In participation with the A to Z Blog Challenge for 2016, I’m posting about people, places, and things from the past, in an A to Z theme. We’ll post every day during April, except Sunday’s – when we all get time off for good behavior.

I hope you enjoy these posts about the past. Check out some of the awesome blogs that are participating in the A to Z Challenge this year. There’s over 1700 blogs participating in the challenge, so I’m sure you’ll find some treasures in there.

A2Z-BADGE [2016]


What’s a peek into the past without old cookbooks? Here’s one that gave me a different view of the world in 1932.

I found out that I’ve been doing it all wrong.

Browsing through a cookbook I discovered at an antique store, The Quality Cook Book (1932), I discovered that I haven’t been running my household properly.

The first chapter ‘The Art of Serving’ begins ‘In wealthy homes …” which may be the tip-off that this advice doesn’t apply to the majority of American homes. Especially in 1932. Most family stories and tales I’ve heard from older friends that experienced the post-depression years were not in the setting of ‘wealthy homes’. The accounts I’ve heard tell of a hand to mouth existence, where survival was the day to day goal.

But … assume for a moment, that we were in a ‘wealthy home’ in 1932. Here is the advice given.


A good maid is the most important part of the household, and her main qualifications are: Reliability, Cleanliness, Order, Speed, Good nature – and it is hard to say just which one of these can be more easily dispensed with. The maid, in an apartment of not more than seven rooms, and with no children to care for, is expected to

Keep the apartment clean
Cook and serve meals
Answer telephone
Answer doorbell
Wash and iron all fine lingerie, handkerchiefs and stockings.

The proper uniform for a maid is blue or gray percale in the morning, and black, or gray, with small white apron, collar, cuffs, and headband, after noon. She should wear lisle hose, and medium height plain oxfords.

The well trained maid observes a routine as scrupulously exact as that of any army private or hospital nurse. The house which is not run on a schedule is not well run. An experienced mail will welcome a well-planned working day, and with an inexperienced maid, a properly planned routine in invaluable. The following is suggested for a six-room apartment with two adults. Such a routine, typed and pinned over the kitchen sink, trains the maid with a minimum of effort and worry on her own and her mistress’ part.


Breakfast, 7:45. Sweep living room with vacuum or carpet sweeper; dust; go over window sills with oiled or wet cloth depending on finish; wash ash trays; refill cigarette boxes; put fresh match boxes on tables.

9:00 – Clear breakfast table; sweep dining room; and dust. Sweep bedroom floor, strip beds, and leave, to air. Scrub bathroom floor, tub, and bowl, wash soap dish and all fixtures, hang fresh towels. Wash dishes, wash dish towels, boil, hang to dry. Make beds, dust bedroom, wash soiled hose, and hang to dry.

Luncheon – Prepare whatever food can be prepared in advance for dinner. Do dishes, scrub kitchen floor. This leaves remainder of day free for silver, cupboards, pressing, etc., until time to get dinner.


Monday – Clean ice box; polish silver; clean book shelves.

Tuesday – Clean stove; clean drawers.

Wednesday – Wash lingerie and iron. List laundry.

Thursday – Polish furniture. Go over all overstuffed pieces with Energine; clean ice box.

Friday – Clean closets; polish nickel.

Saturday – Clean shelves; wash all bulbs in electric fixtures; press dresses.

That’s our trip back in time for this week. Now, if you’ll excuse me – I’ve got some dishtowels to boil and some light bulbs to wash.


10 thoughts on “C: COOKBOOKS – 1932 STYLE

  1. Wow! That’s great! I love picking up old cookbooks and reading through them for tidbits like you shared. I had absolutely no idea that a maid was supposed to wear a different outfit in the morning and afternoon, for instance – fascinating!

    I spent a lot of time scouring Texas newspapers from 1927-1929 last year and it was eye-opening. For an upcoming talk, I’ve been scouring newspapers from 1897. That’s been interesting, as well.

    I love the theme you’ve chosen and will definitely be back! 😀

    Thanks for visiting my blog & Happy A to Z to you! 😀
    Tui Snider
    @TuiSnider on Twitter, & sharing A to Z posts at:
    Tui Snider’s Upbeat, Offbeat & Overlooked
    #StoryDam (a friendly writing community)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Tui! I love the past, adore researching and enjoy every moment of looking back. However…I’m very thankful to live in the present with our technology – and air conditioning for our north Texas summers lol
      Have fun with your A to Z!


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