Monday, September 22, 2014

Mrs. Beeton Suggests

 I was in a charity shop today in Sheffield and found a small book of household tips written by a British lady in the Victorian era named Isabella Beeton.  I found some of the advice still applicable and some, well let us just say I probably won't be trying it.

Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management was written to help ladies run their household effectively and efficiently.  It is a classic in its field.

Here are some of the suggestions I believe are timeless:
  • A bargain is not a bargain when you don't need it.
  • Cheap food is not necessarily inferior.
  • Willful waste brings woeful want.
  • Ask the butcher what he is having to eat that night and you will know what is worth buying.
  • Hold some coffee grounds in the closed palm of your hand. If it falls apart when you open your hand it is pure coffee.  If it clumps, something has been added.
  • Clear as you go.  Muddle makes more muddle.
  • Tea should be poured into the cup and then the milk should be added ( something to do with the tannin in tea).  Milk should be in the cup when the coffee is added. I am guilty of doing it however it happens on that day.
  • When you eat vinegar or eggs with silver utensils the silver turns black.
  • Add vinegar to the dishwater and it will remove grease and help disinfect.
  • Egg whites will whip up better if you add a pinch of salt first.
  • When you rearrange furniture, if the carpet shows depressions from the previous furniture use a wet cloth, placed over the depression, and an iron, placed on the wet cloth, to steam the carpet and raise the pile.
 Now for the ones I will probably (or definitely not be trying, usually because they sound like WAY to much work and I am devoutly lazy.
  • Carpets should be cleaned by sprinkling with moist tea leaves and then swept with a stiff brush.
  • Or, wipe the carpet with a cloth that has been rung out in ammonia.
  • Polish a wooden floor by scattering steel shaving and then sweeping them up.  The shaving are mildly abrasive.
  • Bed linens should be stripped off the bed daily and aired due to the moisture that accumulates during the night from the bodies and breaths of the individuals sleeping there.
  • Bed linens should always be ironed after they have been washed.
  • Use the inside of a banana peel to polish brown shoes.
  • Castor oil should be taken for a cold.
  • A mixture in which two onions have been soaked in rum for 24 hours, should be rubbed into the scalp every other night.
  • Sleep can be improved by taking a cold bath before bed.

Today's home economics lesson is now at an end.  Class dismissed.

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