Light and lively, but factual, The Canadian Housewife traces the various eras of this feminine icon of the north, from the 1600s with the first Acadian women along the Bay of Fundy, who lit their houses with candles and heated them with fires, to the 1950s suburban housewife, who treasured her new labor-saving kitchen devices and magazine recipes for jellied salads with marshmallows.
This engaging cultural history provides amusing information and anecdotes on how Canadian housewives dealt with the trials and tribulations of running a household through Canada's many social periods. Creating fascinating snapshots of specific times in the country's history, sidebars throughout The Canadian Housewife feature quotes, recipes, household hints, excerpts from books and magazines, advertisements and historical illustrations of housewives at work.
This book is an interesting read about housewives from the 1600s to the 1950s in Canada. Because of all the information, it's not a book you would sit and read in one sitting. Not only is there info broken up into sections per years like wife, nurse, mother, etc. to let you know how things were, there are sidebars (in blue) with letters from housewives telling about their lives, ads, recipes, etc. Washing machines and vacuum cleaners made such a difference in their lives!
I found myself reading parts of this book, shaking my head in wonderment at all that these women did and what was expected of them.
From the 1800s ...
"Monday night I would sort over the soiled clothing, fill up my tubs and set the white things to soak. While the family were eating breakfast, around six o'clock on Tuesday morning, I would set the wash water in two large galvanized iron wash-boilers on the stove to heat. By the time the dishes were cleared away and washed, the separator scoured, the beds made and the floors swept, and the table set for dinner, it would be nine 'o clock, and I would ready to start on the main business of the day - the washing."From the 1920s ...
From the 1950s ...
"You will want your husband to fall in love with you every day, as he will surely want you to fall in love with him. Of course, you can't always be dressed up but you can try to be always clean and neat, and you can welcome him always with a smile that comes so easy now."
"A woman was urged to feed her man properly, keep a clean house for him, ask a bout his day but never complain about hers, keep the children from bothering hm when he was tired, make the very best of his paycheque, and always be cheerful and ready for whatever he suggested."
I would have been a lousy housewife in those years ... just ask Gord about the first (and last!) time he asked me to sew a button on a shirt for him or iron.