1901- Housekeeping Advice

vintage large family ad The Ladies' Home Journal 1921From Good Housekeeping, volume 33, 1901, some advice on running a summer boarding house, some of which may also prove useful to the mother of a growing family or one with frequent houseguests:


The best dried prunes and apricots when well cooked are delicious. They make an appetizing change and are cheaper than fresh fruit. (Me: according to other recipes I’ve looked up from the time, if you soak it in cold water overnight, it will be just like any other canned fruit, and you can use it in pies, crumbles, cobbler, and as a plain side dish just as you would canned fruit)

Study every method of warming up cold potatoes. For one meal have scalloped potato, for others mashed, brown, creamed, sauted, croquettes, boulettes, puffs, deviled, stewed, Delmonico, au gratin, broiled, rissoles, lyonnaise, omelet, souffle, muffins, or for luncheon in a delicious salad.  (find some of these recipes here)

Variety is the very spice of the boarding house table. Carry out this advice also in bread. Let good wheat bread be a standby. Still the emptying of the flour barrel will not be so frequent an occurrence when the menu is varied every day by rye, graham or corn meal muffins and gems (smaller muffins). Entire wheat, graham and rye bread also ring a welcome change.

Every day after the noonday meal take a quiet hour to study refrigerator left-overs and their possibilities, and plan the menus for the next day. Do not leave your thinking of what supplies are required till you arrive at the market, and never allow groceries to run out. Replenish before the last spoonful is shaken from the bottom of the jar. (Me: keep a running shopping list on the refrigerator and add items to it as you see you are running low)
If the best steaks cannot be obtained, buy good split-bone steak  (Me: I have no idea what that is, but this method should work to tenderize any tough cut of meat)  and purchase the supply two days ahead. Lay the steaks in a large platter, mix equal quantities olive oil and vinegar and pour it over the steaks till every portion is marinated. Allow them to stand in this from twenty-four to forty-eight hours in the coldest part of the refrigerator. The result will be steaks in which every portion is as eat able as tenderloin. The split-bone is an ideal boarding house steak ; there is scarcely a morsel of if that cannot be served.

coffee because crackBuy good coffee and learn to make good coffee. One cup of steaming hot, strong, golden coffee with cream will do more to put your guests in good humor for a day than the most elaborate breakfast with poor coffee.

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  1. Frances
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    “Presiding over an establishment like this, makes sad havoc with the features, my dear Miss Pecksniffs,” said Mrs. Todgers. “The gravy alone, is enough to add twenty years to one’s age, I do assure you…

    “The anxiety of that one item, my dears,” said Mrs. Todgers, “keeps the mind continually upon the stretch. There is no such passion in human nature, as the passion for gravy among commercial gentlemen. It’s nothing to say a joint won’t yield—a whole animal wouldn’t yield—the amount of gravy they expect each day at dinner. And what I have undergone in consequence,” cried Mrs. Todgers, raising her eyes and shaking her head, “no one would believe!”

    ~ From Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens

    • Headmistress
      Posted August 16, 2016 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      Oh, how perfect! How do you remember these quotes?

      • Frances
        Posted August 16, 2016 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

        It’s my favorite Dickens novel and I love the boarding house scenes – and Tom and Mary Pinch setting up house together.

        • Frances
          Posted August 16, 2016 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

          Ruth Pinch, I mean. Mary’s the rather irritating heroine. Trollope’s heroines were much more natural!

  2. Posted August 16, 2016 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    I absolutely love this. How do you find all these gems?

    • Headmistress
      Posted August 16, 2016 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      I just love browsing old magazines and books at googlebooks. It’s my favourite time-waster. So, of course, i have to share, in order to justify my vice to myself. It’s not desultory reading, it’s blog research. Naturally.

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