Monday, May 30, 2011

Old Cookbooks

In the old days, the cookbook served more than one purpose. It was not just a collection of recipes; it was a guide to good housekeeping, a handbook for good health, and a manual for having a good marriage. In other words, next to the Bible, it was every wife and mother’s mainstay.

For example—lemon juice will remove bloodstains, a bread and milk poultice is a painless way to remove a splinter; as the bread dries it will draw out the splinter overnight. Finally, a sure way to keep your husband happy is to sauté onions before he comes home. The savory aroma as he walks in the door will entice him to stay in for the rest of the evening. (But you’d better follow up with a good dinner using the recipes from the first half of the cookbook!)

We have come a long way from finding everything we need to know between the covers of one book. Now we have TV, radio, and the Internet. Now, a world of knowledge is at our fingertips—literally. But I still keep those old cookbooks around, just in case there is a worldwide power failure and I have to remove a coffee stain, make a quick tourniquet, or keep my husband from running out to the nearest nightclub.

Robin Hathaway

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