Thursday, July 14, 2011

One From the Vaults...

Working in the Information & Research Centre, staff often come across some amazing and beautiful books from the basement. From time to time, we'll share a few of them with you. Last night I found "1000 Household Hints: Attractive, Money-saving Hints and Wrinkles Arranged for Immediate Reference" by Elizabeth Craig (Woman of the Year, 1967). I was rather confused by the title - it didn't make any sense - I was convinced there was a typo on our catalogue.  However, according to The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed, Volume 20, pg 634, a "wrinkle" can be "A clever or adroit expedient or trick; a happy device". Hmm, I would have to say that the dictionary itself is my favourite wrinkle!

What's it all about? Elizabeth Craig was a talented journalist and writer born in Scotland in 1884. She wrote over 60 books including "The importance of eating potatoes" and "New ways of using custard". 1000 Household Hints covers everything home economics: cookery, "the work of the house", social etiquette, home handywoman, the family, needlecraft, gardening, and diet, health and beauty. Elizabeth certainly had a way with words, which is part of the charm of this book. It also provides a wonderful opportunity to dive into the middle and upper class experiences of mid-century Britain.

Classic line: On the dress code for "At Homes": "A smart afternoon dress and no hat is worn by the hostess. If friends are helping they should wear their hats, unless actually staying in the house. Other guests do not usually take off their coats unless it is a very small informal gathering, or they are wearing heavy fur coats." pg 55

On conversation at a dinner-party: "If you are talking about matters of taste - books, plays, films, music - be careful not to take a superior tone nor to parade your knowledge. Remember also that the opposite attitude, the "Oh, of course I don't know anything about these things," or "Oh, well, you clever people" tone also verges upon discourtesy. Try to find some common meeting ground - Micky Mouse, detective stories, dance music perhaps. A mutual dislike, of course, will do as well as a mutual liking." pg 61

On constipation: "This condition is incompatible with health. The symptoms are heavy eyes, skin eruptions and a muddy complexion, and the results are many really serious complaints. Constipation, however, can be cured or at least alleviated, if you are really perservering... A habit should be formed of visiting the lavatory after each meal even if, at first, the visits are often unsatisfactory." pg 211

On Weight, to increase: "Excepting when it has been produced by habitual worry or definite disease, excessive thinness can nearly always be made to disappear with a nourishing diet and a moderately restful life. If you are of the restless worrying type, make every effort to rest and relax for at least an hour every day - in the fresh air if possible - and go to bed in a peaceful frame of mind not later than 10.30 p.m." pg 229

Publisher: Collins, 1947

1 comment:

The Fresh Ingredient said...

Always manage to find a treasure!