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Thursday, 23 August 2007

Adventures In Home-Ec

By Ronni Prior of Rants By Ronni

When my mother was in school, they called it "domestic science." It was "home economics" when I was there.

I got to high school at the end of 7th grade. Home Ec had been going strong all year, and the girls (and it was girls only) had made white bib aprons with their names embroidered on the bib in red. I had missed that part.

In the 8th grade, cooking was the first part of the year. Guess what? If you didn't wear a white bib apron with your name embroidered on the bib in red, you got five points off your cooking score. My apron from home with the pansies on it just didn't make the grade. Add that to having a partner who was just as nervous and inept as I was, and, you guessed it - I flunked cooking.

I thought I might do better at sewing, as I started out well. We were to make ourselves outfits, all from the same simple pattern. There was a blouse with no collar or buttonholes or zippers, and a gathered skirt. I did well at blouse. I wore that blouse for years.

But skirt was a problem, as Mom decided, in her infinite wisdom, that I didn't need a skirt, and refused permission and fabric for me to participate. The teacher stepped in and provided some fabric, and we started.

At that time, we were allowed to take projects home and work on them. Bad idea. At home, Mom made me unpick everything I had done at school and redo it her way. At school, the teacher made me unpick everything I had done at home and do it her way. Needless to say, I was soon far behind the rest of the class. I'm not sure I ever finished that dratted skirt, but I do remember one thing:

I failed Home-Ec.

My friends find it ironic that I now have two jobs - one making sandwiches, and the other making costumes.

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


I remember my failings in Home Ec. We made a cream sauce, and extra salt spilled into mine as I tried to measure 1/4 tsp. It was so horrible, and we had to eat every last bit of it! I did better in sewing than you, but luckily, my mom did not make me pick out my seams at home...LOL

I had learned to cook at home very early because my mother had poor health.

In School I knew more than the teacher - really I did! She was also the person teaching us how to sew!!! Disaster from word go.

Thankfully an aunt saved me with regard to the sewing and my mother taught me all I know about good food

I grew up wearing clothes that my mother made for me and I made a lot of my daughter's clothes before jeans and tops became her uniform.

All I learned in Home Ec was that my mother's way was easier and made more sense. I already knew how to cook and sew by the time I was in 7th grade. I found it frustrating that my usual 'A' was not forthcoming. My mother actually forgave me that stupid 'C'.

Oh well!

Excellent post, Ronni!!!!!

I grew up in the 70's and only cooked and sewed in secret, and only when I felt inspired.

I remember sending cookies to my husband's office one holiday insisting he tell anyone if asked, that he got them from an out of town bakery.

I now consider myself a gourmet cook, but I still only cook when it pleases me. I have finally concluded cooking can be creative and a joy and a gift to those you love and does not have to be drudgery.

Just don't try to MAKE me cook. Or sew, either!

When I was in 7th grade I accompanied my grandparents on their yearly trek to Orlando, Florida. I had to attend school there and they were in the middle of Home Ec. The first thing we did was bake a little chocolate cake. The recipe called for a pinch of salt. I ate the cake on the way home from school and the last bite I took had all the salt in it. What an unpleasant lesson on mixing the batter well.

Oh yeah, I remember those home ec courses. You surely must have been in a dilemma with your mother and the teacher teaching you contradictory sewing methods. Amazing you ever wanted to sew again.

I used to feel that home ec. classes were not tuned into the growing trend of the way American women cooked. In the 60s, more and more wives were joining the workforce, and needed time-saving cooking.(ie. mixes, frozen meals, etc) that were easy and quick to prepare.
Why did I have to learn how to make chocolate pudding, for example,from scratch, turning my kitchen into a tornado site, when I could quickly make a better pudding from a mix?

Well, I came upon this story a little late, but I have to comment.

What I remember about home ec is a teacher standing in front of the class, with a diagram no less, telling a bunch of flat chested 8th graders (at least I was) the right proportion for a woman's figure: a woman's waist had to be ten inches smaller than her breast and hips, which should measure the same.

Even though I stopped trying to meet that standard decades ago - no way with my DNA, (and the teacher most certainly didn't meet it herself) I still remember that admonition. It was incredibly hurtful.


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