Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Ideal Kitchen

I have an old book entitled, "What Can a Woman Do?" by Mrs. M. L. Rayne. It was published in 1884, and I believe it belonged to my great grandmother. Written inside the front cover, in pencil, is the date Aug. 1884, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

It is a fun little book. Well, not really little, it is 496 pages long; but it is filled with all sorts of suggestions for women as to how they can utilize their time. Tonight I was reading the chapter entitled, "The Science of Cookery". I thought I would share with you what was considered the ideal kitchen in 1884.

There are kitchens which resemble the ideal picture which is presented to us in the novel or on the stage, in real homes, and they are happy, comfortable places, where a neat, white-handed woman, in picturesque costume, moves with gracious ease among the pots and pans; where a white loaf is cut on a white table, such a place as we might imagine as that in which Werther's Charlotte 'went on cutting bread and butter;' where golden pots of preserves are opened and inspected, and moulds of jelly turned out into crystal dishes; the presiding genius of such a place can not be otherwise than neat and daintly habited, for she understands the science of cooking, and invokes to her aid the principles of chemistry, and reduces all the forces of grease and dirt by a superior process of active absorption. Every pan has its place; each utensil its nail or closet; the holder is omnipresent; clean towels abound; neat mats are spread on the floor; there is a mirror on the wall; there are comfortable chairs to sit on; the kitchen is the heart of the house, and if there is disorder there it is felt through the entire system."


The Library Lady said...

WOW! What a kitchen ~ :-)

Your book is a real treasure. I really love and appreciate old books.

Just me. said...

I found a terrific older cook book at the thrift store and gave it to my daughter. She doesn't usually care for "old" books but has really enjoyed this one.

It is funny how even in the late 1800's advertisements were so that it seemed the perfect home was possible. I think about that with blogging sometimes, how the pictures certainly don't tell the whole story.