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Home and Garden

Home economics, decorating, gardening and home improvement. Also includes entertaining, parties, etiquette.

Household Help for Ladies

art of homemaking cover

Art of Homemaking
Everything you need to know to run your home with ease and style
Habeeb
1973

Prior to the magic of the Internet,  homemaking reference books were pretty standard in every household. I even got one along with my basic Betty Crocker cookbook when I got married back in the early 1980s. Even though there are a disproportionate number of pages devoted to laundry, I am going to give the author props for acknowledging that one can drop their standards on housekeeping perfection.

I also got a kick out of the inside flap that reminds the ladies that regardless of your “liberated” status, you will have to keep house on some level. It also recognizes that even MEN (gasp!) might have to do some housework. Not everyone will be able to afford a maid, so you might need these skills!

This book is a bit better than most by suggesting that women dial back the perfection goals and that shiny floors are not the end all be all. It still does spend a disproportionate amount of pages on ironing and laundry, but unlike similar books of the period, they include basic electrical and plumbing repairs and some other chores that aren’t often associated with “women’s work.”

Mary

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Minimal Effort Cooking

holy housewife cookbook cover

Holy Housewifery Cookbook
Marbach
1968

This cookbook is about cooking with the least amount of effort. This book is the author’s collection of recipes gathered from the wild: newspaper clippings, labels off jars, etc. Essentially, it is a 1960’s version of a Pinterest board. Most of the recipes are designed to be low effort, inexpensive, just a few ingredients, with some witty commentary thrown in. (This book reminds me of one of my mom’s favorites from that time, Peg Bracken’s I hate to cook book . It was her bible.) The copy I picked up looked like it had been used to death. I am not sure that a book like this would be as necessary as in the day of my mother. Pinterest and other recipe sites probably have that covered for the modern anti-cooking crowd.

I know a lot of folks that love to cook and experiment. This is not their book. This book is for people like me who have to cook because you have hungry people crying. I’d rather make reservations.

Mary

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Housebuilding for Children

Housebuilding for Children - coverHousebuilding for Children: Six Different Houses that Children Can Build By Themselves
Walker
1977

The six houses featured in this book are:

The Post and Beam House
The Tree House
The Factory-built House
The Junkyard House
The Glass House
The Wood Frame House

It caught my eye when a patron asked for books about c-sections (which I failed to understand was a type of house plan and took them promptly over to the women’s health section). Once I realized they were talking about house plans and we got to the right area, this little number was just sitting there calling to me. Houses that children can build by themselves?? Really?

There might be some enterprising kids out there that are pretty handy with tools, but the instructions in this book are akin to putting together a dresser from Ikea. Most adults would have trouble, but there they are on the cover, raising a roof!

My favorite is the kid with his head sticking out the soon-to-be window, with a saw aimed at his face. There are no safety glasses being worn in any of the pictures and no gloves while digging through the vat of rust and splinters for The Junkyard House materials.

The pictures are all black and white and the outfits and tools are straight out of 1977. Points for showing both girls and boys, though.

Cute idea, but desperate for an update.

-Holly

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