Monday, October 1, 2012

Book Review: Mrs. Dunwoody's Excellent Instructions for Homekeeping~ Miriam Lukken

This is one of my favorite books I constantly return to read. Mrs. Dunwoody gives advice on everything in homekeeping from cleaning hints, beauty tips, delicious and quick recipes to proper bed making and table etiquette.

This is a wonderful book for young ladies preparing to run their homes and newlyweds who need help running their new homes.
"Mrs. Dunwoody's Instructions was written to provide today's reader with the advice and wisdom typical of these receipt books- practical information often forgotten or not explicitly explained, such as how to car for the sick, which seems to be such commonsense information that not one today thinks to teach others how to do it. Yet clearly it is sound advice worth preserving and passing onto the next generation...We must strive to see the goodness or usefulness in all things, taking nothing for granted."
A few examples of Mrs. Dunwoody's advice:

Language of Flowers:
In day of old, flowers were not given merely as a thing of beauty, but rather as a way of expressing feelings.
Acacia- Friendship
Apple Blossom: You are preferred
Begonia- Steadfast
Bluebell: True and Tender
Clover: Sweetness

The Rat's Last Supper:
Mix equal amounts of powdered cement and flour. Set next to a pan of water. This meal usually does not appeal to dogs and cats.

More Helpful Hints: 

  • Chill candles for several hours before lighting: it will cause fewer drips.
  • Change the color of your fire in the hearth by throwing a handful of salt for yellow flames. To make green flames toss borax on the fire.
  • Coffee Stains: mix the yolk of an egg with a little warm water. Rub on the stain with a sponge. For stains that have been set in, add a few drips of rubbing alcohol to the egg and water. 
  • If you use a clothesline during the winter months, rub your hands with vinegar before going out to hang wet laundry. It will keep your hands from chapping. 
  • Zippers won't stick if you rub them with the edge of a bar of soap. 
  • Use a Knife dipped in boiling water to cut a fresh loaf of bread of to frost a cake. You'll love the results! 
  • Never salt the water you cook corn in. It will toughen the corn! 
  • Don't store potatoes near apples because apples give off ethylene gas, which causes potatoes to spoil.

A Little Common Sense:
"If you suffer some horrible embarrassment which you may laugh about later...go ahead and laugh about it now. For truly, he who can laugh at himself will never cease to be amused."

I highly recommend owning this excellent book of instruction! Written in old fashioned style, Mrs. Dunwoody will make you laugh, spice up your cooking, and save you many homemaking mistakes and give you sound advice that will stay with you forever.

Age Interest: 15-adult


Wiola said...

Interesting. If I understand correctly it's a full-time-job to be a housewife over there in parts of U.S. Do you wash everything by hand over there? Or do you use a washing machine? When it comes to washing up the dishes, do you also do all that by hand, or do you have a dishwasher? What about a drying machine then? Or do you hang everything on a clothesline?
Do you grow your own vegetables, root vegetables and fruits? Do you make your own macaronis from scratch?

How does a "normal" day look like for a housewife (when you only have yourself and a husband)?

Bria said...

Haha. We use a washer and dryer. Though we take advantage of saving on the power bill with clotheslines. We have a dishwasher but also hand wash. (We aren't Amish. :D)

Living on a farm, yes we have gardens and love growing our own, organic food and saving money. But we still buy macaroni. :D

Well I do not have my own home yet so I couldn't tell you from a newly married perspective. It's different for every woman and what season of life she's in or what God has her doing.

Wiola said...

Oh, I would love to have a garden where I could grow lots of organic food! We just have some fruit trees here at home. (My oldest little sister though has her own apartment full of vegetables, herbs and spice plants.) My family gets a lot of meat from hunting, but only half of the family eat meat anyway. It’s cool that you manage to grow your own food. :)

I’m very interested in eco-friendly alternatives. Annie Leonard’s short documentary (The story of stuff) was probably a little wake-up-call for me (Leonard lists all the different amounts of toxic we are exploited to daily). Leonard even points out that breast milk, which is “the most fundamental human act of nurturing” and “should be sacred and safe”, is far from clean and pure anymore, due to all the chemicals in our formula (of course breast milk isn’t more poisonous than the alternatives). We have been exploited to so much toxic daily that the toxic substances are now within the human body. :( That’s a really scary thought.

Thank you for your reply! :)