pockets with her dressmaker. Unless she has
worked out the practicability of her ideas, however, she will
be at a great disadvantage with the experts, and therefore it
is wise for her to make herself as familiar as possible with
the main principles of building and the special details of
the improvements she desires, especially as this knowledge
will be of great use in seeing that the work is done as
ordered. Where she has not acquired this knowledge, and the
husband is either incompetent or not free to undertake this
supervision, it is well to employ a contractor, arranging for
thorough, satisfactory work, and holding him strictly to the
The prime requisite in a house is that it be adapted for home
life, be a comfortable place in which to sleep, cook, eat,
rest and read, talk and laugh, and play and pray; in a word,
in which to do all the work that enables these necessities
and pleasures to be obtained. Next to the comfort of the
family comes that of the outside world. It is desirable,
though not essential, that the home contain facilities for
Essential Parts of a House—Double Use of
Rooms—Utility of Piazzas—Landscape
from Gas—How to Read a Gas-meter—How to Test
Kerosene—Care of Lamps—Use of
Candles—Making the Best of the Old House.
The parts that are desirable in a well-ordered house may be
enumerated as follows: Cellar, the kitchen, the storehouse,
the pantry, the laundry, the dining-room, the living or
sitting-room, the lavatory, the parlor, the hall, the
library, the nursery, the sewing-room, the bedrooms,
including guest chamber, the attic, the piazzas.
Where economy of space must be practiced, storehouse and
pantry may be combined, and nursery and sewing-room; and one
of the family bedrooms may be devoted to the use of the
occasional guest. The hall may be thrown into the parlor. The
parlor may be properly converted into a library and music
room, although when the father is of retiring literary
tastes, he should have a "den" of his own, where he may read
and smoke in peace.
The parlor is too often wasted space in a house. As the "best
room," and very often the largest room, it is reserved for
reception of guests, weddings, and funerals, and at other
times shut up in gloomy grandeur from the family, except,
perhaps, as the place of banishment for a naughty child.
Except when used as a library and music room, it should be
one of the smallest in the house, and may, indeed, be
entirely dispensed with. The family living-room is not an
improper place in which to receive a guest, especially one
whom it is desired should "feel at home."
Of the rooms for the family, the nursery is the best to
dispense with, the very young children being kept under the
mother's oversight in her sewing-room, or the attic, or a
loft in an out-building being fitted up for the elder ones as
a play-room. In the case of the loft, it is well to equip it
as a simple gymnasium.
It is mistaken economy to use the living-room as a
dining-room, since this interferes with the orderly work of
the house, no less than with the comfort of the family. It
may with propriety, however, be made also the sewing-room,
and, in general, the mother's managerial office. Here she
should keep her desk and her household account-books, and
meet the tradesmen and other business callers. It is also
more suited than the parlor for use as a family reading-room
and working library. Disorder that betokens use, such as
magazines on the center-table, or of papers on the desk, is
here not inappropriate. Indeed, it gives a homelike
appearance even to the social guest.
China and glassware and silver arranged in proper array in
wall closets, cabinets, and sideboards are the most
appropriate decorations of the dining-room. It is not at all
necessary that there should be pictures on the wall of game,
fruit and flowers, or "still life" studies of vegetables and
kitchen utensils. Indeed, these have become so expected that
a change is quite a relief to a guest, who would welcome even
the death's head that was the invariable ornament of the
Egyptian feasts. Any pictures which are lively and cheerful
in suggestion are suitable. Those that have a story to tell
or a lesson to point are never out of place in a room
frequented by children.
For convenience the table-linen should be kept in drawers or
lockers built beneath the shelves containing the china. A
butler's pantry is not an essential when such arrangements as
these are made.
The kitchen, pantry, storeroom, and laundry form, as it were,
the "factory" of the house, with the range as the central
"engine." Accordingly they should be planned with respect to
each other to save steps. Fortunately this means also saving
expense in construction. Architects have been most ingenious
as well as practical in perfecting these arrangements, and
the housebuilder, therefore, needs no advice from us.
It cannot be too much emphasized, however, that the cellar
is, from the standpoints of sanitation and comfort, the most
important part of the house. There should be no attempt to
save expense by limiting its proper size, materials for
walls, windows for ventilation, drainage, etc., for money so
saved will inevitably be paid out many times over in coal
bills, doctor's fees, and, perhaps, undertaker's bills. A dry
cellar must be secured at all costs, for the air from it
permeates the whole house. Where this is damp, it leads not
alone to disease among the inmates, but to the disintegration
of the house itself, through what is called "dry rot," but is
paradoxically the result of dampness. Edgar Allan Poe, in his
weird story, "The Fall of the House of Usher," has given a
mystical interpretation of the dissolution of an old
homestead which really has a scientific explanation that
might be found in the cellar.
The proper floor of a cellar is a layer of broken stones in
which tile drains are laid, having outlets into a common
drain, and over which a layer of concrete is placed, The
walls, of plastered stone, brick, or concrete, should rise
above the ground far enough to permit small windows, and
prevent the admission of surface water from rain or snow.
These windows should open from within, upward, and there
should be hooks on the ceiling to keep them open for
Where a house is heated by a furnace, the style of this
should be selected with great care, special regard being had
to the economy of fuel. The systems of steam-heating,
hot-water heating, or hot-air heating have each their merits,
depending on the location of the house and the climate of the
region. The cellar can also be used as a storeroom for those
things not affected by the heat of the furnace, such as
perishable food requiring an ice-box or a cool place,
vegetables, especially those with a penetrating odor; apples,
canned fruit and goods, etc., should be kept here, and
barrels of commodities, such as vinegar, that are bought in
large quantities. Shelves should be built on the walls and
hooks hung on the rafters to increase the facilities for
storage. Articles hung upon the hooks should be tied in paper
bags. It is well to have the cellar ceiled, to keep out the
dust of the house and reduce the risk of fire. Here, of
course, is the natural place for the coal-bin, and, when
there are no out-buildings, the man's workshop. The laundry
may also be placed in the cellar, and, in stormy weather, the
clothes hung there to dry. In the country the cellar is a
good place in which to build an ice-vault.
The kitchen should, of course, be airy and sunny. The sink
should be placed near a south window, if possible, to prevent
freezing of pipes. An iron sink is more cleanly than a wooden
one, and cheaper than porcelain and copper. It should have a
platform with room for two dishpans, and a drying shelf,
raised at one end to permit drainage. Where economy of space
is essential, this shelf may be removable, permitting the use
for other things of the table beneath.
Two other tables are necessary in a proper kitchen equipment,
one covered with zinc for a work-table, set near the range,
and the other a plain table set near the dining-room, for the
prepared dishes. There should be three lights, lamps in
brackets, gas-jets, or electric bulbs, near the sink, range
and food-table respectively. The refrigerator should be put
outside the kitchen, in some such place as a sheltered part
of the back piazza. Commodities such as tea and coffee, not
requiring ice, should be kept in covered jars, preferably
earthen, on a dresser or shelf, where the bread-box may also
stand. There should be a kitchen closet for the flour-barrel
and sugar-box, which should be covered for further protection
from dust, flies, dampness, etc., and for the canned goods in
The stove or range should be selected with reference on the
one hand to the amount of cooking to be done for the family,
and on the other to the saving of fuel. Where there is a
water supply, of course there should be a boiler connected
with the range. This should be large enough to assure a
sufficient supply of hot water for the house. There should be
a shelf near the range for such articles as the pepper-box
and salt-box which are in constant use in cooking, and hooks
should be near at hand for hanging up the poker, lid-lifter,
and a coarse towel for use in taking pans from the oven.
Other shelves and hooks, of course, should be put in for the
various utensils necessary in the kitchen.
The floor of the kitchen should be covered with a good
quality of linoleum. A perforated rubber mat may be placed at
the sink, although this is not necessary. In fact, it is a
better plan for the woman in the kitchen, as indeed
elsewhere, to get rubber heels for her shoes. The Arabs have
a proverb that to him who is shod it is as if the whole world
were covered with leather, and rubber heels similarly cause
every floor in the house, whether bare or carpeted, to be
equally easy to the feet of the busy housewife.
The laundry should be supplied with two tubs, an
ironing-table, an ironing-board, and a stove for the boiler
and the irons. The ironing-board should be supported upon two
"horses" of the height of the table. The table should be
supplied with an iron-rest.
In a well-planned house there should be separate bedrooms for
every inmate except the very small children. It is quite an
economy in the care of the house that each child, at as early
an age as possible, should have its own room and be taught to
take care of it. Since the room is designed primarily for
sleeping, care should be taken that the bed be placed in such
a position that the light falls from behind the sleeper's
head. The dresser should be so placed that the light falls on
the face of the occupant of the room when he is looking into
the mirror. Even at the expense of space in the bedroom
proper, there should be a large closet in every
sleeping-room. The deeper the closet the better, for, by
using rods attached to the back of the closet and projecting
through its width, whereon clothes-hangers may be strung, far
more room will be obtained for clothes than where hooks and
nails are employed. By the use of these clothes-hangers, too,
suits and dresses may be kept in much better order. The top
of the closet may be occupied by one broad, high shelf,
whereon hats and bonnets may be kept in their proper
receptacles. Shoes should be kept in a drawer at the bottom
of the closet, rather than thrown on the floor beneath the
dresser. It is a mistake to substitute a curtain for the door
of the closet, since it is of the first importance to keep
the clothing free from dust.
Shelves are better than closets for the keeping of the bed
linen. It is a handy thing to have a separate linen closet in
the house, but this is not essential. The sewing-room of the
mother is a suitable place for keeping the linen. Shelves are
preferable to closets for this purpose. There should also be
a medicine closet or locker in the mother's room which will
be handy in case of sudden illness among the children.
In view of the importance of sanitation, more thought than is
ordinarily allotted to it should be given to the lavatory.
Where there is room to spare, it is best to have the bath
separate from the toilet, in order to prevent inconvenience
in use. There should be a basin and toilet upon the ground
floor, and a bathroom and toilet upon the sleeping floor. The
walls of the lavatory should be tiled, or, if this is too
expensive, they should be covered with water-proof paper. All
toilet arrangements should be systematically kept clean, and
the necessary supplies at all times provided.
Piazzas may be made to add no less to the utility than to the
beauty and comfort of the house. A lower back piazza, covered
with vines, is the ideal place in summer for eating and such
heating labors as ironing. When thoroughly secured from
intrusion, an upper balcony furnishes the best of sleeping
quarters for one wise and brave enough to scout the
superstition of the bad effects of night air. Many persons of
delicate health, even consumptives, have been restored to
vigorous strength by sleeping in such a place, not only in
summer but throughout the winter, save in beating storms.
Closely conjoined with forethought for utility in the
planning of a house is forethought for beauty. It is well to
have an artistic imagination in visualizing, as it were, the
"hominess" of the house as it will appear after its rawness
has been mellowed by time, and its forms have been endeared
by association. This imagination is specially essential in
the planting of trees, arrangement of flower gardens, the
choice of the kind of enclosure, whether hedge or fence, and,
in general, all that is known under the name of landscape
The housekeeper's work is greatly dependent upon the kind of
water supply available for the house. In cities and towns the
kind of supply is fixed for her, but in the country she is
afforded her freedom of choice. She has a choice of water
from wells or springs, which is more or less "hard," that is,
impregnated with lime, and water collected from rain or
melting snow. For household purposes rainwater is the more
desirable, and, when properly filtered and kept in clean
cisterns protected from the larvae of mosquitoes and other
disease-bearing insects, it is also the best for drinking
purposes. To one accustomed to drinking hard water from a
well or spring, rain water is a little unpalatable, but after
he is accustomed to its use he will prefer it. It is always
wise to secure an analysis of the drinking water of the
house, since water reputed pure because of its clearness and
coldness is as apt as any other to be contaminated. Where
soft water is not available for household use, hard water may
be softened by the addition to it of pearline or soda, or by
boiling, in the latter case the lime in it being precipitated
to the bottom of the kettle or boiler.
When well water is used for drinking some knowledge of the
geology of the home grounds is essential. Thus, because the
top of a well is on higher ground than the cess-pool is no
reason for assuming that the contents of the latter may not
seep into the water, for the inclination of the strata of the
rocks may be in a contrary direction to that of the surface
of the ground.
When filters and strainers are used they should be carefully
cleaned at regular intervals, since if they are permitted to
accumulate impurities they become a source of contamination
instead of its remedy. Every once in a while the housekeeper
should take off the strainers from the faucets and boil them.
There are many excellent systems for obtaining water power
for the house in the country, each of which has its special
advantages. The pumping of water to a tank at the top of the
house by a windmill is that most commonly used. This is the
cheapest method, but the most unsightly. Small kerosene or
hot-air engines may be employed for the power at very slight
cost, and will prove useful for other purposes, such as
sawing wood or even operating the sewing-machines. Owing to
the many inventions for isolated lighting plants by acetylene
and other kinds of gas, dwellers in the country have
virtually as free a choice of illumination as the people in
towns and cities.
Great caution is necessary in the use of any form of
illuminating gas, since all produce asphyxiation.
Accordingly, all gas fixtures of the house should be
regularly inspected to see that there is no escape of the
subtile, destructive fluid. The odor of escaping gas which is
so unpleasant is really a blessing, in that it informs the
householder of his danger. A cock that turns completely
around and, after extinguishing the light, permits the escape
of the gas, is more dangerous than a poisonous serpent. Yet
there may be nothing radically wrong with this fixture, and
the use of the screwdriver may make it as good as new. Gas
should never be turned low when there is a draught in the
room, nor allowed to burn near hanging draperies. Care should
always be taken in turning out a gas-stove or a drop-light to
do so at the fixture and not at the burner. This is not alone
safer, but it keeps the rubber tube from acquiring a
disagreeable odor from the gas that has been left in it.
Great economy in the consumption of gas may be secured by the
use of Welsbach and other incandescent burners. Where these
are not employed, care should be taken to select the most
economical kind of gas tips, and to see that when these
become impaired by use they are replaced.
In the large cities there is constant complaint of defective
gas-meters, so much so that inspectors have been appointed to
correct this abuse. It has been found, however, that many
complaints have been unfounded because the housewives were
not able properly to read the meter. Directions how to do
this will therefore be found useful. A gas-meter has three
dials marking tip to 100,000 feet, 10,000 feet, and 1,000
feet respectively. The figures on the second dial are
arranged in opposite order from those on the first and third
dials, and this often leads to an error in reckoning.
However, there should be no trouble in setting down the
figures indicated by the pointer on each dial. We first set
down the figure indicated upon the first dial in the units
place of a period of three places, then that indicated upon
the second dial in the tens place, and then that indicated
upon the third dial in the hundreds place. To these we add
two ciphers, to obtain the number of feet of gas that has
been burned since the meter was set at zero on the three
dials. From this number we subtract the total of feet burned
at the time when the preceding gas bill was rendered. This is
generally called on the bill "present state of meter." The
result of the subtraction will be the amount of gas that has
been burned since the last bill was rendered. For example:
95,300, amount indicated on dial.
82,700, amount marked "present state of meter" on preceding gas bill.
12,600, amount of gas for which current bill is rendered.
Equal care must be exercised when kerosene is used for
illumination, since, while it is not so dangerous directly to
life, it is the chief source of the destruction of property.
Accordingly the nature of kerosene and the way it illuminates
is a profitable subject of study if we would prevent
destructive fires. Really, we do not burn the oil, but the
gas that arises from the oil when liberated by the burning
wick and becomes incandescent when fed by the oxygen of the
air. While kerosene requires a high temperature for
combustion, it is closely related to other products of coal
oil, such as naphtha and gasoline, which become inflammable
at a low heat and are therefore very dangerous. Since the
cheap grades of kerosene approach these products in quality,
care should be taken to see that it is of high "proof" in
order to prevent explosions. The proof required of kerosene
differs in various States; that in some is as low as 100
degrees Fahrenheit, that is, the temperature at which the oil
will give off vapors that will ignite. This is too low a
proof, for such a degree of temperature is quite common in
the household. It is safe only to use that kerosene which is
at least 140 degrees proof, for then, even though the oil is
spilled, there is little danger that it will ignite except in
the immediate presence of flame. There is no danger at all in
soaking wood with this kind of oil in a stove or grate
wherein the fire has gone out.
To test kerosene, put a thermometer into a cup partially
filled with cold water, and add boiling water until the
mercury stands at 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Then take out the
thermometer and pour two teaspoonfuls of kerosene into the
cup and pass over it the flame of a candle. If the oil
ignites, it is unsafe.
In order to prevent the flame from running down into the lamp
and causing an explosion, the wick should be soft, filling
the burner completely. The highest efficiency in the form of
illumination is obtained by round burners, especially those
in lamps which admit air to the inside of the wick and so
induce the largest possible amount of combustion. Such a lamp
produces quite a high degree of heat, and will answer the
purpose of an oil-stove in a small room.
Contrary to the popular idea, wicks should be carefully
trimmed with scissors rather than with a match or other
instrument. In extinguishing a lamp one should first turn
down the wick and blow across the chimney, never down the
Owing to the fact that the wick is constantly bringing up oil
by capillary attraction, whether it is lighted or unlighted,
lamps in which the wicks have not been cared are kept
continually greasy. In fact, a lamp that is greasy or that
gives out a bad odor is one that has not been properly cared.
With due attention, lamps are as clean and handy a means of
illumination as any other form.
Candles, that are now used chiefly for decorative purposes,
may still be practically employed for carrying light about
the house. The danger from a falling candle carried by a
child up to bed is not nearly so great as that which may
result from either spilt oil from a broken lamp or the
cutting glass of its chimney.
To those who live in an old house, all the foregoing advice
should prove a source of helpfulness in making the best of
the old home, rather than of dissatisfaction with its seeming
shortcomings. There are many simple, inexpensive ways of
making it conform to the model house. Expense need only be
incurred in sanitary improvement, such as the better drainage
of the cellar, enabling it to be utilized for purposes which
now crowd the "work-rooms" of the home, and the alterations
of the windows to permit better lighting and ventilation.
Very often a room can be made to exchange purposes by a
simple transference of furniture, thus saving the housekeeper
steps. A woodhouse can be converted into a summer kitchen,
and the old one, during this season, used as a dining-room,
though it may be found even pleasanter to eat out of doors
under an arbor or on a wide piazza. A porch may be
partitioned off into a laundry, and the attic ceiled and
partitioned for use as a bedroom. Very often an old boxed-off
stairway, built in the days when it was thought unseemly to
show a connection with the upper bedrooms, can be relieved of
its door and walls, to the increase of space in the lower
room, and of the beauty of its appearance. Indeed, as a rule,
there are too many doors in an old house. Some of these can
be altered into open arched entrances, making one large
commodious room out of two little inconvenient ones. Unused
out-buildings can be turned into playrooms for the children,
and even sleeping quarters. All these are changes that make
for the beauty no less than the utility of home, as proved by
the fact that many artists, especially those who have studied
abroad where old country houses are more or less of this
unconventional character, go into the country and alter in
this fashion old and even abandoned houses into houses
admired for their charming individuality. Illustrations of
such "hermitages" frequently appear in the magazines, and may
be studied for suggestions. Sometimes the alteration is of
the exterior only. The repainting in a proper color, or the
simple creosote staining of a weather-beaten house, with the
addition of a rustic porch or the breaking of a corner
bedroom into a balcony, will sometimes so transform an old
house that it looks as if it were a new creation.
FURNITURE AND DECORATION
The Qualities to Be Sought in Furniture—Home-made
Furniture—Semi-made Furniture—Good Furniture as
an Investment—Furnishing and Decorating the
Hall—The Staircase—The Parlor—Rugs and
Carpets—Oriental Rugs—Floors—Treatment of
Hardwood—Of Other Wood—How to Stain a
Floor—Filling as a Floor Covering.
Necessity invented stools,
Convenience next suggested elbow-chairs,
And Luxury the accomplished sofa last.
WILLIAM COWPER—The Task.
Utility, comfort and elegance are, as Cowper shows, the three
successive purposes for which furniture was designed. And
to-day the order of development remains also the order of
importance. The first things to be desired in any article of
furniture are durability and simple application to its
purpose. These being found, a person naturally looks to see
if the use of them will contribute to his physical pleasure
as well as his convenience, that the back of a chair is the
right height and curvature to fit his back, and the seat is
not so deep as to strain his legs; that the table or desk is
one he can spread his legs under in natural fashion, and rest
his elbows upon with ease; in short, that the furniture
conforms to his bodily requirements, as the chair and bed of
the "wee teenty bear" suited exactly the little old woman of
Southey's tale. Last of all, the aesthetic pleasure, the
appreciation of beauty by the mind, decides the choice in
cases of equal utility and comfort. The artistic
considerations are so many that furniture has become a branch
of art, like sculpture or painting, with a large literature
and history of its own.
Since most authorities on the subject largely ignore the
questions of utility and comfort, devoting themselves to the
questions of aesthetic style, it will be useful to our
purpose here to confine the discussion to the neglected
qualities. As a rule, a durable, useful, and comfortable
article is a beautiful one. At least it has the beauty of
"grace," by which terms the old writers on aesthetics
characterized perfect adaptation to purpose, and the beauty
of what they called "homeliness," or, as we would now say,
since this term has been perverted, of "hominess," the
suggestion of adding to the pleasure of the household.
The quality of "hominess" is greatly increased in an article
of furniture by a frank look or "home-made" appearance. There
is no more delightful occupation for the leisure hours of a
man or woman, and no more useful training for a boy or girl,
than the making of simple articles of home furniture. Really,
the first article of furniture which should be brought into
the house is a well-equipped tool-chest, and the first room
which should be fitted up is the workshop. A vast amount of
labor will be saved thereby in unpacking, adjusting,
repairing, and polishing the old and the new household
articles, so that life in the new home be begun under the
favorable auspices of the great household deity, the Goddess
of Order. When it is further considered that often small
repairs made by a carpenter cost more than a new article, the
tool-chest will be valued by the family as a most profitable
If it is not possible to procure the proper materials and
tools for making the entire article, some part of the work,
the shaping, and certainly the staining and polishing, can be
done at home. If the visitor does not recognize the home
quality in such an article, the maker does, and will always
have a pride and affection for it.
Many furniture manufacturers give in their catalogues designs
of semi-made or "knock together" furniture, that is, the
parts of tables, chairs, etc., cut out and planed, which it
is intended that the purchaser put together himself. These,
as a rule, are made of good material befitting the hand
workmanship which will be put upon them, and are offered at a
considerable reduction from the price asked for ready-made
furniture of the same material.
Furniture stains of excellent quality are found in every
hardware store and paint shop, which can easily be applied by
the merest amateur.
It is never wise to buy flimsy furniture, however cheap. As a
rule, there is too much furniture in the American home. It is
better to get along with a few good, durable articles, even
though a little expensive, than with a profusion of inferior
ones. These soon reveal their "cheap and nasty qualities,"
are in constant need of repair, and quickly descend from the
place of honor in the parlor to be endured a while in the
living room, then abused in the kitchen, and, finally, burnt
as fuel. Good wood and leather, however, are long in becoming
shabby, and even then require only a little attention to be
restored to good condition. When it is considered that in
furniture there is virtually no monopoly of design or
invention, and one therefore pays for material and labor
alone, and competition has reduced these to the lowest terms,
the purchaser is certain to get the worth of his money when
he pays a higher price for durable material and honest
workmanship. When it is further recalled that our chief
heirlooms from the former generations are tables and chairs
and bureaus, it will appear that it is our duty to hand down
to our children furniture of similar durability and honest
quality. Therefore, money spent for good furniture may be
considered as a permanent investment whose returns are
comfort and satisfaction in the present, and loving
remembrance in the days to come.
So often is the artistic beauty of a house destroyed by a bad
selection and arrangement of furniture and choice of
inharmonious decorations, that many architects are coming to
advise, and even dictate, the style of everything that goes
into the house. Thus Colonial furniture is prescribed for a
residence in Colonial style, Mission furniture for Mission
architecture, etc. There is a corresponding movement among
makers of artistic furniture to plan houses suited to their
particular styles. Thus "Craftsman" houses and "Craftsman"
furniture are designed by the same business interest.
Since, however, the average American home is something of a
composite in architectural design, the housekeeper may be
permitted to exercise her taste in making selections from the
infinite variety of styles of furniture that are offered her
by the manufacturers of the country. It is advisable,
however, that the furniture in each room be in harmony.
Let us briefly examine the articles of furniture and styles
of decoration appropriate for the several rooms.
The hall, now often the smallest, most ill-considered part of
the house, was once its chief glory. In the old days in
England, and, indeed, in America, the word was used as
synonymous with the mansion, as Bracebridge Hall, Haddon
Hall, etc. It was the largest apartment, the center of family
and social life. Here the inmates and their guests feasted
and danced and sang. Gradually it was divided off into rooms
for specific purposes, until now in general practice it has
narrowed down to a mere vestibule or entrance to the other
rooms, with only those articles of furniture in it which are
useful to the one coming in or going out of the house,
combination stands with mirror, pins for hanging up hats and
overcoats, umbrella holder, a chair or so, or a settee for
the guest awaiting reception, etc. Often the chair or settee
is of the most uncomfortable design, conspiring with the
narrow quarters to make the visitor's impression of the house
and its inmates a very disagreeable one. If space is lacking
to make the hall a comfortable and pleasing room, it should
be abolished, and the visitor, if a social one, taken at once
to the parlor, and if a business one, to the living-room.
Where, however, size permits it, the hall should be made the
most attractive part of the house. Here is the proper place
for a "Grandfather's Clock," a rug or so of artistic design,
and a jardiniere holding growing plants or flowers. The
wallpaper should be simple and dignified in design, but of
cheerful tone. Some shade of red is always appropriate.
Remember in choosing decorations that the colors of the
spectrum—violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange,
red—run the gamut of emotive influence from depression
to exhilaration. Violet and indigo lower the spirits, blue
and green hold them in peaceful equilibrium, yellow begins to
cheer them, and orange and red excite them.
However, the color scheme of a hall is largely dependent upon
the wood-finish, because of the amount of this shown in the
Dark red is a very suitable color for the stair-carpet. The
best way to fasten this is by a recent invisible contrivance
which goes underneath the material. Brass rods are
ornamental, rather too much so, and carpet tacks are
provoking, both in putting down and taking up the carpet.
Where the hall and stairway are wide and room-like, pictures
should be hung on the walls, interesting in subject and
cheerful in decorative tone. The presence of the stairway,
especially if this is broken by a landing, permits quite a
variety of arrangement. The line of ascent should be followed
only approximately. Remember that it is a fundamental law of
art always to suggest a set idea, but never to follow it; to
have a rule in mind, and then play about it rather than
strictly pursue it. Art is free and frolicking. It gambols
along the straight path of utility, following the scent of
airy suggestion into outlying fields and by-paths, but always
keeping the general direction of the path.
The parlor, when this is not combined with the hall, should
be furnished and decorated according to the chief use the
family intend to make of it. If they are given to formal
entertainment, the color scheme may be in "high key," that
is, a combination of white with either gold, rose, or green,
any of which forms a bright setting for gay evening costumes.
But this decoration is not advisable in the case of the
average American home, since it is too fine and frivolous for
the reception of neighbors in ordinary dress. A quieter, more
dignified color-scheme should be adopted; such as golden
brown, with subdued decorations for the wall, and
ecru-colored lace curtains for the windows. The floor may be
of hardwood, in which case a few medium-sized Oriental rugs
should be placed on the floor. It is not essential that these
"match" the wallpaper, for they are of the nature of artistic
household treasures, and so rise autocratically above the
necessity of conformity. Where they are chosen with a view to
the color scheme, it is advisable to make them the means of
transition from the hall. If this is decorated in dark red,
the rugs leading from it into the parlor may shade off from
this into more golden tones. The design of the rugs should be
unobtrusive. The homemaker should not feel that Oriental rugs
are too expensive for consideration. Every once in a while
their is a glut of them in the market, owing to an extensive
importation, when they can be purchased at a price which will
always insure the owner getting his money back if at any time
he wishes to dispose of them. But the purchaser should be
certain that the bargains offered are real ones, for
rug-stores, like trunk-stores, always seem to be selling out
"at a sacrifice." All Oriental rugs are well made, and, with
proper usage, will last for generations, even enhancing in
value. Therefore, they are always safe investments. Oriental
rug-dealers repair rugs at a fair price for the time spent in
Since the floor space of a room with rugs in it is about
two-thirds bare, the rugs will often not exceed the cost of a
Hard woods take best a finish in brown or green, that gives
an impress of natural texture impossible to secure by paint.
Hardwood floors should be polished at least once a week with
floor-wax, a simple compound of beeswax and turpentine, which
can be made at home, or bought at the stores. This is useful
for polishing any floor or woodwork. When the floor is not of
hardwood, it may be stained. All varieties of stains are
sold, the most durable, though the most expensive being the
old-fashioned oil oak-stain. For the parlor and other floors,
and corridors, stairways, etc., that do not get much wear, as
well as for hardwood work in general, varnishing saves time
and labor in cleaning.
For proper staining, the wood should be thoroughly scrubbed
with soap and water; then, when dry, brushed over with hot
size. Use concentrated size, a dry powder, rather than that
in jelly form, as it is more convenient. It is dissolved and
should be applied with a broad paint-brush. The application
should be very rapid to prevent congealing and setting in
lumps on the boards; accordingly the bowl containing the size
should be set in boiling water until it is thoroughly liquid,
and kept in this condition. The number of coats must depend
upon the absorbent nature of the boards. One coat must be
allowed to dry thoroughly before another is applied. Over
night is a sufficient time for this. Varnishing also should
be done rapidly to prevent dust settling on it. It is best
done in a warm room, without draughts. Do not use stains
ready-mixed with varnish, as these do not last as long, nor
look so well as pure stains varnished after application. When
the boards are in bad condition they should be first
sandpapered. Cracks should be filled with wedges of wood
hammered in and planed smooth. They can also be filled with
thin paper torn up, mixed with hot starch and beaten to a
pulp. This can be pressed into the cracks with a glazier's
knife. The use of putty or plaster of Paris for this purpose
is not so satisfactory as these methods.
For sleeping-rooms and living-rooms, which for sanitary
reasons it is advisable to scrub, the stain should be left
FURNITURE AND DECORATION
The Carpet Square—Furniture for the Parlor—Parlor
Library—Arrangement of Books—The "Den"—The
Living-room—The Dining-room—Bedrooms—How to
Make a Bed—The Guest Chamber—Window Shades and
Housekeepers often prefer carpets to bare floors, and rugs
for the reason that they "show the dirt" less. It is for this
very reason that bare floors are best. Dirt is something to
remove rather than conceal, and bare floors and rugs are more
easily cleaned than carpets.
Covering the entire floor with plain filling, as a base for
rugs, is an alternative for either hardwood or stained
floors. It should be in the deeper tone of the color employed
as a main part of the room's decoration.
When carpets are used, those in the hall, parlor, and
dining-room should not be fitted into the corners, but a
space should intervene between their edges and the walls.
This may be filled with wood-carpetry, which, like all
devices which suggest continuation of fine material through
unseen parts, gives an air of art and elegance at
comparatively little expense. Otherwise the floor, if
hardwood, should be finished; if of other wood, stained and
varnished. The carpet square is kept in position with
brass-headed pins sold for the purpose.
Articles of furniture which are suitable for a parlor used
chiefly as a reception room are light side chairs, and a
settee, cane-seated with dark frames, or willow chairs, and
settee, stained a dark hue, and brightened up with pretty
cushions. These are not dear, so a little extra expense may
be incurred in buying the parlor-table, which should be
graceful in design and of rich dark wood, preferably
mahogany, or in mahogany finish. A small table, of similar
design and finish, should serve for afternoon tea, and a
pretty desk stand near a window, with writing materials for
the use of guests. There should be a clock upon the
mantelpiece, and a few other articles of vertu, such as a
vase or so, a bronze statuette, etc., all harmonized by the
common possession of artistic elegance.
The pictures in the parlor should possess evident artistic
merit. There should be no suggestion of amateurishness.
Family attempts at drawing or painting, crayon portraits,
etc., all photographs, with the exception of those intended
as artistic studies, should be excluded from the walls. If
good originals by capable artists are not obtainable, fine
engravings, etchings, and even colored copies of noted
pictures may take their place.
A few books, well bound and with contents worthy of the
binding, should lie on the parlor table, with a late magazine
or so, for the entertainment of the waiting guest. There
should be fresh flowers arranged in pretty bowls to add their
impress of cheerfulness and beauty to the room.
In most American homes the parlor is also the music room.
Since a piano should be chosen for quality rather than
appearance, an instrument of any finish is allowable in a
room, whatever its decorative scheme. Except in a family
containing an expert performer, a piano should be chosen for
softness and richness of tone, instead of brilliancy. For
most households the old cottage organ is a more practicable
instrument than the "concert grand" often found in a small
parlor, where its piercing notes, especially in combination
with operatic singing, are so confined that tones and
overtones, which should assist each other, mingle in jarring
confusion. Indeed, when the parlor is large and high, a
genuine pipe-organ built in a recess and harmonizing in
finish with the woodwork of the room is not only the finest
decoration possible, but the most appropriate musical
instrument. Those families who possess an old-fashioned
piano, such as thin and tinkly "square," are advised to have
it overhauled and refinished by a competent piano-repairer,
and preserved, if only for practice by the children. In case
such an instrument has "overstrung" wires, it can be restored
to a tone that is better than that of the usual upright
The parlor that is put to family use is usually the best room
to fit up for a library. In this case the form-and-color
scheme of furnishing and decoration should differ entirely
from that when the room is used only for the reception of
guests. The furniture should be heavier and larger,
indicating utility, and its finish, as also that of the
walls, floor and woodwork, in deep shades of the more restful
colors of the spectrum. Sage-green is a good color for the
parlor-library. The furniture may be of this or even darker
hue. There is no better style of furniture for the library
than the Mission, made comfortable by leather cushions. If
leather is thought too expensive, there are fair substitutes
for it in such materials as pantasote. But leather should be
procured if possible. It looks better and wears longer, and
even when shabby keeps its respectability. With the Mission
furniture may be mingled an old-fashioned upholstered chair
or so, such as a large "Sleepy Hollow." A Morris chair is
almost as comfortable as this, and perhaps upholds the
dignity of the room a little better, though it does not give
the same suggestion of "hominess." An old-fashioned sofa,
wide-seated, and designed to be lain upon, should be placed
in the room with its head toward the light, so that the
occupant may read while reclining upon it. In almost every
old house there is a horse-hair sofa, either put away in the
attic or even in use, which can be reupholstered to fit the
color-scheme of the room.
Books naturally form the chief ornament of the library. It is
a mistake to give them an elaborate casing. The simplest form
is the best; the shelves should run up evenly from the floor
to a more or less ornamental and somewhat projecting top,
terminating several feet from the ceiling. On this top a bust
or so of an author may be appropriately placed, or copies of
an ancient statue, and on the wall above, between the cases
of shelves, may hang a few pictures, not necessarily bookish
in suggestion, but reposeful in subject and tone, such as
landscapes and marines.
A writing desk of comfortable size, with its chair, is
essential in every library. It should be as far away as
possible from the type of the modern business desk, and
therefore an old-fashioned article with a sloping top, which,
when let down, serves for the writing board, is an ideal
form. Manufacturers continue to make these desks for home
The library table should be large and simple. One that is
oval in shape is the best for the family to gather about, and
therefore gives the most homelike appearance. The
illumination of the library should center either upon this
table, if a lamp is used, or above it, if gas or electric
light. The desk should have a side-light of its own.
Modern library conveniences are presented in so handy and
presentable shapes that the room may be perfectly equipped as
a literary workshop without crowding it, or detracting from
its appearance. A dictionary holder (wooden, not wire), a
revolving bookcase for other works of reference, and a card
index of the library may complete the equipment. It will be
well to utilize one or more of the drawers of the desk as a
file for clippings. These should be kept in stout manila
envelopes, slightly less in size than the width and height of
the drawer, and with the names of subjects contained, and
arranged in alphabetical order.
The carpet should be plain in design, and underlaid with
padding. The curtains should be of heavier and darker stuff
than those in the parlor, and easily adjusted to admit the
The library and living room are generally next each other,
and so each may and should have a fireplace in the common
chimney. That of the library should be of severer design;
that of the living-room more homelike. Dutch tiles, with
pictures that interest children, are specially appropriate
for the latter.
Where the father of the family demands a "den" for reading
and smoking, this may be a small room on the same general
order as the library, but with an emphasis on comfort. Thus,
the sofa should be replaced by a wide divan, which may also
serve on occasion as a sleeping-place. The Turkish style of
furnishing is the customary one; the Japanese style being a
fad that came in with the aesthetic craze, was carried to an
uncomfortable excess, and has gone out of fashion. The most
appropriate style for an American house is American Indian.
The brilliant and strikingly designed Navajo blankets may be
used for both rugs and couch covers, or hung up as
wall-ornaments. Moqui basketware serves equally well for
useful purposes, such as scrap-baskets, and for
ornamentation. The pottery of the Pueblo Indians, being naive
and primitive in design, is much more intimate and therefore
appropriate than the Japanese bric-a-brac which it replaces.
The living-room is the heart of the house, and everything in
it should be of a nature to collect loving associations.
Almost any style of furniture is admissible into it, if only
it is comfortable. There should be rocking-chairs, for the
woman and the neighbors who drop in to see her, other chairs
stout enough for a man to tip back upon the hind legs, and
little chairs, or a little settee by the fireplace, for the
children. The mother's desk should stand here, plainer than
the one in the library, but of design similar to it; there
should be a sofa as comfortable as the library one, to which
the mother should have the first right. The paper should be
cheerful in its tone and with a definite design. This will
become endeared by association with home to the children, and
the mother should be slow to replace it. The window draperies
may be home-made, such as of rough-finished silk or
embroidered canvas, and the floor covered with a thick
rag-carpet, preferably of a nondescript or "hit-and-miss"
design. If the housekeeper thinks that this is "hominess"
carried to excess, she may cover the floor with an ingrain
carpet, or better, plain filling of a medium shade, on which
a few rag rugs are laid, light in color. Very artistic
carpets and rugs are made out of old carpets and sold at
reasonable figures, and there still remain in some small
towns throughout the country weavers who weave into carpets
the carpet-rags sewn together by housewives for the price of
their labor alone.
There is a reason additional to its economy why this practice
should not die out. The tearing up into strips of old
garments, and the tacking of their ends together with needle
and thread is work eminently suited for children, and one in
which they take great pride, as it gives them a share in the
creation of a useful and beautiful household article.
The dining-room should be decorated in accordance with the
quantity of daylight it receives. It should be, if possible,
a light room, with preferably the morning sun. In this case,
it is properly furnished and decorated in dark tones, on the
order of the library; if the room is dark, the furniture,
wood-finish, and wall-paper should be warm and light in
feeling. The housekeeper has a wide variety of sets of dining
table and chairs to choose from. Whatever she selects should
be distinguished by the quality of dignity. Here is the one
room in the house where formality is thoroughly in place; it
is at table where bad manners are wont most to show
themselves among children, and laxity in etiquette among
their parents. Just as the exclusive use of the room for
eating purposes saves labor in housework, so will its dignity
in decoration aid in enforcing the mother's teaching of good
habits to the children.
Here, if anywhere in the house, plain wall-paper should be
used, since the chief decorations are the china closet,
cabinet and sideboard.
The dining-room ought not to have a fire-place or stove if
other means of heating it are available, since heat, like
food, should be equally distributed to those at table.
Preference in seating should be a matter of honor rather than
of material advantage.
Comfort and cleanliness are the qualities which condition the
equipment and decoration of the bed-room. When one considers
that a third of a man's life is spent in bed, it will be seen
how exceedingly important is the selection of this article of
furniture. The essential parts of a good bed are spring and
mattress, and no expense should be spared here in securing
the best. The frame, which though the ornamental part is the
least essential, is a matter of indifferent consideration.
There is no better kind of a bedstead than an iron or brass
one, because of cleanliness and strength and the ease with
which it may be taken apart and put together again. The
pillows deserve almost equal consideration with the mattress.
Since the feathers used in stuffing pillows may be cleaned,
it is economical to see that these are of the best quality.
Bed clothing is often selected under the mistaken impression
that weight is synonymous with warmth, and heavy quilted
comforts are chosen instead of lighter, woolen blankets. The
pure woolen blanket is the ideal bed-covering and in various
degrees of thickness may serve for all of the bed clothes
save the sheets, and the light white coverlet, which is
placed over all merely for appearance.
With increasing attention paid to hygiene, single beds rather
than double are coming into favor. Even where two people
occupy the same room they will be more comfortable in
different beds. It is a mistake for young people and infants
to sleep with older people, or for those who are well and
strong with sickly or delicate persons, as there is apt to be
a loss of vitality to the more vigorous party.
Everything connected with the bed should be regularly and
thoroughly sunned and aired. The occupant on rising should
throw back the bed-clothes over the foot of the bed, or,
indeed, take them off and hang them over a chair in the
The first thing in making a bed should be to turn the
mattress. The lower sheet is then put on right side up and
with the large end at the top. This is tucked in carefully
all around, then the covering sheet is put on with the large
end at the top, but the right side under. This is tucked in
only at the foot in order to permit the bed to be easily
entered. Over these the blankets are placed and folded back
at the head under the fold of the upper sheet. Pillow-shams
should never be used, as ornamentation on a bed is not
necessary, and if it were a sham is never an ornament.
The walls of bedrooms may very properly be painted, as also
the floors, to permit scrubbing, especially after the illness
of an occupant. If papered, a chintz pattern is preferable;
cretonne of similar design should then be used for furniture
slips, etc. The woodwork may be white, with the chairs to
match. There should be washable cotton rag-rugs, loosely
woven to be grateful to the bare feet, at the bedside and in
front of the bureau, dressing-table and doorway. Where space
is limited, a combined bureau and dressing-table, or even a
chiffonier with a mirror, may be used.
A child's bedroom may very appropriately have a wall-paper of
a design intended to interest it, such as representations of
animals, scenes from Mother Goose, etc. This is also suitable
for the nursery.
The guest-room has come to be the chambre de luxe of
the house, the place in which every conceivable article is
introduced that might be required by the visitor, all being
of expensive quality. Probably it is best to conform to this
practice, since it is an expected thing, but money spent on
the guest-room beyond that necessary to make it simply the
best bedroom in the house, brings smaller returns in usage
than anywhere else. The average guest is more pleased with a
room such as he sleeps in himself at home, than with one
where elegance seems too fine for use. It was a plainsman,
who, being lodged in such a room on a visit to civilization,
slept on the floor rather than touch the immaculate
pillow-shams and bed-cover, which he conceived to be parts of
the bed clothing not designed for use.
The window-shades of a house, since they show without, should
be uniform in color, and no attempt be made to suit the
individual decoration of a room to them. The material should
be plain Holland, white or buff when there are outside
blinds, otherwise green or blue. In recent years shutters, or
outside blinds, have come somewhat into disuse. This is, on
the whole, perhaps an improvement, for they are rarely
manipulated with judgment, being either left open or kept
shut for continuous periods. In the latter case they darken
rooms which, though unused, would have been better for the
admission of sunlight. The reason for this lack of
manipulation is that they are opened and fastened with
difficulty from the inside. All the purpose of the outside
blinds is served by inside blinds, which are much more easily
operated, and lend themselves admirably to decoration. One
form of these, known as Venetian blinds, consisting of
parallel wooden slats, strung on tapes, is coming again into
vogue. They are cheaper than the usual sort of blinds, and
are very durable as well as artistic. After all, however,
shades are the most practical form of modulating the entrance
of light into a house.
Nursing the Child—The Mother's
Diet—Weaning—The Nursing-bottle—Milk for
the Baby—Graduated Approach to Solid Diet—The
Baby's Table Manners—His Bath—Cleansing His Eyes
and Nose—Relief of Colic—Care of the Diaper.
But one upon earth is more beautiful and better than the
wife—that is the mother.—L. SCHEFER.
Tennyson says, "The bearing and the training of a child is
woman's wisdom." Herein nature is ever urging her to the
proper course. Thus the love of the newborn infant prompts
the mother to feed him with her own milk, and this supplies
exactly the elements he requires for healthy development. No
other milk, however skillfully modulated, no "infant's food,"
however scientifically prepared, can fully take its place.
Unless illness prevents her from feeding her own child, or
she is of a moody and unhappy disposition, it is the mother's
place to give her breast to the infant. The condition of mind
of the mother has a great deal to do with the quality of the
milk. A despondent and excitable temperament is often more
productive of harm than a low physical condition. It is
hardly necessary to warn the mother to be careful of her
diet, as this has immediate effect on the quality of the
milk. Of course, any drink containing alcohol must be
avoided. Tea and coffee, except when taken in weak strength,
have also a deleterious effect. Milk, and next to it, cocoa,
are the best beverages for the mother. Mothers should also
avoid taking medicine except when positively required.
There is no need for the mother to vary greatly her solid
diet. She will naturally select that which is most nutritious
and easily digested. Anything that tends to make her costive,
such as fruits or green vegetables, should be partaken of
The baby should be fed with systematic regularity from the
beginning. While a child does not need food for the first day
after birth, nevertheless it is well to put it to the breast
about six hours after birth, since for the first few days
after child-birth the breasts secrete a laxative element
which acts as a sort of physic upon the child, clearing its
bowels of a black, tarry substance, that fills them. The full
supply of normal milk comes after the third day. After the
first feeding the baby should be put to the breast every four
hours for the first day and after that every two hours, being
kept there about twenty minutes each time. The mother should
be watchful and see that the child is awake and is nursing.
Even at this early age it can be compelled to learn a good
habit. Unless it learns this habit, the mother will be put to
great inconvenience and the baby will suffer because of the
disarrangement of the systematic feeding. If he is allowed to
nurse at his own pleasure, the results will quickly make
themselves manifest in the form of colic, leading to
wakefulness and bad temper.
A baby should not remain awake more than four hours in the
day on the whole, and he should be so trained that the eight
hours from ten o'clock at night to six in the morning, when
his mother is sleeping, should be for him also an
uninterrupted period of slumber.
The baby should be weaned at ten months unless he is unwell
at the time or the weaning comes in the heat of the summer,
when there is danger of his becoming sickly or peevish.
Preparatory to weaning, the baby should be accustomed to the
bottle. Provided the bottle holds half a pint or four
glasses, the number of bottles may be increased from one a
day at four months to two or six at eight months. The baby
should certainly be weaned by the time it is a year old, as,
even though the mother continues to have a plentiful supply
of milk, this is not suited to his needs at this stage of his
physical development. By this method of approach the act of
permanently refusing the breast to the child will not greatly
offend him. After a little crying he will philosophically
accept the situation and reconcile himself to the substitute.
Weaning is rendered easier by selecting a nursing-bottle
which has the nipple in the shape of the breast. Care should
be taken that the hole in the nipple is not too large,
supplying more milk than the stomach can take care of as it
comes, and so causing stomachic disorder. The nursing bottle
should at all times be kept thoroughly clean by rinsing in
hot water and washing in hot soapsuds. The milk for the
child's bottle should, wherever possible, be what is called
"certified," that is, the milk from a herd of cows which have
been declared by the proper authorities to be all in good
health, and which have been milked under sanitary conditions.
This milk is delivered in clean, sealed bottles, preventing
the admission of any dirt or deleterious substance from the
time it leaves the dairy till opened. The milk for the baby
should not be purchased from the can.
Milk that has been sterilized, that is, bottled and put in
boiling water for an hour, is not so good for the baby as
pasteurized milk; that is, milk kept at something less than
the boiling point for half an hour, since the higher
temperature causes the milk to lose some of the qualities
beneficial to the child.
Since cow's milk differs in its constituents from mother's,
having more fat and less sugar, there will be need at first
to modify the cow's milk, weakening and sweetening it
somewhat. One good recipe for modifying cows' milk is: One
part milk, two parts cream, two parts lime-water, three parts
sugar water, the sugar water being made by putting two even
teaspoonfuls of sugar of milk in a pint of water.
Condensed milk, which is often used as a substitute for cows'
milk, is not nearly so good, since it has lost in the process
of condensation one of the most important elements, that
which forms bone tissue. Accordingly, babies fed upon
condensed milk are apt to be "rickety," and they lack in
general power to resist disease, which is primarily the mark
of a baby fed on mother's milk, and to a slightly lesser
degree, one fed upon cows' milk.
The stomach grows very rapidly during infancy, increasing
from a capacity of one ounce soon after birth to eight ounces
at the end of the year, and this should be taken into account
by the increase of the amount supplied it. After the first
week, a baby should increase in weight at the rate of one
pound a month for the first six months. If he falls behind
this rate and remains healthy, more sugar and fat may be
introduced into his milk. If, however, he fails to gain
weight and is sickly, the milk should be diluted and modified
so as to make it easier of digestion.
Every mother should be warned against a common practice of
starting the flow of milk from the nipple of the bottle by
putting it in her mouth. Gums and teeth are rarely perfectly
clean, and so form the favorite lurking place for disease
germs, which, though they may not produce disease in the
stronger body of the adult, may do so and often do so in the
more susceptible physique of the child.
Just as the child was trained to the bottle while it was
still taking the mother's milk, so it should be taught
gradually to eat solids while it is fed upon the bottle.
After the child has been weaned at the tenth month, he can be
fed occasionally on broths or beef juice as a substitute for
one of the milk feedings. The broth is more of a stimulant
than a food, aiding digestion rather than supplying
During the eleventh month, the yolk of a soft boiled egg,
mixed with stale bread crumbs, may be added to the diet,
together with a little orange juice or prune jelly. The
latter will tend to keep his bowels free.
After twelve months, the child may be gradually accustomed to
eat stale bread, biscuit or toast, broken in milk, thoroughly
cooked oatmeal and similar cereals, baked potatoes moistened
with broth, mashed potatoes moistened with gravy, and rice
pudding. The pudding is made of two tablespoonfuls of clean
rice, half a teaspoonful of salt, one-third of a cupful of
sugar in five cups of milk. Bake in buttered pudding dish
from two to three hours in slow oven, stirring frequently to
prevent rice from settling.
At the age of two years and a half the child may be permitted
to eat meat, preferably roast beef or mutton, cooked rare, or
minced roast poultry.
Even though sugar is a very essential ingredient in the
child's diet, it is very unwise to let it have this outside
of its regular diet. Pure candy does not hurt the child by
impairing its digestion so much as by interfering with its
appetite for plain food. The child should never be allowed to
form an inordinate appetite for anything, as this is certain
to cause a corresponding deficiency elsewhere in his diet.
Even worse than the practice of giving candy to very young
children is that of teaching them to drink tea and coffee.
These are pure stimulants, supplying no tissue-building
element, and taking the place of nutritious beverages that
do, such as milk and cocoa.
After a child is old enough to be permitted to partake with
discrimination of the general food of the table, he should be
allowed to eat with the family. From the beginning he should
be taught table manners, the use of knife and fork and
napkin, and the subordination of his wishes to those of older
Next to feeding the baby properly, the most important duty of
the mother is to see that it is kept clean. Even in its
nursing days, after each feeding, she should rinse its mouth
out by a weak boracic acid solution, since particles of milk
may remain there which may become a source of infection. It
is well for similar reason to wash her own breasts with the
A baby should be bathed regularly at about the same time each
day. During the first days of a child's life, he should be
sponged in a warm room, with water at blood heat. In removing
the garments, the mother should roll the infant gently from
side to side, rather than lift him bodily. It is well to have
a flannel cloth or apron ready to cover the child when it is
being undressed. The baby's face should be washed in clear
water, firmly and thoroughly with a damp cloth, and dried by
patting with the towel. Then soap should be added to the
water and the other parts of the baby's body washed in it;
first, the head, ears and neck, then the arms, one uncovered
at a time, then, with the mother's hand reaching under the
cover, the back, during which process the baby is laid flat
on the stomach, then the stomach, and last, the legs, one at
a time, the baby being kept covered by the flannel as much as
these operations permit.
The eyes of infants are prone to inflammation, and therefore
require special attention in the way of cleansing. This can
be done best by the use of the boracic solution upon a fresh
pledget of cotton. Be careful not to use the same piece of
cotton for both eyes, and to burn it after use. When the nose
is stopped with mucous, a similar means can be used for
Every mother should study the individual nature and
disposition of her child, in order to know what to do for it
when it cries, for a cry may mean over-feeding as well as
under-feeding, colic, or a wet diaper. Colic is often quickly
relieved by turning the baby upon his stomach and rubbing his
back, or by holding him in front of the fire, or wrapping him
in a heated blanket. In drying the baby his comfort will be
greatly increased by the use of talcum powder. Of course,
soiled diapers should not be put on a child again until they
are thoroughly washed. It will save the mother much trouble
if absorbent cotton is placed within the diapers to receive
the discharges from the bowels. These should be afterwards
Too many clothes is bad for a young baby. If his stomach be
well protected by a flannel band and he is kept from
draughts, his other clothing may be very light, especially in
the Teacher at Home—Manual Training—Utilizing the
Collecting Mania—Physical Exercise—Intellectual
Exercise—Forming the Bath
Habit—Teething—Forming the Toothbrush
Habit—Shoes for Children—Dress—Hats.
When the child reaches the school-age especial care should be
taken of his diet. He should not be allowed to have meat at
breakfast, except a little bacon with his eggs, one of which
may be allowed a school-child when young, two when older.
Well-cooked cereals, such as oatmeal and cream of wheat,
should form the staple article of diet, though these may be
varied by the ready-to-eat breakfast foods, such as
corn-flakes. He should always have either sound fresh fruit,
or stewed fruit, to eat with the cereal. His bread should
always be toasted. Muffins are better for him than pancakes
or waffles, which, however, should be allowed him
occasionally as a treat.
As this kind of a breakfast largely consists of starchy
foods, it should be eaten slowly, as starch requires thorough
mastication. The practice of allowing children to lie late in
bed, and then gulp their breakfast down in a minute or so, in
order not to be late to school, is most pernicious.
The luncheon put up for school-children may consist chiefly
of sandwiches, preferably several small ones of different
kinds, rather than one or two large ones. Biscuit sandwiches
are generally more palatable to a child than plain bread
ones. Besides those made of cold meat, there should be at
least one cheese or one salad-and-nut sandwich, and one jelly
sandwich. A hard-boiled egg, preferably one that has been
cooked for some time in water kept under boiling point, will
vary this diet. Of course fruit, such as an apple, an orange,
or a banana, forms the best dessert. Occasionally cake,
gingerbread, sweet biscuit, or a piece of milk chocolate may
be put in the basket for a pleasant surprise.
The supper of the school-child while young should be a simple
one, something on the order of the breakfast. In the early
days children were fed at night on hasty pudding, or
mush-and-milk, (cornmeal), which is an ideal food when
thoroughly prepared, the meal being slowly sprinkled into the
pot, which was stirred constantly all the while. The North
Italians prepare cornmeal in this fashion; the mush, which
they call "polenta," forms an accompaniment of meat stews,
thus affording all the elements of a "perfect ration."
American cooks should employ cornmeal far more than they do.
Mush in particular has the advantage possessed by King
Arthur's bag-pudding, what cannot be eaten at night may be
served "next morning fried." While fried food is, as a rule,
not good at breakfast for any save one who has hard manual
labor or physical exercise to perform, an exception may be
made of fried mush and fried eggs, because their base is so
nutritious that the heated fat can do little to impair their
digestibility, while it certainly whets the appetite before
eating, and pleases the palate when the food is in the mouth.
It should be borne in mind that those foods which require
much mastication ought especially to be made palatable in
order to be chewed thoroughly. Therefore, starchy materials
ought to be prepared in appetizing ways; on the other hand,
meats, which require less mastication, may dispense with high
seasoning and rich sauces, especially as they have their own
The mother should closely follow the work of the child at
school and aid this in every way at home. She should
patiently answer his many questions, except when she is
convinced that he is not really in search of information, but
is asking them merely for the sake of asking. Wherever the
child ought to be able to reason out the answer, the mother
should assist him to do so by asking him guiding questions in
turn. This is the method that Socrates, the greatest of
teachers and philosophers, employed with his pupils, and,
indeed, with his own children. It is as useful in inculcating
moral lessons as in teaching facts. When one of the sons of
Socrates, Lamprocles, came to him complaining that the
mother, Xanthippe, treated him so hardly that he could not
bear it, the philosopher, by kindly questions, led the boy to
acknowledge his great debt to her for her care of him in
infancy and in sickness, and, by showing the many things
Xanthippe had to try her patience, persuaded him to bear with
her and to give her that love which was her due.
Where manual training is taught in the schools, the mother
should give every opportunity to her children to practice it
at home. Where it is not a part of the school course, parents
should study to devise home substitutes for it, the mother
teaching the girls sewing, embroidery, etc., and the father
instructing the boys in carpentry and the like.
The desire to collect things, which seizes boys and girls at
an early age, should be turned into useful channels by
teachers and parents. Often this valuable instinct is largely
wasted, as in the collecting of postage-stamps, the impulse
which it gives to geographical and historical investigation
being grossly perverted—for example a little island,
that once issued a stamp which is now rare, looming larger in
importance than a great country none of the stamps of which
have any special value.
Every school, or, failing this, every home, should have a
museum, not so much of curiosities as of typical specimens.
These may be geological, botanical, faunal or archaeological;
the rocks and soils and clays of the home country, the
flowers of plants and sections of wood of trees; the skins of
animals and birds (taxidermy is a fascinating employment for
the young) eggs and nests (here the child should be taught to
be a naturalist and not a vandal), and Indian arrow-heads and
In this connection it should be suggested that the most
valuable collection of all is a herbarium of the flowers of
literature, specimens of which may be found in the home
library. That a child is not fond of reading is testimony
that his parents no less than his teachers have failed in
Above all, the parents should see that their boys and girls
have facilities for that physical culture which is necessary
for health and proper development. Those exercises which are
both recreative and useful are preferable. Gardening may be
made a delight instead of a hardship, if the child is allowed
to enjoy the fruits of his labor. Let him sell the vegetables
he raises to the family, and, if there is an excess, to the
neighbors, for pocket money. He will enjoy purchasing his own
clothing even more than using the money solely for his
Healthful sports should be encouraged, and games, such as
chess, that develops the intellect. There are many card
games, such as "Authors," that impart useful instruction in
literature, history, natural science, business, etc. Playing
these in the home is a good thing no less for parent than
child. Many a mother has acquired a well-rounded culture
after her marriage through her determination to "keep ahead
of the children" in their studies and intellectual
The child should be early accustomed to take cold baths, and
then run about naked in a room under the impulse given by the
tingling glow of reaction. If a play is made of the bath the
habit will be formed for life, and in this way, one of the
mother's chief struggles, to make the children clean
themselves, will be abolished. It is natural for a child to
get dirty, and therefore it should be made as habitual an
impulse for them to get clean again.
Of all such habits, keeping the teeth clean is most
important. Children's teeth are a chief source of anxiety to
the mother even before they make their appearance.
Troubles in teething are generally due to innutritious and
illy-digested food. Sometimes, however, when the food is all
right, the teeth will still have difficulty in coming through
the gums. Whenever the mother observes that her crying child
refuses to bring its gums together on anything, she should
examine them, and, if they are swollen, have them lanced.
The "milk-teeth," even though they are temporary, should be
looked after carefully, as their decay will often spread to
the coming permanent teeth. Besides, they should be preserved
as long as possible, and in the best condition, to aid in
mastication. Accordingly, young children should be taught
regularly to rinse out their mouths and to use a tooth-brush
A child should run barefoot as much as conditions and climate
permit. When it wears shoes, these should conform as much as
possible to the shape of the foot. With such footwear, the
active child may form for life the habit of a natural gait,
especially if parents will point out the beauty and
advantages of this, and praise the men and women of their
acquaintance who possess it. It is about the time when a girl
is learning Virgil in the High School that she is
tempted by vanity and the desire to be "like the other girls"
to put on French heels. Then it is that the teacher or mother
should quote to her the line of the Aeneid about
"The true goddess is shown by her gait,"
and save her from an irreparable folly.
If mothers will remember that children are not dolls, and
that mothers are not children to take pleasure in bedecking
them, they will need no advice about dressing their little
ones. There is only one rule for her to follow: She should
consult the comfort and health of the child, and, as far as
consistent with these, the convenience to herself. It may be
"cute" to dress a child like a miniature man or woman, but it
is cruel to the child. There is no reason for distinguishing
sex by dress in young children. "Jumpers" form the best dress
for either a little boy or little girl in which to play. Even
when they are older and a skirt distinguishes the girl,
bloomers or knickerbockers of the same material beneath,
approach the ideal of dress for comfort, health and decency
more nearly than white petticoat and drawers. Indeed, the
skirt is best when it is a part of a blouse, which is also a
suitable dress for a boy. A child should never be tortured
with a large or stiff hat. The heads of children come up to
the middles of men and women, and such a hat will be crushed
in a crowd, and its poor little wearer placed in mortal
terror. Indeed, children should be allowed to go bareheaded
as much as possible, and, when they wear hats, have these
simple in shape and soft in material. The plain cap is the
best head covering for a boy. The girl's may be a little more
ornamental, especially in color. The universal seizure by the
sex upon the boy's "Tam o'Shanter" as peculiarly suited for a
play and school-hat, is therefore right and proper. For a
more showy style, lingerie hats are justified. But the most
beautiful and appropriate form of the "best hat" for a little
girl is one of uniform material, straw, cloth or felt, with
simple crown, and wide, and more or less soft brim,
ornamented by a ribbon alone. The addition of a single flower
may be permitted, though this is like the admission of the
camel's nose into the tent,—it may lead to the entrance
of the hump—the monstrosity of the modern woman's
bonnet, which of late years has by terms imitated a flower
garden, a vegetable garden, an orchard, and, finally, with
the Chanticler fad, a poultry-yard.
The knickerbocker and the short skirt are aesthetic, that is
eye-pleasing, because they mark a natural division of the
body at the knee. There is an artistic justification,
therefore, in mothers keeping their sons out of "long pants"
as long as possible, and in fathers (for it is they who are
the chief objectors) in opposing their daughters' desire to
don the dust-sweeping skirt that marks attainment to
womanhood. Here, however, it is proper that the wishes of the
younger generation triumph. It is a social instinct to
conform to the custom of one's fellows, and the children have
reached "the age of consent" in matters of fashion. Their
fathers and mothers may lend their influence to abolish
foolish customs, or to modify them in the direction of
wisdom, but it is best that this be in their capacity as
citizens, and not as parents.
CARE OF THE PERSON
The Mother's Duty Toward Herself—Her
Dress—Etiquette and Good Manners—The Golden
Rule—Pride in Personal Appearance—The Science of
Beauty Culture—Manicuring as a Home
Employment—Recipes for Toilet
Nails—White Spots—Chapped Hands—Care of the
Skin—Facial Massage—Recipes for Skin
Lotions—Treatment of Facial Blemishes and
Disorders—Care of the Hair—Diseases of the Scalp
and Hair—Gray Hair—Care of Eyebrows and
Certainly this is a duty, not a sin. "Cleanliness is indeed
next to godliness."—JOHN WESLEY—On Dress.
In all her multitudinous concerns the housekeeper should not
forget her duties toward herself. Many a mother in looking
out that her children are a credit to the family in dress and
manners and care of their persons, gives up all thought of
standing as an exemplar of these things among the ladies of
the community. This is a sacrifice of self that is not
commendable, since it defeats its purpose. The mother should
always be herself an illustration of the lessons she teaches,
else they will not be seriously considered.
It is impossible here to give more than a few general
suggestions as to the dress and millinery of the mother. She
should have a variety of simple house-dresses, suited to her
various duties, and these should be kept as neat as possible.
Each should be made for its purpose, not converted to it from
one of her fine dresses. Nothing gives an impression of
slatternliness more than the wearing about the house of a
frayed and soiled garment "that has seen better days."
The best dresses and hats of a woman, even one who goes
little "into society," should also be sufficient in number
and varied in style to suit the changing seasons of the year,
and the widely differing occasions for use which occur in
every station of life. The purchase of several good articles
of attire rather than one or two is economical in the end.
There is not only the obvious mathematical reason that, if
one dress wears a year, four dresses must be bought in four
years, whether this is done simultaneously or successively,
but there is the physical reason that a dress, like a person,
that has regular periods of rest, becomes restored in
quality. Accordingly, all dresses should be laid very
carefully away when not in use, and the proper means taken to
Unfortunately the arbitrary and senseless changes in fashion
render this practice hard to follow. No woman likes to look
out of style. However, by a little cleverness garments and
hats may be adapted to the prevailing mode (although the
arbiters of fashion, in the interests of manufacturers, try
by violent changes of style to render this impracticable).
These adaptations may not be in the height of fashion, but
they will be in good form and taste. Indeed, it is never good
taste to follow extremes of style. The well-known lines of
Pope on the subject hold true in every age:
"....in fashions the rule will hold,
Alike fantastic if too new or old;
Be not the first by whom the new are tried,
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside."
Some of the best-dressed women in artistic and musical
circles design their clothes wholly to suit their personal
appearance, with such success that their independence of the
prevailing mode of large or small hats or sleeves, striped or
checked fabrics, etc., wins universal admiration.
Remember that a dress or a hat is never a "creation" in
itself. The wearer must always be considered. Short, stout
women should avoid horizontal stripes or lines of
ornamentation that call attention to breadth, and should
choose those perpendicular stripes and lines which tend to
give an impression of height and slenderness. A hat lining
may be used to put rosiness into a pale face, and a color may
be selected for a dress which will neutralize too much
redness in the skin. But these are matters of common
knowledge to all women. The trouble is, that in their desire
to be "in style," many women forget, or even deliberately
ignore these fundamental principles of art in dress. Fondness
for a particular color, as a color, causes many women to wear
it, regardless of its relation to their complexion; and there
have been women of mystical mind who, believing that each
quality of soul had its correspondent in a particular hue,
wore those colors which they thought were significant of
their chief traits of character—with weird results, as
you may imagine.
It is unnecessary, in this book of "practical suggestions,"
to discuss in detail the question of etiquette, which may be
defined as "the prevailing fashion in social intercourse."
Styles in visiting cards change from year to year, and the
social usages of one city differ from another. If it is
required to know these, the latest special work on etiquette
should be procured.
The general principles of good manners, however, which lie at
the basis of etiquette, just as good morals form the
foundation of law, although there are discrepancies in both
cases, may appropriately be presented here, though briefly.
Good manners and good morals alike follow the Golden Rule:
"Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, do ye even
so to them." Egotism and selfishness are the bane of both.
True politeness consists in considering the pleasure of
others as a thing in itself, without regard to your own
advantage. If an attention is paid, a gift given, a service
rendered, these should be done solely for the recipient's
happiness, not with a view to his making a return in kind,
possibly with interest. It is good manners to call on people
who will be pleased to see you; not on those whom you wish to
see, but to whom you and your affairs are of no concern. A
first visit to a newcomer in town is right and proper. A
stranger is presumed to be desirous of making friends, but
the first call ought to indicate whether or not he and you
have that community of interest which is essential to
friendship. If you are the newcomer, it is your duty to show
your appreciation of the attention by returning first calls,
but you should so act that your hosts will feel free to
continue the acquaintance if it will be agreeable to them, or
discontinue it if it is not. Indeed, in every situation you
should give the other party this choice. Friendship is one of
the most valuable forms of social energy, and it should
carefully be conserved. Yet more than any other form it is
wasted, because of a false regard for social conventions. At
how many calls are both parties bored! How many
persons—women in particular, who have not the man's
freedom in selecting associates—continue in the
treadmill round of an uncongenial social circle! To escape
from this may require the special exercise of will, and the
incurring of criticism, but these ought to be assumed.
However, in most cases, a woman may gradually escape from the
distasteful circle and form new and more congenial friends
After the brightening effects on mind and spirits of social
intercourse comes the advantage of toning up the personal
appearance. A decent self-respect in dress should always be
flavored with a touch of pride, for this is an excellent
preservative. To have a proper pride, there must be the
incentive of the presence of other people whose admiration we
may win. Pride in dress is naturally conjoined with the care
of the person. There is an excellent term for this, which,
though borrowed from the stable, carries with it only sweet
and wholesome suggestions. It is "well-groomed." A
well-groomed woman is not only a well-gowned woman, but one
who, like a favorite mare, is always spick and span in her
person, and happy in her quiet consciousness of it. And every
woman, whether she possesses a maid or not, indeed, whether
she has fine gowns or not, may win the admiration of all her
associates by her "grooming."
GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF COOKING
The Prevalence of Good Recipes for All Save Meat
Dishes—Increased Cost of Meat Makes These
Desirable—No Need to Save Expense by Giving Up
Meat—The "Government Cook Book"—Value of Meat as
Food—Relative Values and Prices of the Cuts of Meat.
We may live without poetry, music and art;
We may live without conscience, and live without heart;
We may live without friends; we may live without books;
But civilized man cannot live without cooks.
All the other duties of the housewife are subsidiary to the
great subject of preparing food for the household. The care
of the home, the care of health, etc., all either bear upon
this work or require ability to perform it.
With decks cleared for action, therefore, we will proceed to
discuss the fundamental principles of cookery, the
application of which, in the form of specific recipes, will
follow in a separate chapter.
In the limited space which can be here devoted to the
subject, it will be assumed that the housewife is a cook, and
can follow plain directions, and that she is familiar with
the methods of preparing the ordinary meals that are
universal throughout the country. It will be also taken for
granted that she has one or more general cook books
containing a wide variety of recipes for the making of bread
in its various forms, cakes, pies, omelettes, salads,
desserts, etc., and the discussion will be confined to meats,
wherein, owing to advancing prices, new economical methods of
preparation are coming into practice, based upon a scientific
knowledge of food values.
Vegetarianism and fruitarianism are being adopted by many
households, less as a matter of principle than as a recourse
from what are considered the present prohibitive prices of
meats. Now the proper way to solve a problem is not to evade
it, but to face it and conquer it, and this is eminently true
of the meat problem. Granted that the proportion of family
income devoted to food cannot be increased, it is a fact
that, by an intelligent study of the food value of the
different kinds of meat, and of economic ways of preparing
them, the expense of living may be maintained at the former
rate, if not, indeed, materially lessened, with a great
increase in both the nutritive value and the palatability of
the family meals.
The "new nationalism" of America, which, after all, is only
the turning to newer needs of the old nationalism that gave
homesteads to the people and supplied them with improved
methods of agriculture, is rightly taking the lead in the
scientific education of the housekeeper in this household
With special regard to the requirements of the people in
these days of rising prices, especially of meats, the United
States Department of Agriculture has issued a booklet,
prepared by C.F. Langworthy, Ph.D., and Caroline L. Hunt,
A.B., experts in nutrition connected with the Department,
which gives authoritative information about the cheaper cuts
of meat and the preparation of inexpensive meat dishes. This
has become generally known as "The Government Cook Book." By
the permission of the Department we here present portions of
the information it contains, together with those recipes
which best illustrate the principles of meat cookery for the
VALUE OF MEAT AS FOOD
Considering the fact that meat forms such an important part
of the diet, and the further fact that the price of meat, as
of other foods, has advanced in recent years, it is natural
for housekeepers to seek more economical methods of preparing
meat for the table, and to turn their thoughts toward the
less expensive cuts and ask what economy is involved in their
use, how they may be prepared, and whether the less expensive
dishes are as nutritious and as thoroughly and easily
digested as the costlier ones.
The value of meat as food depends chiefly on the presence of
two classes of nutrients, (1) protein or nitrogenous
compounds, and (2) fat. The mineral matter it contains,
particularly the phosphorus compounds, is also of much
importance, though it is small in quantity. Protein is
essential for the construction and maintenance of the body,
and both protein and fat yield energy for muscular power and
for keeping up the temperature of the body. Fat is especially
important as a source of energy. It is possible to combine
the fat and protein of animal foods so as to meet the
requirements of the body with such materials only, and this
is done in the Arctic regions, where vegetable food is
lacking; but in general it is considered that diet is better
and more wholesome when, in addition to animal foods, such as
meat, which is rich in proteins and fats, it contains
vegetable foods, which are richest in sugar, starch, and
other carbohydrates. Both animal and vegetable foods supply
the mineral substances which are essential to body growth and
The difference between the various cuts of meat consists
chiefly in amount of fat and consequently in the fuel value
to the body. So far as the proteins are concerned, i.e., the
substances which build and repair the important tissues of
the body, very little difference is found.
This general uniformity in proportion of protein makes it
easy for the housekeeper who does not wish to enter into the
complexities of food values to make sure that her family is
getting enough of this nutrient. From the investigations
carried on in the Office of Experiment Stations the
conclusion has been drawn that of the total amount of protein
needed every day, which is usually estimated to be 100 grams
or 3-1/2 ounces, one-half or 50 grams is taken in the form of
animal food, which of course includes milk, eggs, poultry,
fish, etc., as well as meat. The remainder is taken in the
form of bread and other cereal foods and beans and other
vegetables. The portion of cooked meat which may be referred
to as an ordinary "helping," 3 to 5 ounces (equivalent to
3-1/2 to 5-1/2 ounces of raw meat), may be considered to
contain some 19 to 29 grams of protein, or approximately half
of the amount which is ordinarily secured from animal food.
An egg or a glass of milk contains about 8 grams more, so the
housekeeper who gives each adult member of her family a
helping of meat each day and eggs, milk, or cheese, together
with the puddings or other dishes which contain eggs and
milk, can feel sure that she is supplying sufficient protein,
for the remainder necessary will be supplied by bread,
cereals, and other vegetable food.
The nutrition investigations of the Office of Experiment
Stations show also that there is practically no difference
between the various cuts of meat or the meats from different
animals with respect to either the thoroughness or the ease
with which they are digested. Therefore, those who wish to
use the cheaper cuts need not feel that in so doing their
families are less well nourished than by the more expensive
RELATIVE VALUES AND PRICES OF THE CUTS OF MEAT
The relative retail prices of the various cuts usually bear a
direct relation to the favor with which they are regarded by
the majority of persons, the juicy tender cuts of good flavor
selling for the higher prices. When porterhouse steak sells
for 25 cents a pound, it may be assumed that in town or
village markets round steak would ordinarily sell for about
15 cents, and chuck ribs, one of the best cuts of the
forequarter, for 10 cents. This makes it appear that the
chuck ribs are less than half as expensive as porterhouse
steak and two-thirds as expensive as the round. But apparent
economy is not always real economy, and in this case the
bones in the three cuts should be taken into account. Of the
chuck ribs, more than one-half is bone or other materials
usually classed under the head of "waste" or "refuse." Of the
round, one-twelfth is waste, and of the porterhouse
one-eighth. In buying the chuck, then, the housewife gets, at
the prices assumed, less than one-half pound of food for 10
cents, making the net price of the edible portion 22 cents a
pound; in buying round, she gets eleven-twelfths of a pound
for 15 cents, making the net value about 16-1/2 cents; in
buying porterhouse, she gets seven-eighths of a pound for 25
cents, making the net value about 28-1/2 cents a pound. The
relative prices, therefore, of the edible portions are 22,
16-1/2, and 28-1/2 cents; or to put it in a different way, a
dollar at the prices assumed will buy 4-1/2 pounds of solid
meat from the cut, known as chuck, 6 pounds of such meat from
the round, and only 3-1/2 pounds of such meat from the
porterhouse. To this should be added the fact that because of
the way in which porterhouse is usually cooked no nutriment
is obtained from the bone, while by the long slow process by
which the cheaper cuts, except when they are broiled or
fried, are prepared the gelatin, fat, and flavoring material
of the bone are extracted. The bones of meats that are cooked
in water, therefore, are in a sense not all refuse, for they
contain some food which may be secured by proper cookery.
It is true, of course, that the bones of the steaks may be
used for soup making, and that the nourishment may thus be
utilized, but this must be done by a separate process from
that of cooking the steak itself.
TEXTURE AND FLAVOR OF MEAT
Although meats vary greatly in the amount of fat which they
contain and to a much less degree in their protein content,
the chief difference to be noted between the cheaper and more
expensive cuts is not so much in their nutritive value as in
their texture and flavor. All muscle consists of tiny fibers
which are tender in young animals and in those parts of older
animals in which there has been little muscular strain. Under
the backbone in the hind quarter is the place from which the
tenderest meat comes. This is usually called the tenderloin.
Sometimes in beef and also in pork it is taken out whole and
sometimes it is left to be cut up with the rest of the loin.
In old animals, and in those parts of the body where there
has been much muscular action, the neck and the legs for
example, the muscle fibers are tough and hard. But there is
another point which is of even greater importance than this.
The fibers of all muscle are bound together in bundles and in
groups of bundles by a thin membrane which is known as
connective tissue. This membrane, if heated in water or
steam, is converted into gelatin. The process goes quickly if
the meat is young and tender; more slowly if it is tough.
Connective tissue is also soluble in acetic acid, that acid
to which the sourness of vinegar is due. For this reason it
is possible to make meat more tender by soaking it in vinegar
or in vinegar and water, the proportions of the two depending
on the strength of the vinegar. Sour beef or "sauer fleisch,"
as it is known to Germans, is a palatable dish of this sort.
Since vinegar is a preservative this suggests a method by
which a surplus of beef may be kept for several days and then
converted into a palatable dish.
Flavor in meat depends mainly on certain nitrogenous
substances which are called extractives because they can be
dissolved out or "extracted" by soaking the meat in cold
water. The quality of the extractives and the resulting
flavor of the meat vary with the condition of the animal and
in different parts of its body. They are usually considered
better developed in older than in very young animals. Many
persons suppose extractives or the flavor they cause are best
in the most expensive cuts of meat; in reality, cuts on the
side of beef are often of better flavor than tender cuts, but
owing to the difficulty of mastication this fact is
frequently not detected. The extractives have little or no
nutritive value in themselves, but they are of great
importance in causing the secretion of digestive juices at
the proper time, in the right amount, and of the right
chemical character. It is this quality which justifies the
taking of soup at the beginning of a meal and the giving of
broths, meat extracts, and similar preparations to invalids
and weak persons. These foods have little nutritive material
in themselves, but they are great aids to the digestion of
The amount of the extractives which will be brought out into
the water when meat is boiled depends upon the size of the
pieces into which the meat is cut and on the length of time
they are soaked in cold water before being heated. A good way
to hinder the escape of the flavoring matter is to sear the
surface of the meat quickly by heating it in fat, or the same
end may be attained by plunging it into boiling water. Such
solubility is taken advantage of in making beef tea at home
and in the manufacture of meat extract, the extracted
material being finally concentrated by evaporating the water.
GENERAL METHODS OF COOKING MEAT
The advantages of variety in the methods of preparing and
serving are to be considered even more seriously in the
cooking of the cheaper cuts than in the cooking of the more
expensive ones, and yet even in this connection it is a
mistake to lose sight of the fact that, though there is a
great variety of dishes, the processes involved are few in
An experienced teacher of cooking, a woman who has made very
valuable contributions to the art of cookery by showing that
most of the numerous processes outlined and elaborately
described in the cook books can be classified under a very
few heads, says that she tries "to reduce the cooking of meat
to its lowest terms and teach only three ways of cooking. The
first is the application of intense heat to keep in the
juices. This is suitable only for portions of clear meat
where the fibers are tender. By the second method the meats
are put in cold water and cooked at a low temperature. This
is suitable for bone, gristle, and the toughest portions of
the meat which for this purpose should be divided into small
bits. The third is a combination of these two processes and
consists of searing and then stewing the meat. This is
suitable for halfway cuts, i. e., those that are neither
tender nor very tough." The many varieties of meat dishes are
usually only a matter of flavor and garnish.
In other words, of the three processes the first is the short
method; it aims to keep all the juices within the meat. The
second is a very long method employed for the purpose of
getting all or most of the juices out. The third is a
combination of the two not so long as the second and yet
requiring so much time that there is danger of the meat being
rendered tasteless unless certain precautions are taken, such
as searing in hot fat or plunging into boiling water.
There is a wide difference between exterior and interior cuts
of meat with respect to tenderness induced by cooking. When
beef flank is cooked by boiling for two hours, the toughness
of the fibers greatly increases during the first half hour of
the cooking period, and then diminishes so that at the end of
the cooking period the meat is found to be in about the same
condition with respect to toughness or tenderness of the
fibers as at the beginning. On the other hand, in case of the
tenderloin, there is a decrease in toughness of the fibers
throughout the cooking period which is particularly marked in
the first few minutes of cooking, and at the end of the
cooking period the meat fibers are only half as tough as
GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF COOKING
Texture and Flavor of Meat—General Methods of Cooking
Meat—Economies in Use of Meat.
A good idea of the changes which take place while meat is
being cooked can be obtained by examining a piece of flesh
which has been "cooked to pieces," as the saying goes. In
this the muscular fibers may be seen completely separated one
from another, showing that the connective tissue has been
destroyed. It is also evident that the fibers themselves are
of different texture from those in the raw meat. In preparing
meat for the table it is usual to stop short of the point of
disintegration, but while the long process of cooking is
going on the connective tissue is gradually softening and the
fibers are gradually changing in texture. The former is the
thing to be especially desired, but the latter is not. For
this reason it is necessary to keep the temperature below the
boiling point and as low as is consistent with thorough
cooking, for cooks seem agreed, as the result of experience
shows, that slow gentle cooking results in better texture
than is the case when meat is boiled rapidly. This is the
philosophy that lies back of the simmering process.
Losses of elements vary considerably with the method of
cooking employed, being of course greatest where small pieces
of meat are subjected to prolonged cooking. The chief loss in
weight when meat is cooked is due to the driving off of
water. When beef is cooked by pan broiling—that is,
searing in a hot, greased pan, a common cooking
process—no great loss of nutrition results,
particularly if the fat and other substances adhering to the
pan are utilized in the preparation of gravy. When beef is
cooked by boiling, there is a loss of 3 to 20 per cent. of
material present, though this is not an actual loss if the
broth is utilized for soup or in some similar way. Even in
the case of meat which is used for the preparation of beef
tea or broth, the losses of nutritive material are apparently
small though much of the flavoring matter has been removed.
The amount of fat found in broth varies directly with the
amount originally present in the meat; the fatter the meat
the greater the quantity of fat in the broth. The loss of
water in cooking varies inversely with the fatness of the
meat; that is, the fatter the meat the smaller the shrinkage
due to loss of water. In cooked meat the loss of various
constituents is inversely proportional to the size of the
cut. In other words, the smaller the piece of meat the
greater the percentage of loss. Loss also appears to be
dependent somewhat upon the length of time the cooking is
continued. When pieces of meat weighing 1-1/2 to 5 pounds are
cooked in water somewhat under the boiling point there
appears to be little difference in the amount of material
found in broth whether the meat is placed in cold water or
hot water at the beginning of the cooking period. When meat
is roasted in the oven the amount of material removed is
somewhat affected by the character of the roasting pan and
similar factors, thus the total loss in weight is naturally
greater in an open than in a closed pan as the open pan
offers more opportunity for the evaporation of water. Judging
from the average results of a considerable number of tests,
it appears that a roast weighing 6 pounds raw should weigh 5
pounds after cooking, or in other words the loss is about
one-sixth of the original weight. This means that if the raw
meat costs 20 cents per pound the cooked would represent an
increase of 4 cents a pound on the original cost; but this
increase would, of course, be lessened if all the drippings
and gravy are utilized.
ECONOMIES IN USE OF MEAT
The expense for meat in the home may be reduced in several
ways, and each housekeeper can best judge which to use in her
own case. From a careful consideration of the subject it
appears that the various suggestions which have been made on
the subject may be grouped under the following general heads:
Economy in selection and purchase so as to take advantage of
varying market conditions; purchasing meat in wholesale
quantities for home use; serving smaller portions of meat
than usual or using meat less frequently; careful attention
to the use of meat, bone, fat, and small portions commonly
trimmed off and thrown away and the utilization of left-over
portions of cooked meat; and the use of the less expensive
The choice of cuts should correspond to the needs of the
family and the preferences of its members. Careful
consideration of market conditions is also useful, not only
to make sure that the meat is handled and marketed in a
sanitary way, but also to take advantage of any favorable
change in price which may be due, for instance, to a large
local supply of some particular kind or cut of meat. In towns
where there is opportunity for choice, it may sometimes be
found more satisfactory not to give all the family trade to
one butcher; by going to various markets before buying the
housekeeper is in a better position to hear of variations in
prices and so be in a position to get the best values.
Ordering by telephone or from the butcher's boy at the door
may be less economical than going to market in person as the
range of choice and prices is of course more obvious when the
purchaser sees the goods and has a chance to observe market
conditions. Each housekeeper must decide for herself whether
or not the greater convenience compensates for the smaller
range of choice which such ordering from description entails.
No matter what the cut, whether expensive or cheap, it can
not be utilized to the best advantage unless it is well
cooked. A cheap cut of meat, well cooked, is always
preferable to a dear one spoiled in the preparation.
There is sometimes an advantage in using canned meat and meat
products, and, if they are of good quality, such products are
wholesome and palatable.
That economy is furthered by careful serving at table is
obvious. If more meat is given at each serving than the
person wishes or habitually eats the table waste is unduly
increased. Economy in all such points is important and not
beneath the dignity of the family.
In many American families meat is eaten two or three times a
day; in such cases the simplest way of reducing the meat bill
would very likely be to cut down the amount used, either by
serving it less often or by using less at a time. Deficiency
of protein need not be feared when one good meat dish a day
is served, especially if such nitrogenous materials as eggs,
milk, cheese, and beans are used instead. In localities where
fish can be obtained fresh and cheap, it might well be more
frequently substituted for meat for the sake of variety as
well as economy. Ingenious cooks have many ways of "extending
the flavor" of meat, that is, of combining a small quantity
with other materials to make a large dish, as in meat pies,
stews, and similar dishes.
By buying in large quantities under certain conditions it may
be possible to procure meat at better prices than those which
ordinarily prevail in the retail market. The whole side or
quarter of an animal can frequently be obtained at noticeably
less cost per pound than when it is bought by cut, and can be
used to advantage when the housekeeper understands the art
and has proper storage facilities and a good-sized family.
When a hind quarter of mutton, for example, comes from the
market the flank (on which the meat is thin and, as good
housekeepers believe, likely to spoil more easily than some
other cuts) should be cooked immediately, or, if preferred,
it may be covered with a thin layer of fat (rendered suet)
which can be easily removed when the time for cooking comes.
The flank, together with the rib bone, ordinarily makes a
gallon of good Scotch broth. The remainder of the hind
quarter may be used for roast or chops. The whole pig carcass
has always been used by families living on the farms where
the animals are slaughtered, and in village homes; town
housekeepers not infrequently buy pigs whole and "put down"
the meat. An animal six months old and weighing about one
hundred pounds would be suitable for this purpose. The hams
and thin pieces of belly meat may be pickled and smoked. The
thick pieces of belly meat, packed in a two-gallon jar and
covered with salt or brine, will make a supply of fat pork to
cook with beans and other vegetables. The tenderloin makes
good roasts, the head and feet may go into head cheese or
scrapple, and the trimmings and other scraps of lean meat
serve for a few pounds of home-made sausage. In some large
families it is found profitable to "corn" a fore quarter of
beef for spring and summer use. Formerly it was a common farm
practice to dry beef, but now it seems to be more usual to
purchase beef which has been dried in large establishments.
The general use of refrigerators and ice chests in homes at
the present time has had a great influence on the length of
time meat may be kept and so upon the amount a housewife may
buy at a time with advantage.
In the percentage of fat present in different kinds and cuts
of meat, a greater difference exists than in the percentage
of proteids. The lowest percentage of fat is 8.1 per cent. in
the shank of beef; the highest is 32 per cent. in pork chops.
The highest priced cuts, loin and ribs of beef, contain 20 to
25 per cent. If the fat of the meat is not eaten at the
table, and is not utilized otherwise, a pecuniary loss
results. If butter is the fat used in making crusts for meat
pies, and in preparing the cheaper cuts, there is little
economy involved; the fats from other meat should therefore
be saved, as they may be used in place of butter in such
cases, as well as in preparing many other foods. The fat from
sausage or from the soup kettle, or from a pot roast, which
is savory because it has been cooked with vegetables, is
particularly acceptable. Sometimes savory vegetables, onion,
or sweet herbs are added to fat when it is tried out to give
Almost any meat bones can be used in soup making, and if the
meat is not all removed from them the soup is better. But
some bones, especially the rib bones, if they have a little
meat left on them, can be grilled or roasted into very
palatable dishes. The "sparerib" of southern cooks is made of
the rib bones from a roast of pork, and makes a favorite dish
when well browned. The braised ribs of beef often served in
high-class restaurants are made from the bones cut from rib
roasts. In this connection it may be noted that many of the
dishes popular in good hotels are made of portions of meat
such as are frequently thrown away in private houses, but
which with proper cooking and seasoning make attractive
dishes and give most acceptable variety to the menu. An old
recipe for "broiled bones" directs that the bone (beef ribs
or sirloin bones on which the meat is not left too thick in
any part) be sprinkled with salt and pepper (Cayenne), and
broiled over a clear fire until browned. Another example of
the use of bones is boiled marrow bone. The bones are cut in
convenient lengths, the ends covered with a little piece of
dough over which a floured cloth is tied, and cooked in
boiling water for two hours. After removing the cloth and
dough, the bones are placed upright on toast and served.
Prepared as above, the bones may also be baked in a deep
dish. Marrow is sometimes removed from bones after cooking,
seasoned, and served on toast.
Trimmings from meat may be utilized in various "made dishes,"
or they can always be put to good use in the soup kettle. It
is surprising how many economies may be practiced in such
ways and also in the table use of left-over portions of
cooked meat if attention is given to the matter. Many of the
following recipes involve the use of such left-overs. Others
will suggest themselves or may be found in all the usual
RECIPES FOR MEAT DISHES
Trying out Fat—Extending the Flavor of Meat—Meat
Stew—Meat Dumplings—Meat Pies and Similar
Dishes—Meat with Starchy Materials—Turkish
Pilaf—Stew from Cold Roast—Meat with
Beans—Haricot of Mutton—Meat Salads—Meat
with Eggs—Roast Beef with Yorkshire
Pudding—Corned Beef Hash with Poached
Eggs—Stuffing—Mock Duck—Veal or Beef
Birds—Utilizing the Cheaper Cuts of Meat.
"To be a good cook means the knowledge of all fruits, herbs,
balms and spices, and of all that is healing and sweet in
fields and groves, savory in meats. It means carefulness,
inventiveness, watchfulness, willingness, and readiness of
appliance. It means the economy of your great-grandmother and
the science of modern chemistry; it means much tasting and no
wasting; it means English thoroughness, French art, and
Arabian hospitality; it means, in fine, that you are to be
perfectly and always ladies (loaf-givers), and are to see
that everybody has something nice to eat."—JOHN RUSKIN.
(In these directions a level spoonful or level
cupful is called for.)
TRYING OUT FAT
A double boiler is the best utensil to use in trying out
small portions of fat. There is no danger of burning the fat,
and the odor is much less noticeable than if it is heated in
a dish set directly over the fire.
Common household methods of extending the meat flavor through
a considerable quantity of material which would otherwise be
lacking in distinctive taste are to serve the meat with
dumplings, generally in the dish with it, to combine the meat
with crusts, as in meat pies or meat rolls, or to serve the
meat on toast and biscuits. Borders of rice, hominy, or
mashed potatoes are examples of the same principles applied
in different ways. By serving some preparation of flour,
rice, hominy, or other food rich in starch with the meat we
get a dish which in itself approaches nearer to the balanced
ration than meat alone and one in which the meat flavor is
extended through a large amount of the material.
5 pounds of a cheaper cut of beef.
4 cups of potatoes cut into small pieces.
2/3 cup each of turnips and carrots cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
1/2 onion, chopped.
1/4 cup of flour.
Salt and pepper.
Cut the meat into small pieces, removing the fat; try out the
fat and brown the meat in it. When well browned, cover with
boiling water, boil for five minutes and then cook in a lower
temperature until the meat is done. If tender, this will
require about three hours on the stove or five hours in the
fireless cooker. Add carrots, turnips, onions, pepper, and
salt during the last hour of cooking, and the potatoes
fifteen minutes before serving. Thicken with the flour
diluted with cold water. Serve with dumplings (see below). If
this dish is made in the fireless cooker, the mixture must be
reheated when the vegetables are put in. Such a stew may also
be made of mutton. If veal or pork is used the vegetables may
be omitted or simply a little onion used. Sometimes for
variety the browning of the meat is dispensed with. When
white meat, such as chicken, veal, or fresh pork is used, the
gravy is often made rich with cream or milk thickened with
flour. The numerous minor additions which may be introduced
give the great variety of such stews found in cookbooks.
2 cups flour.
4 teaspoonfuls baking powder.
2/3 cup milk or a little more if needed.
1/2 teaspoonful salt.
2 teaspoonfuls butter.
Mix and sift the dry ingredients. Work in the butter with the
tips of fingers, add milk gradually, roll out to a thickness
of one-half inch, and cut with biscuit cutter. In some
countries it is customary to season the dumplings themselves
with herbs, etc., or to stuff them with bread crumbs fried in
butter, instead of depending upon the gravy to season them.
A good way to cook dumplings is to put them in a buttered
steamer over a kettle of hot water. They should cook from
twelve to fifteen minutes. If it is necessary to cook them
with the stew, enough liquid should be removed so that they
may be placed upon the meat and vegetables.
Sometimes the dough is baked and served as biscuits over
which the stew is poured. If the stew is made with chicken or
veal it is generally termed a fricassee.
MEAT PIES AND SIMILAR DISHES
Meat pies represent another method of combining flour with
meat. They are ordinarily baked in a fairly deep dish the
sides of which may or may not be lined with dough. The cooked
meat, cut into small pieces, is put into the dish, sometimes
with small pieces of vegetables, a gravy is poured over the
meat, the dish is covered with a layer of dough, and then
baked. Most commonly the dough is like that used for soda or
cream-of-tartar biscuit, but sometimes shortened pastry
dough, such as is made for pies, is used. This is especially
the case in the fancy individual dishes usually called
patties. Occasionally the pie is covered with a potato crust
in which case the meat is put directly into the dish without
lining the latter. Stewed beef, veal, and chicken are
probably most frequently used in pies, but any kind of meat
may be used, or several kinds in combination. Pork pies are
favorite dishes in many rural regions, especially at
hog-killing time, and when well made are excellent.
If pies are made from raw meat and vegetables longer cooking
is needed than otherwise, and in such cases it is well to
cover the dish with a plate, cook until the pie is nearly
done, then remove the plate, add the crust, and return to the
oven until the crust is lightly browned. Many cooks insist on
piercing holes in the top crust of a meat pie directly it is
taken from the oven.
MEAT AND TOMATO PIE
This dish presents an excellent way of using up small
quantities of either cold beef or cold mutton. If fresh
tomatoes are used, peel and slice them; if canned, drain off
the liquid. Place a layer of tomato in a baking dish, then a
layer of sliced meat, and over the two dredge flour, pepper,
and salt; repeat until the dish is nearly full, then put in
an extra layer of tomato and cover the whole with a layer of
pastry or of bread or cracker crumbs. When the quantity of
meat is small, it may be "helped out" by boiled potatoes or
other suitable vegetables. A few oysters or mushrooms improve
the flavor, especially when beef is used. The pie will need
to be baked from half an hour to an hour, according to its
size and the heat of the oven.
MEAT WITH STARCHY MATERIALS
Macaroni cooked with chopped ham, hash made of meat and
potatoes or meat and rice, meat croquettes—made of meat
and some starchy materials like bread crumbs, cracker dust,
or rice—are other familiar examples of meat combined
with starchy materials. Pilaf, a dish very common in the
Orient and well known in the United States, is of this
character and easily made. When there is soup or soup stock
on hand it can be well used in the pilaf.
1/2 cup of rice.
3/4 cup of tomatoes stewed and strained.
1 cup stock or broth.
3 tablespoonfuls of butter.
Cook the rice and tomatoes with the stock in a double boiler
until the rice is tender, removing the cover after the rice
is cooked if there is too much liquid. Add the butter and
stir it in with a fork to prevent the rice from being broken.
A little catsup or Chili sauce with water enough to make
three-quarters of a cup may be substituted for the tomatoes.
This may be served as a border with meat, or served
separately in the place of a vegetable, or may make the main
dish at a meal, as it is savory and reasonably nutritious.
STEW FROM COLD ROAST
This dish provides a good way of using up the remnants of a
roast, either of beef or mutton, The meat should be freed
from fat, gristle, and bones, cut into small pieces, slightly
salted, and put into a kettle with water enough to nearly
cover it. It should simmer until almost ready to break in
pieces, when onions and raw potatoes, peeled and quartered,
should be added. A little soup stock may also be added if
available. Cook until the potatoes are done, then thicken the
liquor or gravy with flour. The stew may be attractively
served on slices of crisp toast.
MEAT WITH BEANS
Dry beans are very rich in protein, the percentage being
fully as large as that in meat. Dry beans and other similar
legumes are usually cooked in water, which they absorb, and
so are diluted before serving; on the other hand, meats by
the ordinary methods of cooking are usually deprived of some
of the water originally present—facts which are often
overlooked in discussing the matter. Nevertheless, when beans
are served with meat the dish is almost as rich in protein as
if it consisted entirely of meat.
Pork and beans is such a well-known dish that recipes are not
needed. Some cooks use a piece of corned mutton or a piece of
corned beef in place of salt or corned pork or bacon or use
butter or olive oil in preparing this dish.
In the Southern States, where cowpeas are a common crop, they
are cooked in the same way as dried beans. Cowpeas baked with
salt pork or bacon make an excellent dish resembling pork and
beans, but of distinctive flavor. Cowpeas boiled with ham or
with bacon are also well-known and palatable dishes.
HARICOT OF MUTTON
2 tablespoonfuls of chopped onions.
2 tablespoonfuls of butter or drippings.
2 cups of water, and salt and pepper.
1-1/2 pounds of lean mutton or lamb cut into 2-inch pieces.
Fry the onions in the butter, add the meat, and brown; cover
with water and cook until the meat is tender. Serve with a
border of Lima beans, seasoned with salt, pepper, butter, and
a little chopped parsley. Fresh, canned, dried, or evaporated
Lima beans may be used in making this dish.
Whether meat salads are economical or not depends upon the
way in which the materials are utilized. If in chicken salad,
for example, only the white meat of chickens especially
bought for the purpose and only the inside stems of expensive
celery are used, it can hardly be cheaper than plain chicken.
But, if portions of meat left over from a previous serving
are mixed with celery grown at home, they certainly make an
economical dish, and one very acceptable to most persons.
Cold roast pork or tender veal—in fact, any white meat
can be utilized in the same way. Apples cut into cubes may be
substituted for part of the celery; many cooks consider that
with the apple the salad takes the dressing better than with
the celery alone. Many also prefer to marinate (i.e., mix
with a little oil and vinegar) the meat and celery or celery
and apples before putting in the final dressing, which may be
either mayonnaise or a good boiled dressing.
MEAT WITH EGGS
Occasionally eggs are combined with meat, making very
nutritious dishes. Whether this is an economy or not of
course depends on the comparative cost of eggs and meat.
In general, it may be said that eggs are cheaper food than
meat when a dozen costs less than 1-1/2 pounds of meat; for a
dozen eggs weigh about 1-1/2 pounds and the proportions of
protein and fat which they contain are not far different from
the proportions of these nutrients in the average cut of
meat. When eggs are 30 cents a dozen they compare favorably
with a round of beef at 20 cents a pound.
Such common dishes as ham and eggs, bacon or salt pork and
eggs, and omelette with minced ham or other meat are familiar
to all cooks.
ROAST BEEF WITH YORKSHIRE PUDDING
The beef is roasted as usual and the pudding made as follows:
1 pint milk.
1 cupful flour.
1 teaspoonful salt.
Beat the eggs until very light, then add the milk. Pour the
mixture over the flour, add the salt, and beat well. Bake in
hissing hot gem pans or in an ordinary baking pan for
forty-five minutes, and baste with drippings from the beef.
If gem pans are used they should be placed on a dripping pan
to protect the floor of the oven from the fat. Many cooks
prefer to bake Yorkshire pudding in the pan with the meat; in
this case the roast should be placed on a rack and the
pudding batter poured on the pan under it.
CORNED-BEEF HASH WITH POACHED EGGS
A dish popular with many persons is corned-beef hash with
poached eggs on top of the hash. A slice of toast is
sometimes used under the hash. This suggests a way of
utilizing the small amount of corned-beef hash which would
otherwise be insufficient for a meal.
Housekeepers occasionally use up odd bits of other meat in a
similar way, chopping and seasoning them and then warming and
serving in individual baking cups with a poached or shirred
egg on each.
Another popular way to extend the flavor of meat over a large
amount of food is by the use of stuffing. As it is impossible
to introduce much stuffing into some pieces of meat even if
the meat is cut to make a pocket for it, it is often well to
prepare more than can be put into the meat and to cook the
remainder in the pan beside the meat. Some cooks cover the
extra stuffing with buttered paper while it is cooking and
baste it at intervals.
Mock duck is made by placing on a round steak a stuffing of
bread crumbs well seasoned with chopped onions, butter,
chopped suet or dripping, salt, pepper, and a little sage, if
the flavor is relished. The steak is then rolled around the
stuffing and tied with a string in several places. If the
steak seems tough, the roll is steamed or stewed until tender
before roasting in the oven until brown. Or it may be cooked
in a casserole or other covered dish, in which case a cupful
or more of water or soup-stock should be poured around the
meat. Mock duck is excellent served with currant or other
VEAL OR BEEF BIRDS
A popular dish known as veal or beef birds or by a variety of
special names is made by taking small pieces of meat, each
just large enough for an individual serving, and preparing
them in the same way as the mock duck is prepared.
Sometimes variety is introduced by seasoning the stuffing
with chopped olives or tomato. Many cooks prepare their
"birds" by browning in a little fat, then adding a little
water, covering closely and simmering until tender.
UTILIZING THE CHEAPER CUTS OF MEAT
When the housekeeper attempts to reduce her meat bill by
using the less expensive cuts, she commonly has two
difficulties to contend with—toughness and lack of
flavor. It has been shown how prolonged cooking softens the
connective tissues of the meat. Pounding the meat and
chopping it are also employed with tough cuts, as they help
to break the muscle fibers. As for flavor, the natural flavor
of meat even in the least desirable cuts may be developed by
careful cooking, notably by browning the surface, and other
flavors may be given by the addition of vegetables and
seasoning with condiments of various kinds.
RECIPES FOR MEAT DISHES
Prolonged Cooking at Low Heat—Stewed Shin of
Beef—Boiled Beef with Horseradish Sauce—Stuffed
Heart—Braised Beef, Pot Roast, and Beef a la
Cookery—Meat Cooked with Vinegar—Sour
Beef—Sour Beefsteak—Pounded Meat—Farmer
Stew—Spanish Beefsteak—Chopped Meat—Savory
Rolls—Developing Flavor of Meat—Retaining Natural
Flavor—Round Steak on Biscuits—Flavor of Browned
Meat or Fat—Salt Pork with Milk Gravy—"Salt-Fish
PROLONGED COOKING AT LOW HEAT
Meat may be cooked in water in a number of ways without being
allowed to reach the boiling point. With the ordinary kitchen
range this is accomplished by cooking on the cooler part of
the stove rather than on the hottest part, directly over the
fire. Experience with a gas stove, particularly if it has a
small burner known as a "simmerer," usually enables the cook
to maintain temperatures which are high enough to sterilize
the meat if it has become accidentally contaminated in any
way and to make it tender without hardening the fibers. The
double boiler would seem to be a neglected utensil for this
purpose. Its contents can easily be kept up to a temperature
of 200 degrees F., and nothing will burn. Another method is
by means of the fireless cooker. In this a high temperature
can be maintained for a long time without the application of
fresh heat. Still another method is by means of a closely
covered baking dish. Earthenware dishes of this kind suitable
for serving foods as well as for cooking are known as
casseroles. For cooking purposes a baking dish covered with a
plate or a bean jar covered with a saucer may be substituted.
The Aladdin oven has long been popular for the purpose of
preserving temperatures which are near the boiling point and
yet do not reach it. It is a thoroughly insulated oven which
may be heated either by a kerosene lamp or a gas jet.
In this connection directions are given for using some of the
toughest and less promising pieces of meat.
STEWED SHIN OF BEEF
4 pounds of shin of beef.
1 medium-sized onion.
1 whole clove and a small bay leaf.
1 sprig of parsley.
1-1/2 tablespoonfuls of flour.
1 small slice of carrot.
1/2 tablespoonful of salt.
1/2 teaspoonful of pepper.
2 quarts of boiling water.
1-1/2 tablespoonfuls of butter or savory drippings.
Have the butcher cut the bone in several pieces. Put all the
ingredients but the flour and butter into a stewpan and bring
to a boil. Set the pan where the liquid will just simmer for
six hours, or after boiling for five or ten minutes, put all
into the fireless cooker for eight or nine hours. With the
butter, flour, and one-half cupful of the clear soup from
which the fat has been removed, snake a brown sauce (see p.
39); to this add the meat and the marrow removed from the
bone. Heat and serve. The remainder of the liquid in which
the meat has been cooked may be used for soup.
BOILED BEEF WITH HORSERADISH SAUCE
Plain boiled beef may also be served with horseradish sauce,
and makes a palatable dish. A little chopped parsley
sprinkled over the meat when served is considered an
improvement by many persons. For the sake of variety the meat
may be browned like pot roast before serving.
Wash the heart thoroughly inside and out, stuff with the
following mixture, and sew up the opening: One cup broken
bread dipped in fat and browned in the oven, 1 chopped onion,
and salt and pepper to taste.
Cover the heart with water and simmer until tender or boil
ten minutes and set in the fireless cooker for six or eight
hours. Remove from the water about one-half hour before
serving. Dredge with flour, pepper, and salt, or sprinkle
with crumbs and bake until brown.
BRAISED BEEF, POT ROAST, AND BEEF A LA MODE
The above names are given to dishes made from the less tender
cuts of meat They vary little either in composition or method
of preparation. In all cases the meat is browned on the
outside to increase the flavor and then cooked in a small
amount of water in a closely covered kettle or other
receptacle until tender. The flavor of the dish is secured by
browning the meat and by the addition of the seasoning
vegetables. Many recipes suggest that the vegetables be
removed before serving and the liquid be thickened. As the
vegetables are usually extremely well seasoned by means of
the brown fat and the extracts of the meat, it seems
unfortunate not to serve them.
Of course, the kind, quality, and shape of the meat all play
their part in the matter. Extra time is needed for meats with
a good deal of sinew and tough fibers, such as the tough
steaks, shank cuts, etc.; and naturally a fillet of beef, or
a steak from a prime cut, will take less time than a thick
piece from the shin. Such dishes require more time and
perhaps more skill in their preparation and may involve more
expense for fuel than the more costly cuts, which like chops
or tender steaks may be quickly cooked, but to the epicure,
as well as to the average man, they are palatable when
2 pounds top round of beef.
A little flour.
2 ounces salt pork.
2 cups tomatoes.
1 stalk celery.
2 bay leaves.
6 whole cloves.
1 blade mace.
Cut the beef into 2-inch pieces and sprinkle with flour; fry
the salt pork until light brown; add the beef and cook slowly
for about thirty-five minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover
with water and simmer about two hours; season with salt and
pepper or paprika.
From the vegetables and spices a sauce is made as follows:
Cook in sufficient water to cover for twenty minutes; then
rub through a sieve, and add to some of the stock in which
the meat was cooked. Thicken with flour, using 2
tablespoonfuls (moistened with cold water) to each cup of
liquid, and season with salt and paprika.
Serve the meat on a platter with the sauce poured over it.
Potatoes, carrots, and green peppers cooked until tender, and
cut into small pieces or narrow strips, are usually sprinkled
over the dish when served, and noodles may be arranged in a
border upon the platter.
Goulash is a Hungarian dish which has come to be a favorite
in the United States.
A casserole is a heavy earthenware dish with a cover. A
substitute for it can easily be improvised by using any heavy
earthenware dish with a heavy plate for the cover. A
casserole presentable enough in appearance to be put on the
table serves the double purpose of baking and serving dish.
A suitable cut of beef or veal, and it may well be one of the
cheaper cuts, as the long, slow cooking insures tenderness,
may be cooked in a casserole.
Poultry and other meats besides beef or veal can be cooked in
this manner. Chicken cooked in a casserole, which is a
favorite and expensive dish in good hotels and restaurants,
may be easily prepared in the home, and casserole cookery is
to be recommended for a tough chicken.
The heat must be moderate and the cooking must occupy a long
time. Hurried cooking in a casserole is out of the question.
If care is taken in this particular, and suitable seasonings
are used, few who know anything of cooking should go astray.
Chopped meat also may be cooked in a casserole and this
utensil is particularly useful for the purpose, because the
food is served in the same dish in which it is cooked and may
easily be kept hot, a point which is important with chopped
meats, which usually cool rapidly.
MEAT COOKED WITH VINEGAR
Dishes of similar sort as regards cooking, but in which
vinegar is used to give flavor as well as to soften the meat
and make it tender, are the following:
Take a piece of beef from the rump or the lower round, cover
with vinegar or with a half-and-half mixture of vinegar and
water, add sliced onion, bay leaves, and a few mixed whole
spices and salt Allow to stand a week in winter or three or
four days in summer; turn once a day and keep covered. When
ready to cook, brown the meat in fat, using an enameled iron
pan, strain the liquid over it and cook until tender; thicken
the gravy with flour or ginger snaps (which may be broken up
first), strain it, and pour over the sliced meat. Some cooks
Round steak may be cooked in water in which there is a little
vinegar, or if the time is sufficient, it may be soaked for a
few hours in vinegar and water and then cooked in a casserole
or in some similar way.
Pounding meat before cooking is an old-fashioned method of
making it tender, but while it has the advantage of breaking
down the tough tissues it has the disadvantage of being
likely to drive out the juices and with them the flavor. A
very good way of escaping this difficulty is pounding flour
into the meat; this catches and retains the juices. Below are
given the recipes for two palatable dishes in which this is
Pound flour into both sides of a round steak, using as much
as the meat will take up. This may be done with a meat
pounder or with the edge of a heavy plate. Fry in drippings,
butter, or other fat, in a Scotch bowl, or if more convenient
in an ordinary iron kettle or a frying pan; then add water
enough to cover it. Cover the dish very tightly so that the
steam cannot escape and allow the meat to simmer for two
hours or until it is tender. One advantage of this dish is
that ordinarily it is ready to serve when the meat is done as
the gravy is already thickened. However, if a large amount of
fat is used in the frying, the gravy may not be thick enough
and must be blended with flour.
Take a piece of round steak weighing two pounds and about an
inch thick; pound until thin, season with salt and Cayenne
pepper, cover with a layer of bacon or salt pork, cut into
thin slices, roll and tie with a cord. Pour around it half a
cupful of milk and half a cupful of water. Place in a covered
baking dish and cook two hours, basting occasionally.
Chopping meat is one of the principal methods of making tough
and inexpensive meat tender, i.e., dividing it finely and
thus cutting the connective tissue into small bits. Such
meats have another advantage in that they may be cooked
quickly and economically.
Chopped raw meat of almost any kind can be very quickly made
into a savory dish by cooking it with water or with water and
milk for a short time, then thickening with butter and flour,
and adding different seasonings as relished, either pepper
and salt alone, or onion juice, celery, or tomato. Such a
dish may be made to "go further" by serving it on toast or
with a border of rice or in some similar combination.
Savory rolls in great variety are made out of chopped meat
either with or without egg. The variety is secured by the
flavoring materials used and by the sauces with which the
baked rolls are served. A few recipes will be given below.
While these definite directions are given it should be
remembered that a few general principles borne in mind make
recipes unnecessary and make it possible to utilize whatever
may happen to be on hand. Appetizing rolls are made with beef
and pork mixed. The proportion varies from two parts of beef
and one of pork to two of pork and one of beef. The rolls are
always improved by laying thin slices of salt pork or bacon
over them, which keep the surface moistened with fat during
the roasting. These slices should be scored on the edge, so
that they will not curl up in cooking. The necessity for the
salt pork is greater when the chopped meat is chiefly beef
than when it is largely pork or veal. Bread crumbs or bread
moistened in water can always be added, as it helps to make
the dish go farther. When onions, green peppers, or other
vegetables are used, they should always be thoroughly cooked
in fat before being put in the roll, for usually they do not
cook sufficiently in the length of time it takes to cook the
meat. Sausage makes a good addition to the roll, but it is
usually cheaper to use unseasoned pork meat with the addition
of a little sage.
DEVELOPING FLAVOR OF MEAT
The typical meat flavors are very palatable to most persons,
even when they are constantly tasted, and consequently the
better cuts of meat in which they are well developed can be
cooked and served without attention being paid especially to
flavor. Careful cooking aids in developing the natural flavor
of some of the cheaper cuts, and such a result is to be
sought wherever it is possible. Browning also brings out
flavors agreeable to most palates. Aside from these two ways
of increasing the flavor of the meat itself there are
countless ways of adding flavor to otherwise rather tasteless
meats. The flavors may be added in preparing the meat for
cooking, as in various seasoned dishes already described, or
they may be supplied to cook meat in the form of sauces.
RETAINING NATURAL FLAVOR
As has already been pointed out, it is extremely difficult to
retain the flavor-giving extractives in a piece of meat so
tough as to require prolonged cooking. It is sometimes
partially accomplished by first searing the exterior of the
meat and thus preventing the escape of the juices. Another
device, illustrated by the following recipe, is to let them
escape into the gravy which is served with the meat itself. A
similar principle is applied when roasts are basted with
their own juice.
ROUND STEAK ON BISCUITS
Cut round steak into pieces about one-half inch square, cover
with water and cook it at a temperature just below the
boiling point until it is tender, or boil for five minutes,
and while still hot put into the fireless cooker and leave it
for five hours. Thicken the gravy with flour mixed with
water, allowing two level tablespoonfuls to a cup of water.
Pour the meat and gravy over split baking-powder biscuits so
baked that they have a large amount of crust.
FLAVOR OF BROWNED MEAT OR FAT
Next to the unchanged flavor of the meat itself comes the
flavor which is secured by browning the meat with fat. The
outside slices of roast meat have this browned flavor in
marked degree. Except in the case of roasts, browning for
flavor is usually accomplished by heating the meat in a
frying pan in fat which has been tried out of pork or in suet
or butter. Care should be taken that the fat is not scorched.
The chief reason for the bad opinion in which fried food is
held by many is that it almost always means eating burned
fat. When fat is heated too high it splits up into fatty
acids and glycerin, and from the glycerin is formed a
substance (acrolein) which has a very irritating effect upon
the mucous membrane. All will recall that the fumes of
scorched fat make the eyes water. It is not surprising that
such a substance, if taken into the stomach, should cause
digestive disturbance. Fat in itself is a very valuable food,
and the objection to fried foods because they may be fat
seems illogical. If they supply burned fat there is a good
reason for suspicion. Many housekeepers cook bacon in the
oven on a wire broiler over a pan and believe it more
wholesome than fried bacon. The reason, of course, is that
thus cooked in the oven there is less chance for the bacon
becoming impregnated with burned fat. Where fried salt pork
is much used good cooks know that it must not be cooked over
a very hot fire, even if they have never heard of the
chemistry of burned fat. The recipe for bean-pot roast and
other similar recipes may be varied by browning the meat or
part of it before covering with water. This results in
keeping some of the natural flavoring within the meat itself
and allowing less to go into the gravy. The flavor of veal
can be very greatly improved in this way.
The following old-fashioned dishes made with pork owe their
savoriness chiefly to the flavor of browned fat or meat:
SALT PORK WITH MILK GRAVY
Cut salt or cured pork into thin slices. If very salt, cover
with hot water and allow it to stand for ten minutes. Score
the rind of the slices and fry slowly until they are a golden
brown. Make a milk gravy by heating flour in the fat that has
been tried out, allowing two tablespoonfuls of fat and two
tablespoonfuls of flour to each cup of milk. This is a good
way to use skim milk, which is as rich in protein as whole
milk. The pork and milk gravy served with boiled or baked
potatoes makes a cheap and simple meal, but one that most
people like very much. Bacon is often used in place of salt
pork in making this dish.
1/2 pound salt pork.
1 pound codfish.
2 cups of milk (skim milk will do).
4 tablespoonfuls flour.
A speck of salt.
Cut the codfish into strips, soak in lukewarm water and then
cook in water until tender, but do not allow the water to
come to the boiling point except for a very short time as
prolonged boiling may make it tough. Cut the pork into
one-fourth inch slices and cut several gashes in each piece.
Fry very slowly until golden brown, and remove, pouring off
the fat. Out of four tablespoonfuls of the fat, the flour,
and the milk make a white sauce. Dish up the codfish with
pieces of pork around it and serve with boiled potatoes and
beets. Some persons serve the pork, and the fat from it, in a
gravy boat so it can be added as relished.
The art of preparing savory gravies and sauces is more
important in connection with the serving of the cheaper meats
than in connection with the cooking of the more expensive.
There are a few general principles underlying the making of
all sauces or gravies whether the liquid used is water, milk,
stock, tomato juice, or some combination of these. For
ordinary gravy 2 level tablespoonfuls of flour or 1-1/2
tablespoonfuls of cornstarch or arrow root is sufficient to
thicken a cupful of liquid. This is true excepting when, as
in the recipe on page 23 the flour is browned. In this case
about one-half tablespoonful more should be allowed, for
browned flour does not thicken so well as unbrowned. The fat
used may be butter or the drippings from the meat, the
allowance being 2 tablespoonfuls to a cup of liquid.
The easiest way to mix the ingredients is to heat the fat,
add the flour, and cook until the mixture ceases to bubble,
and then to add the liquid. This is a quick method and by
using it there is little danger of getting a lumpy gravy.
Many persons, however, think it is not a wholesome method and
prefer the old-fashioned one of thickening the gravy by means
of flour mixed with a little cold water. The latter method
is, of course, not practicable for brown gravies.
The good flavor of browned flour is often overlooked. If
flour is cooked in fat until it is a dark brown color a
distinctive and very agreeable flavor is obtained. This
flavor combines very well with that of currant jelly, and a
little jelly added to a brown gravy is a great improvement.
The flavor of this should not be combined with that of onions
or other highly flavored vegetables. A recipe for a dish
which is made with brown sauce follows:
Cut cold mutton into thin slices and heat in a brown sauce,
made according to the following proportions:
2 tablespoonfuls butter.
2 tablespoonfuls flour.
1 tablespoonful of bottled meat sauce (whichever is preferred).
1 tablespoonful red-currant jelly.
1 cupful water or stock.
Brown the flour in the butter, add the water or stock slowly,
and keep stirring. Then add the jelly and meat sauce and let
the mixture boil up well.
"The woman's work for her own home is to secure its order,
comfort, and loveliness."—JOHN RUSKIN—Sesame
The following recipes are tried and approved ones, useful for
housecleaning, laundry work, etc. In a number of instances
they give instruction in the making of commodities, such as
soap, which are usually purchased in the stores, but which,
if made at home will cost less money, and be of better
quality. They are arranged alphabetically for ease of
ANTS—TO GET RID OF
Wash the shelves with salt and water; sprinkle salt in their
paths. To keep them out of safes, set the legs of the safe on
tin cups; keep the cups filled with water.
The ordinary way of washing a barrel is with boiling water,
and when cool examining it with a light inside. If there be
any sour or musty smell, however, lime must be used to remove
it. Break the lime into lumps, and put it in the cask dry (it
will take from 3 to 4 lbs. for each cask), then pour in as
many gallons of boiling water as there are pounds of lime,
and bung. Roll the cask about now and then, and after a few
hours wash it out, steam it, and let it cool.
For bed-bugs nothing is so good as the white of eggs and
quicksilver. A thimbleful of quicksilver to the white of each
egg; heat until well mixed; apply with a feather.
FEATHER-BEDS—TO CLEANSE WITHOUT EMPTYING
On a hot, clear summer day, lay the bed upon a scaffold; wash
it well with soap-suds upon both sides, rubbing it hard with
a stiff brush; pour several gallons of hot water upon the bed
slowly, and let it drip through. Rinse with clear water;
remove it to a dry part of the scaffold to dry; beat, and
turn it two or three times during the day. Sun until
perfectly dry. The feathers may be emptied in barrels, washed
in soap-suds, and rinsed; then spread in an unoccupied room
and dried, or put in bags made of thin sleazy cloth, and kept
in the sun until dry. The quality of feathers can be much
improved by attention of this kind.
Dissolve a handful of refined borax in ten gallons of water;
boil the clothes in it. To whiten brown cloth, boil in weak
lye, and expose day and night to the sun and night air; keep
the clothes well sprinkled.
BOOKS—TO KEEP MICE FROM
Sprinkle a little Cayenne pepper in the cracks at the back of
the shelves of the bookcase.
Mix in a saucer three parts of fine sand and one part of
lime; dip the scrubbing-brush into this and use it instead of
soap. This will remove grease and whiten the boards, while at
the same time it will destroy all insects. The boards should
be well rinsed with clean water. If they are very greasy,
they should be well covered over in places with a coating of
fuller's earth moistened with boiling water, which should be
left on 24 hours before they are scoured as above directed.
In washing boards never rub crosswise, but always with the
BOOKS—TO PRESERVE FROM DAMP
A few drops of strong perfumed oil, sprinkled in the bookcase
will preserve books from damp and mildew.
Books may be cleaned with a little dry bread crumbled up and
rubbed gently, but firmly, over with the open hand. Cloth
covers may be washed with a sponge dipped in a mixture made
from the white of an egg beaten to a stiff froth and
afterwards allowed to settle. To clean grease marks from
books, dampen the marks with a little benzine, place a piece
of blotting-paper on each side of the page, and pass a hot
iron over the top.
Dissolve 1 oz. of oxalic acid in one pint of soft water. Rub
it on the brass with a piece of flannel, and polish with
another dry piece. This solution should be kept in a bottle
labelled "poison," and the bottle well shaken before it is
used, which should be only occasionally, for in a general way
the Brass should be cleaned with pulverized rottenstone,
mixed into a liquid state with oil of turpentine. Rub this on
with a piece of soft leather, leave for a few minutes; then
wipe it off with a soft cloth. Brass treated generally with
the latter, and occasionally with the former mode of cleaning
will look most beautiful. A very good general polish for
brass may be made of 1/2 a lb. of rottenstone and 1 oz. of
oxalic acid, with as much water as will make it into a stiff
paste. Set this paste on a plate in a cool oven to dry, pound
it very fine, and apply a little of the powder, moistened
with sweet oil, to the brass with a piece of leather,
polishing with another leather or an old silk handkerchief.
This powder should also be labelled "poison."
BRITANNIA METAL—TO CLEAN
Articles made of what is usually called Britannia metal may
be kept in order by the frequent use of the following
composition: 1/2 a lb. of finely-powdered whiting, a
wineglass of sweet oil, a tablespoonful of soft soap, and 1/2
an oz. of yellow soap melted in water. Add to these in mixing
sufficient spirits—gin or spirits of wine—to make
the compound the consistency of cream. This cream should be
applied with a sponge or soft flannel, wiped off with soft
linen rags, and the article well polished with a leather; or
they may be cleaned with only oil and soap in the following
manner: Rub the articles with sweet oil on a piece of woolen
cloth; then wash well with strong soap-and-water; rub them
dry, and polish with a soft leather and whiting. The polish
thus given will last for a long time.
Dissolve a piece of soda in some hot water, allowing a piece
the size of a walnut to a quart of water. Put the water into
a basin, and, after combing out the hair from the brushes,
dip them, bristles downward, into the water and out again,
keeping the backs and handles as free from the water as
possible. Repeat this until the bristles look clean; then
rinse the brushes in a little cold water; shake them well,
and wipe the handles and backs with a towel, but not the
bristles, and set the brushes to dry in the sun, or near the
fire; but take care not to put them too close to it. Wiping
the bristles of a brush makes them soft, as does also the use
Shake the carpet well; tack it down, and wash it upon the
floor; the floor should be very clean; use cold soap suds; to
three gallons add half a tumbler of beef-gall; this will
prevent the colors from fading. Should there be grease spots,
apply a mixture of beef-gall, fuller's-earth, and water
enough to form a paste; put this on before tacking the carpet
down. Use tacks inserted in small leather caps. Carpets in
bedrooms and stair-carpets may be kept clean by being brushed
with a soft hairbrush frequently, and, as occasion requires,
being taken up and shaken. Larger carpets should be swept
carefully with a whisk-brush or hand-brush of hair, which is
far better, especially in the case of fine-piled carpets.
Thick carpets, as Axminster and Turkey, should always be
brushed one way.
This can hardly be well done without the aid of a proper
carpet-fork or stretcher. Work the carpet the length way of
the material, which ought to be made up the length way of the
room. Nail sides as you go along, until you are quite sure
that the carpet is fully stretched, and that there is no fold
anywhere in the length of it.
Make stair-carpet longer than necessary, and change it so
that it will not cover the steps in the same way each time of
putting down. Moved about in this way, the carpet will last
much longer. Clean the rods with oxalic acid. They should be
CHIMNEY ON FIRE
Close all doors and windows tightly, and hold a wet blanket
in front of the fire to prevent any draught going up the
CHINA OR GLASS—TO WASH
Wash in plenty of hot soap suds; have two vessels, and in one
rinse in hot water. Turn upon waiters, and let the articles
drip before being wiped. Use linen towels for wiping.
CHINA AND GLASS—CEMENT FOR
Dissolve 1 oz. of gum-mastic in a quantity of
highly-rectified spirits of wine; then soften 1 oz. of
isinglass in warm water, and, finally, dissolve it in
alcohol, till it forms a thick jelly. Mix the isinglass and
gum-mastic together, adding 1/4 of an oz. of finely-powdered
gum-ammoniac; put the whole into an earthen vessel and in a
warm place, till they are thoroughly incorporated together;
pour it into a small bottle, and cork it down for use.
In using it, dissolve a small piece of the cement in a silver
teaspoon over a lighted candle. The broken pieces of glass or
china being warmed, and touched with the now liquid cement,
join the parts neatly together, and hold them in their places
till the cement has set; then wipe away the cement adhering
to the edge of the joint, and leave it for twelve hours
without touching it; the joint will be as strong as the china
itself, and if neatly done, it will show no joining. It is
essential that neither of the pieces be wetted either with
hot or cold water.
Woolen dresses may be laid out on a table and brushed all
over; but in general, even in woolen fabrics, the lightness
of the tissues renders brushing unsuitable to dresses, and it
is better to remove the dust from the folds by beating them
lightly with a handkerchief or thin cloth. Silk dresses
should never be brushed, but rubbed with a piece of merino or
other soft material, of a similar color to the silk, kept for
the purpose. Summer dresses of muslin, and other light
materials, simply require shaking; but if the muslin be
tumbled, it must be ironed afterwards.
If feathers have suffered from damp, they should be held near
the fire for a few minutes, and restored to their natural
state by the hand or a soft brush, or re-curled with a blunt
knife, dipped in very hot water. Furs and feathers not in
constant use should be wrapped up in linen washed in lye.
From May to September they are subject to being made the
depository of moth-eggs.
Fine clothes require to be brushed lightly, and with a rather
soft brush, except where mud is to be removed, when a hard
one is necessary; previously beat the clothes lightly to
dislodge the dirt. Lay the garment on a table, and brush in
the direction of the nap. Having brushed it properly, turn
the sleeves back to the collar, so that the folds may come at
the elbow-joints; next turn the lapels or sides back over the
folded sleeves; then lay the skirts over level with the
collar, so that the crease may fall about the center, and
double only half over the other, so that the fold comes in
the center of the back.
CLOTHES—TO REMOVE SPOTS AND STAINS FROM
To remove grease-spots from cotton or woolen materials,
absorbent pastes, and even common soap, are used, applied to
the spot when dry. When the colors are not fast, place a
layer of fuller's-earth or pulverized potter's clay over the
spot, and press with a very hot iron. For silks, moires and
plain or brocaded satins, pour two drops of rectified spirits
of wine over the spot, cover with a linen cloth, and press
with a hot iron, changing the linen instantly. The spot will
look tarnished, for a portion of the grease still remains;
this will be removed entirely by a little sulphuric ether,
dropped on the spot, and a very little rubbing. If neatly
done, no perceptible mark or circle will remain; nor will the
lustre of the richest silk be changed, the union of the two
liquids operating with no injurious effects from rubbing.
Eau-de-Cologne will also remove grease from cloth and silk.
Fruit-spots are removed from white and fast-colored cottons
by the use of chloride of soda. Commence by cold-soaping the
article, then touch the spot with a hair-pencil or feather
dipped in the chloride, and dip immediately into cold water,
to prevent the texture of the article being injured. Fresh
ink-spots are removed by a few drops of hot water being
poured on immediately after applying the chloride of soda. By
the same process, iron-mould in linen or calico may be
removed, dipping immediately in cold water to prevent injury
to the fabric. Wax dropped on a shawl, table-cover, or cloth
dress, is easily discharged by applying spirits of wine;
syrups or preserved fruits, by washing in lukewarm water with
a dry cloth, and pressing the spot between two folds of clean
Place a little water in a tea-kettle and let it boil until
there is plenty of steam from the spout; then, holding the
crape with both hands, pass it to and fro several times
through the steam, and it will be clean and look nearly equal
If it can be avoided, never wash combs, as the water often
makes the teeth split, and the tortoise-shell or horn of
which they are made, rough. Small brushes, manufactured
purposely for cleaning combs, may be purchased at a trifling
cost; the comb should be well brushed, and afterwards wiped
with a cloth or towel.
CUPBOARDS, DAMP—TO DRY
Leave a quantity of quicklime in the cupboard for a few days,
and the moisture will be entirely absorbed.
Put into a butter firkin a thick layer of coarse dry salt,
then a layer of eggs, with the small end down, another layer
of salt, then eggs, and so on until the firkin is full. Cover
and keep in a dry place. These eggs will keep put up in this
way almost any length of time.
Clear out all ash from the grate and lay a few cinders or
small pieces of coal at the bottom in open order; over this a
few pieces of paper, and over that again eight or ten pieces
of dry wood; over the wood, a course of moderate-sized pieces
of coal, taking care to leave hollow spaces between for air
at the center; and taking care to lay the whole well back in
the grate, so that the smoke may go up the chimney, and not
into the room. This done, fire the paper with a match from
below, and, if properly laid, it will soon burn up; the
stream of flame from the wood and paper soon communicating to
the coal and cinders, provided there is plenty of air at the
Another method of lighting a fire is sometimes practiced with
advantage, the fire lighting from the top and burning down,
in place of being lighted and burning up from below. This is
arranged by laying the coals at the bottom, mixed with a few
good-sized cinders, and the wood at the top, with another
layer of coals and some paper over it; the paper is lighted
in the usual way, and soon burns down to a good fire, with
some economy of fuel, it is said.
Cover the feathers with a paste made of pipe-clay, and water,
rubbing them one way only. When quite dry, shake off all the
powder and curl with a knife.
Never rub soap upon it; make suds by dissolving the soap in
warm water; rinse in warm water. Very cold or hot water will
shrink flannel. Shake them out several minutes before hanging
to dry. Blankets are washed in the same way.
FLEAS—TO DRIVE AWAY
Use pennyroyal or walnut leaves. Scatter them profusely in
all infested places.
A mixture of cream, sugar, and ground black pepper, in equal
quantities, placed in saucers in a room infested with flies
will destroy them. If a small quantity, say the equivalent of
a teaspoonful of carbolic acid be poured on a hot shovel, it
will drive the flies from the room. But screens should be
used to prevent their entrance.
Have a small box filled with clean sand; mix with it a third
the quantity of soft soap; clean the forks by sticking in the
sand and withdrawing them rapidly, repeating the process
until they are bright.
A bouquet of freshly-cut flowers may be preserved alive for a
long time by placing them in a glass or vase with fresh
water, in which a little charcoal has been steeped, or a
small piece of camphor dissolved. The vase should be set upon
a plate or dish, and covered with a bell glass, around the
edges of which, when it comes in contact with the plate, a
little water should be poured to exclude the air. To revive
cut flowers, plunge the stems into boiling water, and by the
time the water is cold, the flowers will have revived. Then
cut the ends of the stems afresh, and place in fresh cold
FRUIT STAINS—TO REMOVE
Pour hot water on the spots; wet with ammonia or oxalic
acid—a teaspoonful to a teacup of water.
FRUIT-TREES—TO PREVENT DEPREDATIONS OF
To preserve apple and other fruit trees from the depredations
of rabbits, etc., and the ravages of insects, apply soft soap
to the trunk and branches in March and September.
Cut 1/4 of a lb. of yellow wax into small pieces and melt it
in an earthen vessel, with 1 oz. of black rosin, pounded very
fine. Stir in gradually, while these two ingredients are
quite warm, 2 ozs. of oil of turpentine. Keep this
composition well covered for use in a tin or earthen pot. A
little of this gloss should be spread on a piece of coarse
woolen cloth, and the furniture well rubbed with it;
afterward it should be polished with a fine cloth.
One pint of linseed oil, one wineglass of alcohol. Mix well
together. Apply to the furniture with a fine rag. Rub dry
with a soft cotton cloth, and polish with a silk cloth.
Furniture is improved by washing it occasionally with
soap-suds. Wipe dry, and rub over with very little linseed
oil upon a clean sponge or flannel. Wipe polished furniture
with silk. Separate dusting-cloths and brushes should be kept
for highly polished furniture. When sweeping carpets and
dusting walls always cover the furniture until the particles
of dust floating in the air settle, then remove the covers,
and wipe with a silk or soft cotton cloth.
FURNITURE STAINS—TO REMOVE
Rub stains on furniture with cold-drawn linseed oil; then rub
with alcohol. Remove ink stains with oxalic acid and water;
wash off with milk. A hot iron held over stains upon
furniture will sometimes remove them.
Moisten some bran with hot water; rub the fur with it, and
dry with a flannel. Then rub with a piece of muslin and some
GAS—TO DETECT A LEAK
Never take a light into the room or look for the leak with a
light. Soap and water mixed, and applied with a brush to the
pipe will commence to bubble if there is a leak. Send for the
plumber at once.
Great care is required in washing glasses. Two perfectly
clean bowls are necessary—one for moderately hot and
another for cold water. Wash the glasses well in the first,
rinse them in the second, and turn them down on a linen cloth
folded two or three times, to drain for a few minutes. When
sufficiently drained, wipe with a cloth and polish with a
finer one, doing so tenderly and carefully.
Decanters and water-jugs require very tender treatment in
cleaning. Fill about two-thirds with hot but not boiling
water, and put in a few pieces of well-soaked brown paper;
leave them thus for two or three hours; then shake the water
up and down in the decanters; empty this out, rinse them well
with clean, cold water, and put them in a rack to drain. When
dry, polish them outside and inside, as far as possible, with
a fine cloth. Fine shot or pieces of charcoal placed in a
decanter with warm water and shaken for some time, will also
remove stains. When this is not effective, fill the bottle
with finely chopped potato skins. Cork tight, and let the
bottle stand for three days. Empty and rinse thoroughly.
GLASS STOPPER—TO REMOVE
Wrap a hot cloth around the neck of the bottle, thus
expanding it, or, if this is not effective, pour a little
salad oil round the stopper, and place the bottle near the
fire, then tap the stopper with a wooden instrument. The heat
will cause the oil to work round the stopper, and it should
be easily removed.
GREASE—TO REMOVE FROM A STONE HEARTH
Lay plenty of hot ashes; wash off (after the grease is out)
with strong soap suds.
HARNESS BLACKING—FOR PRESERVING THE LEATHER
Melt four ounces of mutton suet with twelve ounces of
beeswax; add twelve ounces of sugar-candy, four ounces of
soft soap dissolved in water, and two ounces of indigo,
finely powdered. When melted and well mixed, add one-half
pint of turpentine. Lay the blacking on the harness with a
sponge, and polish off with a brush.
Mix equal quantities of benzine and water, and after well
brushing the hat, apply the mixture with a sponge.
The right way in drying herbs for your kitchen and possible
medicinal use is to gather them as soon as they begin to open
their flowers, and to lay them on some netting in a dry shed
or room where the air will get at them on all sides. Be sure
they are dry and not moist when you cut or pick them, and
free them from dirt and decayed leaves. After they are
entirely dried out, put them in paper bags upon which you
have written the name of the herb and the date of tying it
up. Hang them where the air is dry and there is no chance of
SAVORY HERBS—TO POWDER
Strip the leaves from the stalks, pound, sift out the coarse
pieces, put the powder in bottles, and cork tight. Label with
exactness every bottle. If, for the convenience of instant
use in gravies, soups, etc., you wish different herbs mixed,
pound the leaves together when you make them into powders.
Celery seed, dried lemon-peel, and other spicy things can
thus be combined and ready for the moment's call.
ICE VAULT—TO MAKE
Dig a pit eight or ten feet square, and as deep in the
cellar. Lay a double wall with brick; fill between with
pulverized charcoal; cover the bottom also double with the
same or tan-bark. If the pit is filled with ice, or nearly
so, cover six inches with tan-bark; but if only a small
quantity is in it, wrap well in a blanket, and over the
opening in the pit lay a double bag of charcoal.
INK—TO REMOVE FROM LINEN
Scald in hot tallow. Let it cool; then wash in warm suds.
Sometimes these stains can be removed by wetting the place in
very sour buttermilk or lemon juice; rub salt over, and
bleach in the sun.
INSECTS—TO KEEP AWAY
The common elder is a great safeguard against the
devastations of insects. Scatter it around cucumber and
squash-vines. Place it on the branches of plum and other
fruit-trees subject to the ravages of insects.
IRONS—TO REMOVE RUST FROM
Scour with dry salt and beeswax.
JAPANNED WARE—TO CLEAN
Japanned tea-trays should not be washed in hot water if
greasy, a little flour rubbed on with a bit of soft linen
will give them a new look; if there are scratches, rub over a
little olive oil.
Jewels are generally wrapped up in cotton wool and kept in
their cases; but they tarnish from exposure to the air and
require cleaning. This is done by preparing clean soap-suds
from fine toilet-soap. Dip any article of gold, silver, gilt
or precious stones into this lye, and dry by brushing with a
brush of soft hair, or a fine sponge; afterwards polish with
a piece of fine cloth, and lastly, with a soft leather.
Gold or silver ornaments, and in general all articles of
jewelry, may be dressed by dipping them in spirits of wine
warmed in a shallow kettle, placed over a slow fire or hot
plate. Silver ornaments should be kept in fine arrowroot, and
completely covered with it.
Cover a small heavy table on block by tacking over it very
tight soft leather or buckskin; pour over half the leather
melted suet. Spread over this very fine pulverized bath
brick; rub the knives (making rapid strokes) over this.
Polish on the other side. Keep steel wrapped in buckskin.
Knives should be cleaned every day they are used, and kept
sharp. The handles of knives should never be immersed in
water, as, after a time, if treated in this way, the blades
will loosen and the handles discolor. The blades should be
put in a jug or vessel kept for the purpose, filled with hot
soda water. This should be done as soon after the knives are
used as possible, as stain and rust quickly sink into steel.
Knives not in use will soon spoil. They are best kept in a
box in which sifted quicklime has been placed, deep enough to
admit of the blades being completely plunged into it. The
lime must not touch the handles, which should be occasionally
exposed to the air, to keep them from turning yellow.
BLACK LACE—TO REVIVE
Make some black tea, about the strength usual for drinking,
and strain it off the leaves. Pour enough tea into a basin to
cover the material, then squeeze the lace several times, but
do not rub it. Dip it frequently into the tea, which will at
length assume a dirty appearance. Have ready some weak
gum-water and press the lace gently through it; then clap it
for a quarter of an hour; after which, pin it to a towel in
any shape which you wish it to take. When nearly dry, cover
it with another towel and iron it with a cool iron. The lace,
if previously sound and discolored only, will, after this
process, look as good as new.
In trimming lamps, let the wick be cut evenly all round; as,
if left higher in one place than it is in another, it will
cause it to smoke and burn badly. The lamp should then be
filled with oil from a feeder and afterward well wiped with a
cloth or rag. Small sticks, covered with wash-leather pads,
are the best things to use for cleaning the inside of the
chimney, and a clean duster for polishing the outside.
Chimneys should not be washed. The globe of a lamp should be
occasionally washed in warm soap-and-water, then well rinsed
in cold water, and either wiped dry or left to drain.
For fawn or yellow-colored leather, take a quart of skimmed
milk, pour into it one ounce of sulphuric acid, and, when
cold, add four ounces of hydrochloric acid, shaking the
bottle gently until it ceases to emit white vapors; separate
the coagulated from the liquid part, by straining through a
sieve, and store it away till required. Clean the leather
with a weak solution of oxalic acid, washing it off
immediately, and when dry apply the composition with a
TABLE LINEN—CARE OF
Table-cloths, towels and napkins should be kept faultlessly
white; table-cloths and napkins starched; if the latter are
fringed, whip the fringe until straight. After using a
table-cloth, lay it in the same folds; put it in a close
place where dust will not reach it, and lay a heavy weight
Napkins may be used the second time, if they are so marked
that each person gets the napkin previously used.
The gloss, or enamel, as it is sometimes called, is produced
mainly by friction with a warm iron, and may be put on linen
by almost any person. The linen to be glazed receives as much
strong starch as it is possible to charge it with, then it is
dried. To each pound of starch a piece of sperm or white wax,
about the size of a walnut, is usually added. When ready to
be ironed, the linen is laid upon the table and moistened
very lightly on the surface with a clean wet cloth. It is
then ironed in the usual way with a flatiron, and is ready
for the glossing operation. For this purpose a peculiar heavy
flatiron, rounded at the bottom, as bright as a mirror, is
used. It is pressed firmly upon the linen and rubbed with
much force, and this frictional action puts on the gloss.
"Elbow grease" is the principal secret connected with the art
of glossing linen.
Shred finely some pure india-rubber, and dissolve it in
naphtha to the consistency of a stiff paste. Apply the cement
to each side of the part to be joined, and leave a cold iron
upon it until dry.
LINEN—TO REMOVE IRON MOULD FROM
Oxalic acid and hot water will remove iron-mould; so also
will common sorrel, bruised in a mortar and rubbed on the
spots. In both cases the linen should be well washed after
the remedy has been applied, either in clear water or a
strong solution of cream of tartar and water. Repeat if
necessary, and dry in the sun.
MAHOGANY—TO TAKE OUT MARKS FROM
The whitest stain, left on a mahogany table by a jug of
boiling water, or a very hot dish, may be removed by rubbing
in oil, and afterward pouring a little spirits of wine on the
spot and rubbing with a soft cloth.
Wash with soda, water, and beef-gall. Or mix together one
part blue-stone, three parts whiting, one part soda, and
three parts soft soap; boil together ten minutes; stir
constantly. Spread this over the marble; let it lie half an
hour; wash it off with soap-suds; wipe dry with flannel.
Repeat if necessary. Stains that cannot be removed in any
other way may be tried with oxalic acid water; but this
should be used carefully, and not allowed to remain long at a
Use salt in the water, and wipe dry.
When the clothes are washed and ready to boil, pin jimson
weed leaves upon the place. Put a handful of the leaves on
the bottom of the kettle; lay the stained part next to them.
Green tomatoes and salt, sour buttermilk, lemon juice, soap
and chalk, are all good; expose to the sun.
Another way: Two ounces of chloride of lime; pour on it a
quarter of boiling water; add three quarts of cold water.
Steep the cloth in it twelve hours.
Remove, with a damp sponge, fly stains and other soils (the
sponge may be clamped with water or spirits of wine). After
this dust the surface with the finest sifted whiting or
powder-blue, and polish it with a silk handkerchief or soft
cloth. Snuff of candle, if quite free from grease, is an
excellent polish for the looking-glass.
MOTHS—TO PREVENT THEM GETTING INTO CARPETS, ETC.
Strew camphor under a carpet; pack with woolen goods. If
moths are in a carpet, lay over it a cotton or linen cloth,
and iron with a hot iron. Oil all cracks in storerooms,
closets, safes, with turpentine, or a mixture of alcohol and
corrosive sublimate; this drives off vermin.
Place pieces of camphor, cedar-wood, Russia leather,
tobacco-leaves, boy-myrtle, or anything else strongly
aromatic, in the drawers or boxes where furs or other things
to be preserved from moths are kept, and they will never take
OIL-CLOTH OR LINOLEUM—TO WASH
Take equal parts of skimmed milk and water; wipe dry; never
use soap. Varnish oil-cloths once a year. After being
varnished, they should be perfectly dry before being used.
Dirty paint should never be wiped with a cloth, but the dust
should be loosened with a pair of bellows, and then removed
with a dusting-brush. If very dirty, wash the paint lightly
with a sponge or soft flannel dipped in weak soda-and-water,
or in pearl-ash and water. The sponge or flannel must be used
nearly dry, and the portion of paint gone over must
immediately be rinsed with a flannel and clean water; both
soda and pearl-ash, if suffered to remain on, will injure the
paint. The operation of washing should, therefore, be done as
quickly as possible, and two persons should be employed; one
to follow and dry the paint with soft rags, as soon as the
other has scoured off the dirt and washed away the soda. No
scrubbing-brush should ever be used on paint.
PAINT—TO DISPERSE THE SMELL OF
Place some sulphuric acid in a basin of water and let it
stand in the room where the paint is. Change the water daily.
PAINT—TO REMOVE FROM CLOTHING
Rub immediately with a rough rag wetted with turpentine.
OIL PAINTINGS—TO CLEAN
Rub a freshly cut slice of potato damped in cold water over
the picture. Wipe off the lather with a soft, damp sponge,
and then finish with luke-warm water, and dry, and polish
with a piece of soft silk that has been washed.
PAPER HANGING—TO MAKE PASTE FOR
Mix flour and water to the consistency of cream, and boil. A
few cloves added in the boiling will prevent the paste going
PEARS—TO KEEP FOR WINTER USE
Lay the pears on a shelf in a dry, cool place. Set them stems
up and so far apart that they do not touch one another. Allow
the air to move freely in the room in which they lie. Layers
of paper or of straw make a soft bed, but the less the pear
touches the shelf or resting-place the better for its
PICTURE FRAMES—TO KEEP FLIES FROM
Brush them over with water in which onions have been boiled.
GILT PICTURE FRAMES—TO BRIGHTEN
Take sufficient sulphur to give a golden tinge to about one
and one-half pints of water, and in this boil four or five
bruised onions. Strain off the liquid when cold, and with it
wash with a soft brush any gilding which requires restoring,
and when dry it will come out as bright as new work. Frames
may also be brightened in the following manner: Beat up the
white of eggs with soda, in the proportion of three ounces of
eggs to one ounce of soda. Blow off as much dust as possible
from the frames, and paint them over with a soft brush dipped
in the mixture. They will immediately come out fresh and
Set traps and put a few drops of rhodium inside; they are
fond of it. Cats are, however, the most reliable rat-traps.
There is no difficulty in poisoning rats, but they often die
in the walls, and create a dreadful odor, hard to get rid of.
When poisoning is attempted, remove or cover all water
vessels, even the well or cistern.
If there are grease spots, rub the yolk of an egg upon them,
on the wrong side; let it dry. Lay it upon a clean cloth, and
wash upon each side with a sponge; press on the wrong side.
If very much soiled, wash in bran-water; add to the water in
which it is rinsed a little muriate of tin to set red, oil of
vitriol for green, blue, maroon, and bright yellow.
RUST—TO PRESERVE FROM
Make a strong paste of fresh lime and water, and with a fine
brush smear it as thickly as possible over all the polished
surface requiring preservation. By this simple means, all the
grates and fire-irons in an empty house may be kept for
months free from harm, without further care or attention.
RUST—TO REMOVE FROM POLISHED STEEL
Rub the spots with soft animal fat; lay the articles by; wrap
in thick paper two days; clean off the grease with flannel;
rub the spots well with fine rotten-stone and sweet oil;
polish with powdered emery and soft leather, or with magnesia
or fine chalk.
RUST—TO REMOVE FROM IRON UTENSILS
Rub sweet oil upon them. Let it remain two days; cover with
finely-powdered lime; rub this off with leather in a few
hours. Repeat if necessary.
To prevent their rusting when not in use: Mix half a pound of
lime with a quart of warm water; add sweet oil until it looks
like cream. Rub the article with this; when dry, wrap in
paper or put over another coat. See also IRONS.
RUST AND INK STAINS—TO REMOVE
Put half an ounce of oxalic acid in a pint of water. Dip the
stain in the water, and apply the acid as often as necessary.
Wash very soon, in half an hour at least, or the cloth will
be injured by the acid. Preserve in bottle marked "Poison."
This also cleans brass beautifully.
RUSTED SCREWS—TO LOOSEN
[Transcriber's Note: Above title is as-presented in the
Boil scorched articles in milk and turpentine, half a pound
of soap, half a gallon of milk. Lay in the sun.
RUSTED SCREWS—TO LOOSEN
Pour a small quantity of paraffin round the top of the screw.
When sufficient time has been allowed for the oil to sink in,
the screw can be easily removed.
SEALING-WAX FOR BOTTLES, JARS, ETC.
Three-fourths rosin, one-fourth beeswax; melt. Or use half a
pound of rosin, the same quantity of red sealing-wax, and a
half an ounce of beeswax; melt, and as it froths up, stir it
with a tallow candle. Use new corks; trim (after driving them
in securely) even with the bottle, and dip the necks in this
Use for ironing shirts a bosom-board, made of seasoned wood a
foot wide, one and a half long, and an inch thick; cover it
well by tacking over very tight two or three folds of
flannel, according to the thickness of the flannel. Cover it
lastly with Canton flannel; this must be drawn over very
tight, and tacked well to prevent folds when in use. Make
slips of fine white cotton cloth; put a clean one on every
week. A shirt-board must be made in the same way for ironing
dresses; five feet long, tapering from two feet at one end to
a foot and a half at the other, the large end should be
round. A clean slip should be upon it whenever used. A
similar but smaller board should be kept for ironing
gentlemen's summer pants. Keep fluting and crimping irons, a
small iron for ruffles, and a polishing-iron.
RUSSET SHOES—TO POLISH
Remove stains with lemon juice, and polish with beeswax
dissolved in turpentine.
SHOES—TO PREVENT FROM CRACKING
Saturate a piece of flannel in boiled linseed oil and rub it
well over the soles and round the edges of the shoes, then
stand them, soles upward, to dry.
Sponge faded silks with warm water and soap; then rub them
with a dry cloth on a flat board; afterward iron them on the
inside with a smoothing-iron. Old black silks may be improved
by sponging with spirits. In this case, the ironing may be
done on the right side, thin paper being spread over to
SILK AND SATIN—TO CLEAN
Pin the breadths on a soft blanket; then take some stale
breadcrumbs, and mix with them a little powder-blue. Rub this
thoroughly and carefully over the whole surface with the hand
or a piece of clean linen; shake it off and wipe with soft
cloths. Satin may be brushed the way of the nap with a clean,
SILK—TO TAKE STAINS FROM
Mix two ounces of essence of lemon and one ounce of
turpentine. Grease and other spots in silks are to be rubbed
gently with a linen rag dipped in this mixture.
For a dress to be washed, the seams of a skirt do not require
to be ripped apart, though it must be removed from the band
at the waist, and the lining taken from the bottom. Trimmings
or drapings, where there are deep folds, the bottom of which
is very difficult to reach, should be undone, so as to remain
flat. A black silk dress, without being previously washed,
may be refreshed by being soaked during twenty-four hours in
soft, clear water, clearness in the water being
indispensable. If dirty the black dress may be previously
washed. When very old and rusty, a pint of alcohol should be
mixed with each gallon of water. This addition is an
improvement under any circumstances, whether the silk be
previously washed or not. After soaking, the dress should be
hung up to drain dry without being wrung. The mode of washing
silks is this: The article should be laid upon a clean,
smooth table. A flannel just wetted with lukewarm water
should be well soaped, and the surface of the silk rubbed one
way with it, care being taken that this rubbing is quite
even. When the dirt has disappeared, the soap must be washed
off with a sponge and plenty of cold water, of which the
sponge must be made to imbibe as much as possible. As soon as
one side is finished, the other must be washed precisely in
the same manner. Let it be understood that not more of either
surface must be done at a time than can be spread perfectly
flat upon the table, and the hand can conveniently reach;
likewise the soap must be quite sponged off one portion
before the soaped flannel is applied to another portion.
Silks, when washed, should always be dried in the shade, on a
linen horse, and alone. If black or dark blue, they will be
improved if they are placed on a table when dry, and well
sponged with alcohol.
Boil soft rags for five minutes (nothing is better for the
purpose than the tops of old cotton stockings) in a mixture
of new milk and ammonia. As soon as they are taken out, wring
them for a moment in cold water, and dry before the fire.
With these rags rub the silver briskly as soon as it has been
well washed and dried after daily use. A most beautiful deep
polish will be produced, and the silver will require nothing
more than merely to be dusted with a leather or a dry, soft
cloth before it is again put on the table.
Wash in hot soap suds (use the silver soap if convenient);
then clean with a paste of whiting and water, or whiting and
alcohol. Polish with buckskin. If silver was always washed in
hot suds, rinsed well, and wiped dry, it would seldom need
SILVER—TO REMOVE STAINS FROM
Steep the silver in lye four hours; then cover thick with
whiting wet with vinegar; let this dry; rub with dry whiting;
and polish with dry wheat bran. Egg-stains may be removed
from silver by rubbing with table salt.
SOAK CLOTHES FOR WASHING—TO
Take a gallon of water, one pound of sal soda, and one pound
of soap; boil one hour, then add one tablespoonful of spirits
of turpentine. Put the clothes to soak over night; next
morning soap them well with the mixture. Boil well one hour;
rinse in three waters; add a little bluing to the last water.
SOFT SOAP—TO MAKE
The ashes should be of hardwood (hickory is best), and kept
dry. When put in the hopper, mix a bushel of unslacked lime
with ten bushels of ashes; put in a layer of ashes; then one
slight sprinkling of lime; wet each layer with water (rain
water is best). A layer of straw should be put upon the
bottom of the hopper before the ashes are put in. An opening
in the side or bottom for the lye to drip through, and a
trough or vessel under to receive the lye. When the lye is
strong enough to bear up an egg, so as to show the size of a
dime above the surface, it is ready for making soap; until it
is, pour it back into the hopper, and let it drip through
again. Add water to the ashes in such quantities as may be
needed. Have the vessel very clean in which the soap is to be
made. Rub the pot over with corn meal after washing it, and
if it is at all discolored, rub it over with more until the
vessel is perfectly clean. Melt three pounds of clean grease;
add to it a gallon of weak lye, a piece of alum the size of a
walnut. Let this stew until well mixed. If strong lye is put
to the grease, at first it will not mix well with the grease.
In an hour add three gallons of strong hot lye; boil briskly,
and stir frequently; stir one way. After it has boiled
several hours, cool a spoonful upon a plate; if it does not
jelly, add a little water; if this causes it to jelly, then
add water to the kettle. Stir quickly while the water is
poured in until it ropes on the stick. As to the quantity of
water required to make it jelly, judgment must be used; the
quantity will depend upon circumstances. It will be well to
take some in a bowl, and notice what proportion of water is
used to produce this effect.
To harden it: Add a quart of salt to this quantity of soap;
let it boil quick ten minutes; let it cool. Next day cut it
out. This is now ready for washing purposes.
BROWN TAR SOAP—TO MAKE
Take eight gallons of soft soap, two quarts of salt, and one
pound of rosin, pulverized; mix, and boil half an hour. Turn
it in a tub to cool.
Six pounds of potash, five pounds of grease, and a quarter of
a pound of powdered rosin; mix all well in a pot, and, when
warm, pour on ten gallons of boiling water. Boil until thick
SOAP FOR CLEANING SILVER, ETC.—TO MAKE
One bar of turpentine soap, three table-spoonfuls of spirits
of turpentine, half a tumbler of water. Let it boil ten
minutes. Add six tablespoonfuls of ammonia. Make a suds of
this, and wash silver with it.
Scrape it off; put brown paper on the spot and press with hot
ACID STAINS—TO REMOVE
Apply ammonia to neutralize the acid; after which apply
chloroform. This will remove paints from garments when
benzine has failed.
Wet two tablespoonfuls of starch to a smooth paste with cold
water; pour to it a pint of boiling water; put it on the
fire; let it boil, stirring frequently until it looks
transparent; this will probably require half an hour. Add a
piece of spermaceti as large as half a nutmeg, or as much
salt, or loaf sugar—this will prevent the starch from
sticking to the iron.
Mix the starch to a smooth cream with cold water, then add
borax dissolved in boiling water in the proportion of a
dessertspoonful to a teacupful of starch.
Add to the starch for fine muslins a little white gum Arabic.
Keep a bottle of it ready for use. Dissolve two ounces in a
pint of hot water; bottle it; use as may be required, adding
it to the starch. Muslins, calicoes, etc., should never be
stiffer than when new. Rice-water and isinglass stiffen very
thin muslins better than starch.
TAR AND PITCH—TO REMOVE
Grease the place with lard or sweet oil. Let it remain a day
and night; then wash in suds. If silk or worsted, rub the
stain with alcohol.
Paraffin will remove tar from the hands.
An umbrella should not be folded up when it is wet. Let it
stand with handle downwards, so that the wet can run off the
ends of the ribs, instead of running towards the ferrule and
rusting that part of the umbrella.
Hold the velvet, pile downwards, over boiling water, in which
ammonia is dissolved, double the velvet (pile inwards) and
fold it lightly together.
Tie cotton upon a long stick; brush the walls well with this.
When soiled, turn it, or rub the walls with stale loaf bread.
Split the loaf, and turn the soft part to the wall.
Put half a bushel of unslacked lime in a barrel; cover it
with hot water; stir occasionally, and keep the vessel well
covered. When slacked, strain into another barrel through a
sieve. Put a pound of glue in a glue-pot; melt it over a slow
fire until dissolved. Soak the glue in cold water before
putting the pot over the fire. Dissolve a peck of salt in
boiling water. Make a thin paste of three pounds of ground
rice boiled half an hour. Stir to this half a pound of
Spanish whiting. Now add the rice paste to the lime; stir it
in well; then the glue; mix well; cover the barrel, and let
it stand twenty-four hours. When ready to use, it should be
put on hot. It makes a durable wash for outside walls,
planks, etc., and may be colored. Spanish brown will make it
red or pink, according to the quantity used. A delicate tinge
of this is very pretty for inside walls. Lampblack in small
quantities will make slate color. Finely pulverized clay
mixed with Spanish brown, makes lilac. Yellow chrome or
yellow ochre makes yellow. Green must not be used; lime
destroys the color, and makes the whitewash peel.
Wash well with soap suds; rinse with warm water; rub dry with
linen; and finish by polishing with soft dry paper. A fine
polish is given to window-glass by brushing it over with a
paste of whiting. Let it dry; rub off with paper or cloth,
and with a clean, dry brush, remove every particle of the
whiting from the corners. Once a year will be altogether
sufficient for this.