Thursday, September 26, 2013

Whither the domestic science course?


There are things you need to know about me. 

One of them is that my mother did not keep a clean house.  At least by herself.

She cooked (a bit) and did the (odd) wiping down, but to call any of the domestic arts her forte would be akin to saying Bill Clinton is shy to glad-hand - it ain't so.

We had a cleaning lady, Fay, who would come once a week and clean up while my mother would read voraciously on the couch.  I would follow Fay around because I liked to clean and have things tidy, too.  But to describe Fay as my mentor in cleaning would be a gross exaggeration. 

Later, Fay left us and we did most of the housework (my sister and I) until we moved out, but it was spotty at best, although I took great pride in being the only person who actually cleaned behind the toilet...

I am a self-taught cleaner and still learning.

And I get a huge delight out of this learning.  Martha Stewart came along in the early 1980s and just in time too; I could find out all that I had missed from Martha.  And it turns out I had missed a lot!

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Later, I ordered myself a copy of Cheryl Mendelson's Home Comforts in 2005 and poured over it - who knew how often and how best one should change one's sheets, scrub one's floors, etc, etc. - Cheryl knew!  I was fascinated by housecleaning and homekeeping - it was like visiting a foreign land I had always wanted to be part of!


It has been my bible ever since!

But I was not a complete luddite, for I had benefitted from that long-lost course: Home Economics.

I thought of Home Ec. yesterday when I was blogging about tricking out my blazer.

Home Economics had its origins in the late 1800s/early 1900s, when caring for a home in a clean, healthy environment was just the ticket to keeping people alive.

When I took home economics in the 1970s, we focused on sewing, child-rearing, money management and food (cooking and nutrition).  A bit of health was thrown in for good measure. 

I loved my home economics textbooks, with their pictures of spotless homes and clean refrigerators, its warnings for us to avoid restaurants with house flies (something that I abhor to this day - I think the housefly in the restaurant was the equivalent of the red plague for young impressionable home economics classes). 

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There were no boys in our classes.  They were off taking manly courses - shop and automobile repair.

And then it all fell out of favour. 

Led first in the 1970s by women who rightly said that forcing girls to take courses in the so-called "womanly arts" was offensive, that choice was everything, home economics and shop classes become co-ed.  In our school system at least, these courses were eliminated by successive budget cuts that saw domestic arts as less important than math, sciences and typing (it was the 80s by then after all).

Home economics, and home care in general, were equated with keeping women "down", which makes sense, since the early feminists, the ones from the generation immediate to my own, had been subjected to textbooks that advised them to take care of their man and leave their petty domestic concerns aside - his needs were paramount. 

But... and but...The house was still there.  And some people wanted to care for it. And knew how.  But others were lost.

My extended family would come over for Christmas and they would tease me because I wanted to have a lovely house with lovely table settings and lovely food.  It was foreign to them.  They enjoyed the fruits of my labour but there was an underlying message that I was not a 'true' career woman, interested as I was in these pursuits.  In fact, I kind of closeted my interest away in polite company, as if the domestic arts were an embarrassment, something one would only choose to do because one had to clean the house or cook a meal, not because that was an interesting thing to do.    For me, a working mother with two young children, it felt like the condescension towards home keeping had not only continued, but had expanded to include many women now as well.  Those of us, men and women, who liked a beautiful home felt that our pursuits were less than interesting; we were frivolous and somehow throwbacks.

I think that worm has turned, although Statistics Canada does advise that women still bear an unequal role with respect to housework.  I am curious to know if they measure other aspects of caring for a home and must dig into that; I might do a smidge (and only a smidge) more housework than Barry - but he does all the yard work, home repair, etc. etc.

But we have a whole generation of young people who no know some of these domestic and mechanical arts unless they were fortunate enough to have parents or grandparents who specifically taught them.  Who do not understand the principles involved in baking or sewing, do not know how to build a basic bookshelf, change a tire.  They pay others to do it all for them now and I think, more's the pity.  Cause this is the stuff we are going to need to know for the zombie apocalypse, right Tabs?

I haven't had a sewing machine for well over a decade - my last one was a 1960s Singer, inherited from a friend who had 'traded up' to a machine with a built in button-holer - I can't imagine what sewing machines can do now!

But I want to find out: I want a sewing machine again.   I want to teach both of my kids to sew. And knit. They know how to cook (a bit), they understand nutrition, I am teaching them to clean - my son goes to his girlfriend's apartment and insists that the girls wash their dishes and mop their floors. 

Keeping a house in good repair, keeping a body in  good repair, is a smart and wise thing to do. 

I am curious - do your schools have these kinds of courses or are they gone with the wind like they are here?

Am I the only one who found cleaning a bathroom after an awful day at work a satisfying thing to do???

I would love to hear your thoughts!  Have a great day and stay safe out there!
 

69 comments:

  1. This is a HUGE topic, I think.

    Our Home Ec-- long gone, too--was taught by a Miss Decenza who, whilst we were hemming our shifts, would warn us not to let boys touch us "down there". Half these eighth grade girls had no idea what she meant. It was the late 60's-early 70's. It was not a good class.

    We were raised to clean,bake,knit and sew, mostly by the Scandinavian grandmas. Cooking was not as big; I self taught out of books in college.
    My girls had some interest in these things, but it never went very far. I don't recall being asked. In the summer at our cottage, we sat on the porch swing doing French knots after lunch until we'd digested.

    I fear all this will be lost in one generation.

    Perhaps instruction should be renamed " Domestic Engineering", include personal finance and be mandatory for all.

    I love Cheryl's book too, but she is a bit too into sanitizing which is not needed and may be harmful. She does not stress toxicity of some cleaners either. Believe me, I do not meet her standards!

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    1. Oh I don't meet her standards, either - and I agree - a little dirt is a good thing! but my kids don't know how to sew on a button! I am vowing to change that!

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    2. Neither did I, but I did a search on the internet and there were dozens of instructions and how-to videos. I sewed my button on with a little thread shank, and it looks lovely. I think it's good to have some basic knowledge, but it's much easier for people to lean on their own nowadays.

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    3. oh that makes me so happy! For those of us without Grammies, the internet is our grammy!

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  2. I am definitely of the generation you describe in that I had no model for learning the domestic arts growing up. I don't know if this condition applies to the rest of my generation, just that my family is far worse than them, lol. My parents both grew up in second/third-world country environments (my dad grew up in a peasant farming family that didn't have running water until ~the year 2000) and even when they attained a more first-world life, they didn't have the sensibilities of maintaining a home. I was always frustrated with this and would try to introduce acceptable habits and practices to them, but they'd only pick things up if I explicitly spelled them out to them. To this day their kitchen counters are frequently sticky and food is occasionally left out overnight . . . (though I sometimes like to [probably inaccurately] attribute to this the fact that I almost never get sick).

    So I share the same fascination as you with the domestic arts -- it is like some mythical foreign land that I've only heard about and am finally able to visit. There are conventions for how often kitchen counters should be cleaned? Incredible!! Domestic skills make a lot of sense as a gender-irrelevant proficiency: adults need to be able to keep a home and body in good repair (love how you phrased that) -- at least that's how I see it and I hope society does, too. I'm frankly wary of dating guys who don't care to maintain their own place (and themselves), for I wouldn't want them to think they can foist that all upon me once they have me around.

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    1. Oh so interesting! I think your points are so good! I have to say - there are three things I judge a home on:

      1) are the bathrooms clean
      2) are the counters crummy and the fridge mostly clean?
      3) are there any books

      I can pretty much survive the rest!

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    2. Oh, whew, I'd pass then! Esp the books part.

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    3. when I see no sign of any books, I get the willies. WHat will I do when it is all electronic?

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  3. Wendy, this is a loaded topic in so many ways. But I am not tidy. Not at all. So much so that one night in the 90's I was getting ready to go out to a club and trying on different outfits when I heard a guy trying to break into my second spare bedroom which was for my parents when they visited so never used and tidy. I rang the police and when they came - they looked at my room and said - so right, the perpetrator came in here and then what happened? and I had to admit that the clothes on the floor and bed was my doing. My friends have never let me live that one down...Cleanliness is also subjective bc I fear that Martha has created this OCD syndrome and people go and sterilize everything insight. One of the biggest issues with my husband and I is the dishwasher. So much so I am banned from loading or unloading the dishes because I don't do it correctly apparently according to him. But I reckon he is mad because he washes the dishes before he puts them in the dishwasher!! I mean...He says that the dishwasher is to sterilize the dishes under the steam and hot water. We have had huge, I mean stomping out of the house rows over this. I say a little dust never hurt nobody...

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    1. CSW - you made me laugh out loud! My house can get VERY cluttered! and quickly! I am certainly not OCD and I agree Martha can take it to extremes, but I do learn things from her and others that help me with my own home. But I am looking at a stain on the wall in here that's been there FOR MONTHS.

      my husband likes to give demonstrations on the proper loading of a dishwasher. I am quite oblivious that sort of thing, not being very mechanically minded and all. Drives him mad! I do like clean bathroom and kitchens however, for sanitation reasons, though! :-) Thanks for the good counterpoint!

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    2. Having said that I have a complicated relationship with Martha - love her and resent her all at once...

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    3. Dying laughing about the Police Naomi!! I have frequent fights with my husband about the dishwasher. We have a magic dishwasher it would seem. you can apparently stack cups bowls and mugs three deep and somehow the water will get inside and clean it! Despite having spent 15 years pointing out to him that they don't wash, and then the dishwasher is still half full the next day when I discover this situation.. he persists. I was talking to my mother in law about this (he has another annoying habit of rolling up his dirty socks in the laundry basket... which means I have to pick them apart to wash them in the washing machine), and she thinks its a form of passive aggression - that they then get to tell us that we're nags.
      Ok. Slightly off topic... and rant over! This was like therapy... x

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    4. What is it about men and dishwashers?? My husband is exactly the same! He says half-jokingly that "women don't know how to load a dishwasher". Hmph. I'm still the one who turns it on most of the time.

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    5. I am not alone!!!! There is an odd comfort in numbers :))

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  4. We didn't call it home ec in our school but it was the only class I failed.

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    1. Ha! I was a terrible sewer - I seem unable to read sewing patterns - I need to see it to understand! I am hoping there are online courses on the net now!

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  5. Oh, I think I'm really going to enjoy coming back and reading all the comments later on today. :)

    I don't remember Home Ec class in high school. I doubt it was offered. This was the early/mid 90s, so the elective that all us girls wanted to take was ceramics (because of, um, Ghost).

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    1. Oh a shirtless Patrick Swayze did a lot of people in!

      neither of my children had access to those kinds of course, which is such a shame!

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  6. I hate cleaning and doing the dishes! I love love love cooking and baking and doing the laundry. They make me so happy and I feel soo incredibly accomplished! Did I say that I hate cleaning:)?
    I learned all of my skills from my grandmothers and my mom. All amazing career women and amazing cooks and bakers. I briefly took home ec, but that was a waste of time. They taught us how to make scrambled eggs and then we had to let the boys (who took shop) eat them! Not my idea of fun or fair!
    I do cook at home and my h helps with the rest of the home chores, but I do the majority of them all. I am raising my son to do it all! I love a man who cooks well!

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    1. I love to cook as well A! I do almost all the meals, because I hate the cleanup!!!

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  7. This is fascinating. I had no Home Ec or shop class in school (I graduated high school in middle America in 1996) and to this day do not know how to hem, sew, sew on a button, change a tire, build a bookcase or anything of that ilk. I bake because I like to and it is something I grew up doing with my mom. I never learned how to cook because I wasn't interested and felt it unfair that my mom pressed me to do it but never my brother. At the time I felt sewing, hemming, buttons, knitting etc. was total throwback stuff and was annoyed that boys were never asked to do any of that. Now I would kill to know how to do any of that but have no desire to learn from scratch as an adult. I should add that even with respect to ironing, my husband taught me how to do it in law school and I have avoided it like the plague since.

    I do really like my house to be clean, though, and always do floors and counters after meals, especially with young children, and plenty of laundry.

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    1. Monty - you might really like knitting - I am going to get back into it. WHen Barry was unemployed in the mide 80s at one point I taught him to knit. He had a lovely technique!

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  8. I am hopeless, when I got married I called mum and asked her how to boil an egg - she wasn't that sure either.
    At our school it was shameful to go to the Home Economics class, it was set up for those who were seen to be a bit thick, there were only 6 in the class out of our whole year, the sense of opprobrium around it was horrible. I felt so sorry for them on Wednesdays when they were separated from the rest of us.
    I like cleaning, but I really do hate cooking, knitting, all that sort of stuff, it's just doesn't interest me at all, then again mum loathed it all too, baby see, baby do.

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    1. Baby see, baby do! Too funny! That must have been awful for those girls! I assume your mum has help?

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    2. No, now at 92, she does everything herself , the cooking ( er reheating) cleaning, hoovering, laundry, she's a star.

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  9. Sorry to reply again but I can't seem to find a link to message you -- would you mind if I were to link to your blog in a post I'm drafting currently? Thanks!

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    1. Oh for sure, but if you ever need me: sydforry@hotmail.con

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  10. Wendy a subject close to my heart! I went to Catholic school and in the early eighties we still had home ec for the girls and shop for the boys. Those classes are long gone but I do remember mine, we learned a bit of cooking and how to do a light house-keeping. We also sewed up shift dresses.
    I've taught all of my children to cook and clean, this is important work which has been so devalued. My son lives with his girlfriend, and he does all of the cooking, food shopping and cleaning. She doesn't lift a finger because apparently she doesn't know how, her mother always did everything for her. It does frustrate him.
    I like to sew and out of all the rascals again it is my son who excels at this. He took a "fashion" course as a filler in high school (I was worried he'd get beat up but by that time he was 6'3" with scary piercings, so no problems there). Anyway he made a full pirate costume for himself with a big linen puffy shirt and velvet vest. We shopped for the fabric together and had so much fun, he still has that costume and the sewing on it is impeccable.
    Get a sewing machine! Your kids will love to use it to and then they can do simple mending etc. All the rascals use the sewing machine, I have it permanently set up now with a room devoted to it. I love to go in there and run up a set of napkins or something, it's so satisfying to start a task and then complete, and end up with something tangible.
    Oh and Cheryl M's book is one of my very favourites, even if she does carry some things too far!

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    1. So cool about your son! I think mine would be good at this as they are both crafty and I would love to make my own napkins, etc. this and a new camera and I am set!

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    2. Oh I really do think we should all be taught these things, Dani, your son sounds wonderful, when I met hubs he had an Aga and only used it to dry his clothes on, he lived on Mr Ben's rice - I lived on cereal!

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    3. just late bloomer - you were too buys kicking in other doors with your doc martens!

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    4. I was thinking about this and Tabs we can't do what we haven't been taught to do, I've been fortunate to be a stay-home mom and when my kids were really little I even had a cleaning person once a week, even though I was home. It gave me time to teach the kids to cook for example, which began when my son was 9. And he asked to learn, remember his stomach was the "empty pit of misery" so it was in his best interest!

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  11. Hi Wendy, at school I only did one year of Home Ec. All I remember from it is making an apron (a 'tabard' actually) and learning how to make scrambled eggs. The first time we had some of my husband's family over to stay for Thanksgiving, I was flummoxed when my sister-in-law asked for a frying pan to make scrambled eggs for the kids. We had been taught the French way - very slow, in a saucepan, with butter and cream, so they end up creamy. To this day I make them that way for myself. (I picked up the frying pan habit pretty quickly once we had kids ourselves!)

    My older son likes cooking - he is in a flat now and we have frequent Facebook sessions where he asks me how to make something. (Actually, I just messaged him to ask how he and his flatmate - a girl - are dealing with housework. He says they are 'maintaining'.)

    Unfortunately, I don't know what my second son is going to do when he leaves home - he has no interest in making food for himself beyond cereal, and bagels with peanut butter and nutella!

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    1. HI Patricia! maybe he will surprise you and really blossom when he leaves home!!

      I love your egg story - love that you learned it the French way!

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    2. Patricia my husband makes scrambled eggs that way too, he has a bunch of classic techniques up his sleeve, learned from his grandmother. She was super well-educated and learned to cook in Vienna. It was considered a part of her classical education.

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    3. Dani, your kidding, mine is as hopeless as me.

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    4. I have never heard of anyone using a frying pan to make scrambled eggs!

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    5. Tabs - it must be a North American thing!

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    6. we use frying pans for scrambled eggs in Australia too! I had no idea you were supposed to use a saucepan... and I pride myself on my cooking! Off to read a few more cookbooks....

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  12. I'm going to come back and comment more on the topic, but wanted to mention that Madewell has 25% off sale and your bird blouse is on sale. :)

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  13. I disagree that it is offensive to teach girls the "womanly arts" as you call them. Women still do the lion's share of the housework and child-rearing. The feminist movement pretending that isn't so doesn't just make it go away. The result of canceling the courses is that we've lost a lot of the "common sense" that used to be imbibed as part of a general education. Instead of kiboshing them, open the male/female courses to both genders. Some boys would take the female courses just to meet girls, and might learn something in the meantime. Knowing how to care for home and family is important information. Even if you don't have children you need to care for yourself and possibly an aging parent one day.

    The feminist movement is really great at holding up impossible ideals that make women feel that they don't measure up. Women should make up their own minds about what is important to them, just as you have, and the rest of the world needs to respect those decisions. We all live in the real world after all.

    I never had to do housework growing up but I knew what it meant to have a clean home. Living away from home while in college I was fastidious about it. Now we have a house cleaner in the city and we clean the country house ourselves. We have a set process but sometimes life gets too busy and I don't sweat it if there is a little dust on the mantle from time to time, as long as the kitchen and bathrooms are clean. No one ever lays on their death bed and thinks, "I should have cleaned the floors more often." or conversely, "I should have spent more time at the office."

    BTW, I consider mice basically house flies with fur. Can never understand why people think they are cute and OK to have in the house.

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    1. xoxo - I am with you girlfriend! Two little mice have gone to heaven thanks to old Barry!

      I think that as in all things, the feminist movement was absolutely critical and necessary and I still consider myself a feminist, but of course pendulums swing too far at times and we throw the baby out with the bath water (wonder how many more clichés I can use?) I think that taking care of one's self is critical. And I am awfully glad that men are now part of that teaching (although if truth be told, my dad cleaned a mean house - he had to!)

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    2. xoxo - hear, hear on your first three paras, and three times over for the mice and house flies comment! When I moved to Canada I thought window screens were the greatest thing ever (still do!). We don't have mice (touch wood!) but I hate having flies in the house and always have a fly swatter handy in case one sneaks in.

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    3. Patricia, on screens - I always think that too when I'm across the pond.

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    4. now that is funny, because one I was in France I thought "how nice, no screens"!

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    5. Great comments, xoxo! Completely agree.

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  14. There was no Home Ec when I was in school. I agree that unless somone shows you how to clean or cook, you're not going to have a clue unless you take it upon yourself to do something about it and decide to learn. My mom's a great cook, gardens and cleans house often, though we did live in clutter growing up. My parents have gotten much better at turfing clutter, but they did have a "box room" when I lived at home (to store mountains of boxes that they may "need" one day) -- to this day, I have box anxiety! Every box must be removed from my house if I'm not using it for something! :)

    Mom taught me how to cook some things, and I had my cleaning chores to do at home growing up. I took sewing in 4-H back in Grade 6 for a year but I'd like to learn how to sew again. Hubs actually did the cooking for the first little while after we got married as I didn't know how to make that many things and truthfully I was daunted by the prospect -- most everyone in my family are great cooks and I was fearful I wouldn't live up to the grand reputation my family has, but I tried some recipes and stuck with it....starting cooking for family occasions and entertaining, I do things my way now and it's fine. Keep it simple with straightforward cooking methods and knowhow. I do most of the cooking now and I am more apt to try different things -- some didn't work, but most of them did.

    Hubs does the vacuuming, house maintenance, yardwork etc and I do dusting, cleaning, bathrooms, floors, laundry, etc. I absolutely LOATHE washing dishes (I would rather clean filthy bathrooms than do dishes anyday) so Hubs usually loads the dishwasher and I'll wash the wine glasses. :)

    Fascinating discussion!

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    1. A box room! My grandmother had a full walk in linen closet. after my grandfather died she just through her dirty linens in there and bought new sheets everytime she needed to change the sheets. By the time she died in 1982 it was probably 4 or 5 feet high and took up all of the room. Crazy huh?

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  15. I learned cooking from my grandmother who was an excellent cook. Cleaning is just something both sis and I picked up from my parents, who always kept a clean house. Also took Home Ec in school and am very happy I did. I learned to sew, knit and use a sewing machine, and all comes in very handy. A few years back I got a Pfaff sewing machine and still think it's the best thing ever. Can't recommend it highly enough. This would be my 4th sewing machine, but it's superior to all the Singer ones I owned before.

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    1. Thanks Rose! I am going to start looking at sewing machines! Lucky you with your parents and grandmother!

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  16. This post does not compute lol!! No I find nothing satisfying about cleaning a bathroom after an awful day at work or ever :D I wish I did, they would be a lot cleaner.

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  17. Now tidiness comes very naturally to me. My mother actually made side money sewing undergarments when we were very little in Germany. She taught me how to sew and it is one regret I have with raising my own kids. If a button falls off, Tyler thinks that warrants new pants. Did take Home Ec in high school but it was mostly baking. I am rambling, sorry but busy day and I did want to reply. With all our foodnetwork shows both kids can cook and i am the luckiest wife because my hubs LOVES to cook. I am living the dream! I do have ladies that clean once a week but I enjoy deep cleaning. never the poop and pee around toilets - yuck!

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    1. Oh lucky you BB! Barry cooks as well, which is awesome, even though I would do the bulk of cooking. We gave up our cleaning lady when I left my job and it was a bit of a sad day!

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  18. I remember home ec in junior high. I sewed a fun stuffed octopus of all things and remember baking cookies. My mother is an excellent cook and seamstress. Her aunt was the dressmaker for the town and she spent much of her spare time learning from her. This aunt made nearly all my clothes when I was little. I remember taking sewing leasons at the local Singer store on summer, but I can't sew anything like my Mom. My Mom is a great cook but many times ran us girls out of the kitchen because she didn't like us making a mess. She has her secret weapon the seasoned cast iron skillet. She makes a fabulous gravy, an art I have never mastered. I love to cook fun stuff for parties like deserts or appetizers but I don't get many chances to cook for the family since I seem to always be working.

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    1. Hi SC - I suspect you will cook more and more the older you get - I find I do. An aunt as a dressmaker - my dream!

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  19. I've found all the comments (and your post of course) totally fascinating. I have Cheryl's book.. and a couple of others from the 1950's that they used in Home Ec classes. We had home Ec at school, and most girls (I was at a girl's only school) could take it up to final year, if they wanted to (although it didn't count toward University Entrance.. of course). We all had to do it in year 8 & 9 as a compulsory subject, sewing for two terms and cooking for two terms. Had to make a roast with all the trimmings, and old fashioned desserts like junket and custard. I had personally good role models - my mother was an excellent housekeeper (and my grandmother was formidable on that front), but they both had cleaners come in once a week and had the ironing done as well. I think the biggest example of why men shouldn't rely on women to do it all is evidenced by my Father - my Mother died last year after a brief illness, and Dad was so used to her doing absolutely everything domestic that he was totally floundering. I had to go over and show him how to pay bills, do the laundry, help him with grocery shopping, remind him to change the sheets on his bed etc. He has come a long way in the past year and is managing really well now, but it made a difficult time much more stressful for him.
    My own husband is the same.. if I ever get sick, the whole family eats pancakes until I'm well enough to drag myself out of bed and cook. I'm going to teach my boys how to sew and cook and they're already doing a bit of cleaning (vacuum their rooms). My husband is very neat, but he just doesn't see dust. We used to have blazing rows as newly weds as he'd just not clean to my standard. A cleaner sorted out the problem in the end. I think that it's ridiculous that people think there's some pride in keeping a slovenly house - as if you have better things to spend your time on?

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    1. Heidi - you are really hitting on something - after my mother died - my dad really struggled with making healthy meals. We had him to dinner every Sunday and sent him home with leftovers and some baking. As for the dishwasher - my husband thinks I have a learning disability about it! That should be a whole post in itself - the things our spouses think we are doing on purpose...

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  20. I only had one year of Home Economics, and that was when I lived in Alberta. At the time, it was mandatory for everyone in grades 7-9, not just the girls. I would have had to continue taking it through junior high but right after Grade 7, my father moved us to Ontario and here, it was an optional course so I never bothered taking it. Very few people signed up for it - the Home Ec studio was always deserted and my friends and I used to have our lunches there because no one would ever come in to disturb us. I think they closed down the unit soon after I graduated.

    Anyway, that one year of Home Ec destroyed my confidence in my ability to cook and clean for many years after- although I was pulling top grades in every other subject, I did very poorly in that class. What's more, some of the boys were better at cooking than the girls! I learned how to cook in later years, mostly from watching Food Network Television. "Cook Like a Chef" was especially good for teaching various basic cooking techniques. I honestly dislike cleaning - I do the dishes, the laundry and some vacuuming but I leave the heavy duty stuff to my husband.

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    1. Louise - Martha Stewart and Christine Cushing taught me how to cook initially in my late 20s - I think before that I was just getting by!

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  21. This is really interesting! Where I grew up, there was no Home Ec. I did take several years of shop, electricity and construction principles given that I went to a technical school. I am a neat freak, and eat a healthy, non-processed food diet. My husband loves to cook, and learned to eat a natural diet when we moved in. But as amazing as he is, he cannot clean or fix things around the house. So I sew, I clean and cook, and also build furniture and fix things that break. But given my profession, I also work from home, so how many stereotypes am I reiterating and breaking simultaneously?

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  22. I signed up for drafting, but was booted out because I was told being a girl was a distraction even though I was a flat chested 12 year old. I ended up in Home Ec with the other girls, which I didn't want to take. The teacher was mean. I couldn't do anything right (no hot water when rinsing cheese!) and didn't learn a thing. If I had a son, he'd learn to cook & clean. I definitely try to impart what I can on my nephews when they visit with us. Wendy, I hear you on books. If a guy didn't own books, I was mentally outta there. My husband passed all of my little requirements, books, being able to care for himself and the like. Excellent post!

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    1. Can you believe it - they called you a distraction! OMG - I am sure they couldn't do that now!

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    2. You are right. It wouldn't be "pc" at all.

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Kindness is a virtue...