Through our studies of the past I have learned that many women were very routine with when they did their wash, when they did their ironing. Many of us have seen those pretty kitchen towels that have the days of the week.
Monday is wash day, Tuesday is ironing, Wednesday is Sewing and Mending, Thursday is Market day, Friday is cleaning and Saturday is Baking. I have read old articles that mention that Friday is Baking day and Saturday is cleaning day. In our family it was Saturday.
We have learned that shopping and calling on people were often done on Thursdays. When we read something such as, " Mrs. Hammond called today". This does not necessarily mean telephoned. It meant that Mrs. Hammond visited today.
I have many very old diaries and one thing that is very clear is that Saturday is most often mentioned for the day of baking but I have read it being on Fridays as well. Baking was done other days but either Friday or Saturday was when the bread and pies, cakes and doughnuts were baked for the new week..
This all varies because it was not set in stone which was the first day of the week. Also for some, Sabbath is on Saturday and some Sabbath is on Sunday. So this would affect which day is Baking Day.
But what is clear is Baking day signals a new week is coming.
In today's newspaper, the year we are studying, 1932, there is a recipe for oatmeal cookies that I will type out to make it more clear to read.
Oatmeal cookies (3 dozen)
3/4 cup fat
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
2 cups oatmeal
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder.
Cream the fat and sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Add rest of ingredients. Drop portions off end of spoon onto greased baking sheets. Flatten and bake 12 minutes in moderate oven.
(moderate is about 350 degrees)
Diary of Sarah, 1932 Saturday
Arose in good time and had the usual early morning tasks. Clipped the asparagus and got it ready for town. Baked several pies and then served dinner. After dinner work. Scrubbed the west porch and pavement and iced the angel food cake. Mopped up the kitchen linoleum. Father brought up and emptied 3 meat jars from the cellar and I cleaned them up. I also swept down the cellar way good. Usual evening tasks.
Since I know Sarah's dairy pretty well, I know that she bakes Cakes, pies and different types of bread every Saturday. I have also mentioned on my blog before I have my Aunt Leona's sweet bread recipe and she made six loaves of sweet bread every Saturday.
It does not matter which day it is, what is the point here is the routine of the household.
In the past cooking at home and eating at the table is what was the normal thing we would see in a family household. But it is difficult to say what normal was because where one lived may mean that every meal, every day would have been eaten at home or possibly eating at a diner. But we are studying 1932 during the great depression.
Here is another Menu of the Day For the week of January 18th 1932
Pork and Noodle Casserole.
Stewed Prunes, Chilled Cooked Corn Cereal
Buttered Graham Toast Coffee
(Milk for the children)
Tomato and Rice Soup Crackers
Peach Sauce Milk
Pork and Noodle Casserole
Oatmeal Cookies Tea
Tomato and Rice Soup for 6
2 cups boiled rice
3 tablespoons chopped celery leaves
3 tablespoons chopped onions
1 teaspoon salt teaspoon paprika
3 cups tomatoes
2 tablespoons fat, melted.
Mix all ingredients except butter. Cover and cook slowly 20 minutes. Add butter and serve hot.
Pork Noodle Casserole
1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder
4 tablespoons fat
1/3 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup celery
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 cups water
2 cups cooked noodles.
Cut pork into 1 inch pieces. Heat fat in frying pan and add and brown pork, onions and celery. Cover rest of ingredients and cook. Cover and cook slowly 25 minutes. Stir frequently.
We also know in the larger towns that there were bakeries. In the smaller towns women would take some of their baked goods and sell them to the market. A couple of my diaries state that candy was made to take to sell in town. The women would sell to small stores in town.
A look in todays paper of January 18th 1932, the movie Delicious is playing at the Houston Theatre.
A list of toiletries in the paper
We are in the Great Depression and we see that the bank of Slocomb is selling off its inventory.
This notice was still running in the newspaper. All signs of trouble with the banks and history tells us what happened.
But by studying the diaries and learning about the families, it seems that the more sensible and sustainable the families were, those that left the pre 1920 years and did not have debt and had remained about the same and not changing their ways through the roaring1920's were more likely to make it through the great depression without complete loss of their home.
This is very important for us to understand.
Charles and I have been doing these history projects for quite awhile now and one of the most important things that we have learned is to not ever live beyond our means. To just not get it if we cannot pay for it.
To try and find some kind of a routine for the home.
We have learned that it always feels right to eat a homemade meal at the table.
Each day is going to go by no matter if the virus is rampant or politics is insane or a bunny rabbit is having a litter of babies.
We are living through some trying times right now and so were our generations before us. They had come out of a world war, a flu pandemic, and where we are studying right now, a great depression.
Because of our studies we have learned to pay attention to what is going on in this real time. This has taught us right in the beginning of our studies that we were going to have to change the way we lived or we were going to be making the same mistakes of the past that some of those did that did not do so well through the great depression.
Our world war 2 studies with rationing taught us to make a complete change because we realized how much we wasted and also that anything can happen at any time.
Starting this week I am trying to be on a better routine. I will be baking this week which might be on a Friday because that would be a better day for me and everything would be cooked for the weekend.
A blog friend said last week, when all the awful that was going on in our capitol I baked a Chicken and completely changed a conversation.
I have said all along that it is very hard to have a bad day when a chicken is baking in the oven or simmering on the stove. The smell is wonderful and the leftover is the making of rich homemade broth.
The simple things, that is what we need to focus on.
Will you be baking this week? Do you know anyone that would enjoy a pie? Do you have anything in your house for a homemade snack? Maybe it is time to try the oatmeal cookies. :)