Home Ec Flashback

teen homemaker cover

Teen Guide to Homemaking
Brinkley, Chamberlin, Champion

This could have been my high school text for home ec and the pictures could have come straight from my high school yearbook. All that is missing is a soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever.  Just to give some context, microwaves were still pretty new at this time and this text doesn’t even mention them. The featured picture below talks about self-cleaning ovens and self-defrosting freezers, which constituted some seriously fancy features.

I swear, none of this seems “that” long ago in my head. Excuse my age crisis, but younger staff members/patrons have often said something like, “Ask Mary, she is old enough to remember… (insert anything “old” like a typewriter, presidents before Reagan, etc)”

Not that old (really),


advice on ovens, appliances

teen friendships

teen fashion advice


  1. Oh wow, I’m really excited right now because we had this book in one of our life skills classes in junior high. In 1990! I remember the teacher reading about first aid out of the book to us, and I had to be the know-it-all and point out how dated the was because doctors no longer tell you to tilt your head back when you have a nose bleed, unless you *want* you own blood to ooze down the back of your throat. It still bugs me to this day that people think that’s what you’re supposed to do. Also the books in our class were horribly vandalized. It basically summed up everything else about that school.

  2. It is funny how there is a picture of a woman effortlessly hanging a door with just a hammer. I have never known anyone to be able to hang a door without all kinds of adjustments, aggravation and swearing.

  3. This was my 7th grade home ec textbook the fall of 1983. I especially remember the photo under the boy-girl friendship caption. It seemed dated then, and it was only 6 years old. The ’80’s styles were swinging into high gear and the teens in these pics were not “us.”

  4. I am old enough so that self-defrosting refrigerators WERE a revelation. I can remember defrosting the freezer the way my mother taught me — turn it off, take everything out and put it in a cooler, put pans of boiling water inside and shut the door. I would get impatient and hack at the ice with a knife, though. (I was lucky I didn’t puncture the freezer walls, or myself.) But it was kind of fun to get the ice off in sheets…

    As for self-cleaning ovens, I have never had one, though my mother does. I think my stove may be older than I am. But it still works. And I don’t clean it.

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