Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Besides giving some useful advice on how to create the perfect pie crust, clean the feathers in your bed, and keep those eggs fresh for up to three years (it seems all you need is a properly mixed bucket of lime-water!), Lydia Marie Francis Child has some insightful social commentary in her book:
One great cause of vanity, extravagance and idleness that are so fast growing upon our young ladies, is the absence of domestic education. By domestic education, I do not mean the sending of daughters into the kitchen some half dozen times, to weary the patience of the cook, and to boast of it the next day in the parlor. I mean tow or three years pent with a mother, assisting her in her duties, instruction brothers and sisters, and taking care of their own clothes. This is the way to make them happy, as well as good wives; for, being early accustomed to the duties of life, they will sit lightly as well as gracefully upon them.
. . .
Instead of representing domestic life as the gathering place of the deepest and purest affections; as the sphere of woman's enjoyments as well as of her duties; as, indeed the whole world to her; that one pernicious sentence [Let her enjoy herself all she can, while she is single!] teachers a girl to consider matrimony desirable because 'a good match' is a triumph of vanity, and it is deemed respectable to be 'well settled in the world;' but that it is a necessary sacrifice of her freedom and her gayety . . . they have been taught to look for happiness where it never can be found, viz. in the absence of all occupation, or the unsatisfactory and ruinous excitement of fashionable competition.
The difficulty is, eduation does not usually point the female heart to its only true resting-place. That dear English word 'home,' is not half so powerful a talisman as 'the world.' Instead of the salutary truth, that happiness is in duty, they are taught to consider the two things totally distinct; and that whoever seeks one, must sacrifice the other.