Learning domesticity in a post-feminist world.

Note: This will be the start of an ongoing series for women on learning domesticity in the post-feminist world.  Older women are encouraged to share their expertise; younger women are encouraged to ask questions.  Men are encouraged to provide feedback on where modern women are lacking and need to improve.  Everyone is welcome to suggest topics.  Each post in this series will conclude with a practical tip.

Growing up as young children in the 1970s, both my husband and I were raised in intact homes where our parents fulfilled traditional sex roles.  Not only were our mothers mostly housewives, but the division of labor in the home tended to follow the typical socially-prescribed roles for men and women: fathers who went to work, mowed the lawns, and did household repairs, and mothers who cooked, cleaned, gardened, and raised the children.  Both parents cherished a warm home life; family and an attention to domesticity were important to both our mothers.

I learned traditionally-feminine skills such as cooking, baking, gardening, canning and making preserves, mending, how to properly clean a house, and how to raise children simply by participating in daily life along side my parents and siblings.  It hadn’t occurred to me until several years ago that many young women today have never experienced this kind of domesticity in the post-feminist world.  Many have grown up in homes where the mothers were gone at work all day and had no time for the art of domesticity.  Many also grew up in homes without their fathers and have never seen complementary sex roles in action.  They have poor home management skills, don’t know how to cook, have never grown herbs or vegetables or picked fruit, and just generally don’t know how to make a house a home.

So, I was quite interested in the most recent post from Ian Ironwood of the Red Pill Room in which he encourages young men to vet a future wife for her domestic abilities.  In The Wife Test: Domesticity, Mr. Ironwood writes:

One of the key components of being a wife is being a homemaker.  That isn’t to say that housework therefore is her responsibility, only that one of the things a man seeks and finds value in when he is looking for his wife is someone with whom he can make a home.  Even in our post-industrial take-out culture a man wants to feel that he’s coming home to his wife, not going to the apartment where he sleeps with his roommate.

Many women these days, thanks to feminism’s dark shadow, have equated domesticity with slavery, for some reason.  They look with disdain on their grandmothers and great-grandmothers who saw value in building a home fit to raise children in.  As women have entered and come to dominate the workforce, they proudly eschew the domestic skills that are their maternal legacy in favor of corporate achievement and “personal fulfillment”.

But a man who is serious about taking a wife wants a wife worth taking.  And a woman who cannot manifest her domesticity is a poor bet for the position, regardless of how hot she is or how impressive her resume is.

What is domesticity?  Simply put, it’s the discipline and art of building and developing a comfortable and attractive home for your family.  It is a task shared between husband and wife, ideally speaking, but just as a husband’s primary duty is to secure the home, the wife’s primary duty is to make it worth securing.

Mr. Ironwood is no traditionalist Christian, which just lends all the more support to the idea that almost all men everywhere from all points on the ideological spectrum prefer to marry women who are actually interested in being traditional wives, not competitors, and who value serving their husbands by creating a comfortable home, even if she is also working outside it.

But what is a young woman raised in this post-feminist world to do?  She quite likely didn’t grow up learning the domestic skills needed to create a home.  To those girls, I would offer the following advice as they cast off their feminist shackles of domestic incompetence: push yourselves to learn new, traditionally-feminine domestic skills regularly; they are traditionally-feminine for a reason, and that reason is that these are things that men like having done but often find rather boring to do themselves.  And why should men do tasks they find boring when they have more important things to do and most women feel quite satisfied by managing home and hearth?  Consider Cail Corishev’s words:

I certainly can clean my house as well as any woman.  I can wash dishes, mop floors, and sweep cobwebs as well as anyone; those tasks aren’t exactly complicated.  I can even take a certain amount of pride in it.  But I can’t enjoy it.  And that’s what I think women have that we men are missing — the ability to be content with such work.  The women I know who have embraced their femininity and the traditional role of wife, mother, and homemaker, really do seem to enjoy it.  That’s not to say washing dishes excites them, or that they never look at a pile of laundry and want to cuss.  But I see them put on an apron and tackle homemaking jobs with a smile — sometimes even a song — that men can’t duplicate.  Not this man, anyway.

That’s why those roles are so important, and why egalitarianism sucks so hard.  If women go off to be half our CEOs, lawyers, and soldiers, lowering productivity and causing havoc in those areas, maybe men can make up the difference by doing a better job than those women would have done in the home.  I doubt that, but even if it were true, it still wouldn’t be acceptable, because neither would be content.  Both would be working against their own natures, making themselves discontented without even knowing why.

Part of my role as an anti-feminist is to encourage other women to do those things that men value in women.  As anti-feminists, serving and pleasing God first and the men in our lives a close second should be our priority.  Our jobs, if we work outside the home, come a distant third.  Therefore, the first practical tip for learning domesticity in the post-feminist world is:

Change your perspective to see the home you share with your husband (or hope to share with your future husband) as your most important sphere and make domesticity your priority.

221 thoughts on “Learning domesticity in a post-feminist world.

  1. alphabetasoup

    First up!! Its really not that hard. Feed him well and screw his brains out and he will give you the world.

  2. sunshinemary Post author

    Just to note:

    I strongly support a husband’s right to direct where and how his wife uses her labor. If he wants her home full-time, that’s where she should be. If he wants her in the work-force part- or full- time, then that is where she belongs. But regardless of whether she is home full time or working full time, a woman’s priority should be the domestic sphere. Even when she works full-time, there is much that she can do to create a warm home.

    For those women who work outside the home, I would like to direct your attention to a site called The Working Home Keeper, where you can find many practical tips for combining domesticity and a job.

  3. Looking Glass

    Spices. Then, from there, Sauces.

    Where a large chunk of Carbs (and, consequently, large butts on Women) came about is the use of Sugar for the most basic of sweeteners. Then, adding even more. It “makes up” for bad cooking, but it adds a lot of Carbs (and thus higher body Fat% & cholesterol) on people. You see this reflected in almost all “American” cooking. (You also see this having crept into most other cultures, as well, that are used to lower quality foods. More Sugar, due to more money, into their base sauces)

    Try to cook non-desserts without Sugar. You’ll find out VERY quickly the value of proper cooking and Spices. It takes a bit of work, but you will find you can do quite a lot with just some proper methodology & pepper. Add in a few other things and you have something good.

    At least be able to make a White Sauce. Seriously.

  4. GKChesterton

    I know why you used the Ironwood quote but if he is a pornographer I’d really rather you didn’t. Strangely it is disturbing in a way that your phalocentric piece wasn’t.

  5. sunshinemary Post author

    @ LG
    Excellent suggestion regarding spices. I’ll probably do a whole post on that. Also, I’ll probably write on growing and drying one’s one herbs.

  6. sunshinemary Post author

    @ GKC
    Shall I remove the note about him being a pornographer? His blog, The Red Pill Room, is not pornography and his site is on most sphere blogrolls, including Dalrock’s.

    Here is what I find interesting: a man who makes his living in a post-sexual revolution way seems to have a better understanding of complementarian sex roles the majority of Christians today.

  7. Lady Virtue

    @ SSM,

    Thank you so much for this series! It’s quite relevant to me personally right now, as I am working to develop myself domestically firstly out of obedience to God and secondly to please my man.

    God bless and have a happy Thanksgiving! :-)

    [ssm: Happy Thanksgiving to your family as well!]

  8. sunshinemary Post author

    Regarding quoting from The Red Pill Room:

    Do you know what kind of advice I find when I visit the majority of big Christian sites? Articles on:

    – how not to make marriage your idol (in other words, how not to value marriage)
    – why being a virgin isn’t really that important
    – the value of Christian feminism
    – women in leadership
    – how unfair it is that women can “use their gifts” as senior pastors

    etc ad nauseum

    Even the complementarians seek to appease feminists.

    Do you know what I find when I visit the site of blogger and porn-producer Ian Ironwood? Tips on how to be a good wife and on the value of traditional sex roles and domesticity.

    Do you know what I find when I visit atheist Athol Kaye’s site? The captain and first officer model of marriage, which is basically what the Bible tells us to do but which you’ll almost never hear Christians talk about.

    Do you know what I find when I visit the site of Rollo Tomassi, whose blog is focused in part on teaching pick up artistry? Well, his last two essays were entirely anti-feminist and pro male/female interdependence:

    This was the original intent of feminine independence (before it became the brand it is today), a separation from the dependency (perceived or actual) of women on men. However, the problem inherent in that separation is that in creating a new, autonomous sex role for women, the innate differences and deficits that the former complementary interdependence with men satisfied had to be compensated for.

    All of the inherent weaknesses of the feminine that were balanced by the masculine’s inherent strengths had to be provided for in order to achieve this new independence from the masculine. I should also point out that in this feminist separation the masculine is also left in a deficit of having its own inherent weaknesses balanced by the compensating strengths of the feminine.

    What the heck is WRONG with Christians? The tax collectors and sinners are doing a better job of following the Bible than we are!

  9. Just Saying

    “My wife views the house as her art/design project”

    I always tell women, that men care about the infrastructure, they don’t care about how it looks, as long as it’s functional. And if he says something needs to stay – he means it so plan accordingly. Had a friend that got a green chair from his Father before he died, and he kept that chair. His wife wanted to remodel, so he told her, “The chair stays – you can reupholster it, but it stays, so choose accordingly.” So she chose something that clashed glaringly with the chair – figuring he would let her get rid of the chair. Needless to say, the woman was gone long before that chair – he’s been married twice – the chair is still in his living room. Don’t know what it is with women thinking that a man doesn’t mean it when he actually cares about something – they are probably used to beta guys.

    So listen to what a man says – if he says something stays – it does. Don’t think he’ll get rid of it if you make it annoying. He may get rid of you. In that case the chair meant more to him than a woman that came along 10 years later. Remember: “You may be important to him, but he has other things he cares about too.” A woman should always remember that he has other concerns. He may want to keep both – so don’t make him choose, or you may not like the choice he makes.

  10. Looking Glass

    @SSM:

    Luke 16. They’ve actually got to live in the World and try to make something useful out of it, for themselves, without God. There’s also another passage ringing in the back of my head from Paul that I can’t quite pin down.

    There’s also Matthew 10:16 NASB
    “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.”

    It’s really the “shrewd[ness]” that’s lacking. As in, Christians now lack Wisdom.

  11. Jana

    This is something me and my friends are struggling with. We’re in our late 20s, engaged or already married (no children yet though), and some of us would like to stay home but we just feel so guilty. We feel guilty because we all have a postgraduate degree, have jobs that we like, and we’re as excited about cleaning as a man would be about mowing the lawn. Not only that, our parents would definitely look at us weird and they expect us to have a job outside of home.

    We also think that we should be doing something that’s actually productive, and there really isn’t that much to do in a home with 2 people, so we’d just be leeching, wasting our time and going crazy from boredom.

    Neither of us had cooking skills beyond making an omelet/mac and cheese, but we can all follow a recipe and create a hearty meal (I just made a delicious 4 course meal this weekend by printing off some recipes).

    Therefore, there’s a lot more going on behind why some women don’t have the domesticity skills that our grandmothers had.

    [ssm: One needn’t quit one’s job in order to cultivate domesticity. It’s entirely possible to work and to be primarily concerned about creating a happy, cozy home for one’s husband and children.]

  12. hurting

    Jana November 26, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Find something productive, like volunteering, to occupy your time, especially until you have children. It’s too easy to let the work fill the hours, and right now, you have more hours than you do work. It’s about creating bandwidth so that when the real work arrives (children), it won’t seem like such a shock to the system. Of course, it will, regardless, but you should prepare nonetheless.

  13. Stingray

    I was planning on doing a post very soon on making homemade apple sauce and canning it. I will make sure to link this when I do. This will be a fantastic series!

  14. bike bubba

    The comment about white sauces reminds me of when my dad, living in college in a co-op (this is before my time), did not know how to make one. So he and his buddies called the operator for assistance, and this being 1964, she knew.

    But seriously, domesticity can be self-taught. I’ve learned most of my basic cooking skills from cookbooks like the Better Homes & Gardens, and have taught myself how to do a lot of home repairs as well with the assistance of the “old guys” at the hardware store. You would be amazed how much one’s elders will teach you.

    [ssm: Agreed. The information is readily available. All it takes is an understanding that domesticity is valuable, a willingness to learn, and some practice.]

  15. Farm Boy

    excited about cleaning as a man would be about mowing the lawn

    I like mowing the lawn. The smell of fresh cut grass… The outdoors…

  16. Farm Boy

    Therefore, there’s a lot more going on behind why some women don’t have the domesticity skills that our grandmothers had.

    I have grad degrees also, but I learned domestic skills from my Mom and guy skills from my Dad from K to 12

    [ssm: Yes, you and I are from the same generation. My husband also learned how to cook and bake from his mother and grandmother. Sadly, it seems like cooking from scratch as a daily habit has gone/is going the way of the dodo bird. This is unsurprising when one considers the fact that so many women are single mothers. If you are a single mother trying to juggle work, children, housework, and budgeting…well, something has to give. Domesticity often is that thing.]

  17. Obliterated

    @Jana,
    Trust me–managing a home is a full-time job. And hurting is right that once kids come, if you don’t have your routine down, it is a shock to the system. I taught myself how to cook exceptionally well while single, and it had been something my husband hugely appreciates and his friends are jealous of. The advice to find volunteer work once you’re done with whatever home tasks you have completed is good. Just take time to become excellent and efficient in the tasks that need to be completed daily, weekly, monthly. It may seem worthless now–but in the future your now-ingrained routines will be lifesavers. I’m still working on getting the housekeeping down. Those tasks are worthwhile–there’s a reason we have janitors and restaurants and fast food joints and accountants–these tasks are important and have value. When you are the one doing them, you save money and add value to your home. I’ve done our taxes every year, I manage our financed, and tryyy to follow flylady.orgs baby steps for the home. Menu planning takes hours (in large part because my husband liked to have me make new or complicated recipes several times a month), grocery shopping and cooking takes up lots of time. Developing a master list or learning how to do big-batch cooking will all be of huge benefit in the future.

  18. hearthie

    Books, books books!

    If we’re talking about learning domesticity, please don’t overlook the fact that there is a tremendous amount of educational material out there. You can choose to teach yourself very nearly anything, if you’ll put in the hours to really learn it.

    Since I’ve been at home with the kids (for 13 years), I have taught myself to:
    – Bake bread from scratch, and went a couple of years baking four loaves/wk
    – Sew generally well enough to make most of my wardrobe.
    – Tailor a jacket, with hair-cloth to stiffen the collars and the whole works
    – Double-dig a garden (I still suck at maintaining a garden)
    – Make bone broth from bones, in the big pot
    – Keep house far better than I did when I was first married (I am not perfect, see “no interest in maintenance”)

    I learned all of that from books and online courses. I get bored and I like to tackle “the next thing I want to learn how to do” as my annual resolution. This year I’m going to teach myself to to make corsets and boned lingerie, which is substantially more practical than the tailored wool jacket since I live in SoCal. LOL.

    Everyone – every.one – should learn new things all the time. Because you can, that’s why.

    Learn or die! :D

    (PS I read Ian too).

    [ssm: Wow, sewing your own lingerie? That’s impressive! I must confess I don’t enjoy sewing. One of my goals is to improve my skills with a needle, but it’s not one I’m looking forward to.]

  19. Jana

    @ Hurting

    That makes no sense. Why would we lose the income from a well paying job just so that we can volunteer, aka work for free?

    @ stingray & bike

    I just made some really great tasting jam this weekend and I know how to make a mean white sauce (the internet is an awesome teaching source!)

    @ Farm boy

    I like a clean house too, but sing while doing it? Great joke!

    And babies–in a few years.

  20. Velvet

    domesticity can be self-taught.

    Yes, it certainly can, and in this particular day I think it might be easier to learn from scratch rather than trying to undo the very damaged Course in (in)Hospitality most young women receive. I would caution young wives against Martha Syndrome. Stewart, not Bible, though both apply. You are not her, and she is not homemaking. That is not a criticism of her, either. She’s good, really good, but she’s got her job to do and you have your own.

    It is not sinful to be gifted and show it in the area of domesticity, but I’ve seen (and worked for, Lord save me) many women who have utterly forgotten what the purpose behind domestic arts actually is. It is not a 12 week course in origami so you can invest a grand in Japanese paper and never learn to fold so much as a crane, or order hand painted wall paper from France that you haven’t a suitable room in which to hang it because of all the substandard crap you ordered from Pottery Fail.

    Quality, first and always – basics first, then flourish. Applies to marriage, childrearing, home educating, cooking, cleaning, decoration, sewing, gardening – all of it.

  21. Looking Glass

    @Jana:

    I’ll be nice and not needle you hard for not getting the idea of actual “personal investment”, as the concept really is foreign to most of society. However, I will query: if you’re both working, do you have all of you Debt (minus house) paid off? 3-6 months worth of savings for actual emergencies? (That’s probably 20k+ for your family)

    If not, get cracking on getting your Debt obliterated before having kids. If you’re going to wait, the Stuff you are currently buying is going to end up being mostly worthless anyway.

    (Yes, “needle” was a pun. :) )

  22. Stg58/Animal Mother

    GK Chesterton,

    You are thinking of Ian IRONwood. Not Underwood.

    [ssm: Oopsie, that was my mistake. Even though I know his name is Ian Ironwood, for some reason I had Underwood in my head and wrote his name as such. I’ve fixed it in the OP now.]

  23. Jana

    I think what people on this forum don’t get is that domesticity is not exactly valued in society. Sure making jam/white sauce/sewing/cooking/baking is great, but it’s only great as long as you have a paying job, as that’s what counts as being productive, otherwise it’s just a hobby and women should do something more useful with their time.

  24. Stg58/Animal Mother

    Jana,

    Have those babies now! You will wonder how you ever lived without them. Also, if you have babies now when your sons are in high school and feeling their oats your husband will be able to physically discipline them if needed.

  25. Velvet

    when your sons are in high school and feeling their oats your husband will be able to physically discipline them if needed.

    I don’t know why but that really made me laugh. It’s true, though. You’re not going to be able to chase them down in your Hoveround. Babies, early and often, I second that!

  26. Jana

    @ Animal mother

    Yeah, the babies topic is kinda touchy. I wanted them yesterday, but he wants to wait a few years until we’re more financially stable.

  27. feeriker

    What the heck is WRONG with Christians? The tax collectors and sinners are doing a better job of following the Bible than we are!

    Indeed. Another sign of the end times.

    EXCELLENT article, SSM. Although I fear that this another exercise in “preaching to the choir,” if even one female lurker of the feminist persuasion is enticed into exploring the ground in more depth, it will have been worth every minute of the effort you put into writing it.

    Oh, and ladies, read this again, and again, and AGAIN, as many times as you have to in order for the message to sink in. It cannot be over-emphasized, particularly the second sentence:

    [O]ne of the things a man seeks and finds value in when he is looking for his wife is someone with whom he can make a home. Even in our post-industrial take-out culture a man wants to feel that he’s coming home to his wife, not going to the apartment where he sleeps with his roommate.

  28. Stingray

    I think what people on this forum don’t get is that domesticity is not exactly valued in society.

    No, we get that. We get it loud and clear as many of us are questioned on it often. We simply refuse to care what society values and choose to stand by what we value instead. It’s not always easy but our husbands, children, family and ourselves are much better for it.

    What kind of jam did you make? Love, love, love jam but my kids only really like strawberry while I love the mixtures, I’m the only one.

  29. Stg58/Animal Mother

    Don’t wait that long. It’s a moving target. You will never satisfy that requirement. My little boys can melt this old hunk of steel. They’ll do the same for you and your husband.

  30. Farm Boy

    lose the income from a well paying job

    And what do you need all that the money for?

    We survived on my Dad’s modest income. And we were happy

    [ssm: BTW, did you get my email? I have sent you what you requested.]

  31. Velvet

    I think what people on this forum don’t get is that domesticity is not exactly valued in society. Sure making jam/white sauce/sewing/cooking/baking is great, but it’s only great as long as you have a paying job, as that’s what counts as being productive, otherwise it’s just a hobby and women should do something more useful with their time.

    Yes, domesticity has been devalued, but this is the place people DO truly understand that. We’re willing to pay a price, including scoffs and strange looks, for returning it to it’s rightful place. Much of what women did in the traditional dynamic was distorted during the Victorian era, so there is understandable resistance to the “angel of the house” model that is the sahw/m meme. Women have always worked and earned money for their households, it just wasn’t a nine to five feminist driven grind to bestow questionable “productivity” upon the world by way of social work and school teaching.

  32. Jenny

    Yay! Fab idea for a blog series!

    I like all the homey domestic stuff but I am not very skilled at it! :) I enjoy completing that sort of task. Baking and gardening and cleaning! Having a proper plan is my weakness – I tend to jump from task to task with no real idea of what order I should do them in or how best to organise my time. I work full time and am a part time carer too so I really need to figure out good time management! x

  33. feeriker

    Stingray said No, we get that [society does not value domesticity]. We get it loud and clear as many of us are questioned on it often. We simply refuse to not care what society values and choose to stand by what we value instead. It’s not always easy but our husbands, children, family and ourselves are much better for it.

    THIS, to the power of one hundred-thousand.

    To go back to what SSM asked upthread (“what the heck is wrong with Christians?”), the fact that too many of those who call themselves Christians place a premium on temporal society’s values over God’s values is why we’re in the chaotic state we’re in now.

  34. Stingray

    Jana,

    Oooh, I’ve never tried that and it sounds wonderful.

    Animal Mother,

    The only chum I’m aware of is fish, so you’re going to have to explain that one for me.

  35. Farm Boy

    No, we get that society does not value domesticity

    And why, pray tell, is that true?

    Should it be true?

    Or is it all a big con?

  36. Stingray

    Animal Mother,

    Heh, I wondered that but wasn’t sure if there was a definition of chum I was unaware of. That ignorance saved my gag reflex, thank goodness. ;)

  37. Jana

    @ Farm boy

    Well what do people need money for? We don’t exactly need my income, but we definitely want it. He really cares about financial stability, so knowing that we have no debt and that we have money put away allows him (and me) to sleep well at night.

    @ Animal mother

    I don’t want to wait that long, but I’m hoping for an accident ;)

    @ Stingray

    It’s divine, the only jam I eat, and it’s great on crepes.

  38. sunshinemary Post author

    Ladies, if you do any posts on your own sites that would fit with the theme of learning domesticity, would you kindly drop a link here? This will be an ongoing series, and we could think of it like a group project of sorts. If all the posts are linked together, that might be a nice resource for women.

  39. tbc

    I think what people on this forum don’t get is that domesticity is not exactly valued in society.

    And therein lies the key issue… because frankly it isn’t about what is valued in society, but rather what is valued by the Lord and by your husband. There are lots of men who will tell you that they don’t care about these things and mostly that’s because they’ve been told that they shouldn’t care about such things and also because they never experienced them. But what you will find on SSM’s blog and other similar sites is men saying aloud what they actually value — and it ain’t moxie!

    Sure I’m glad my wife has a doctoral degree and can discuss high level theology and missiology and is bi-lingual and has traveled the world in missions, led and trained people in many different contexts. I love that about her. It is one of the awesome things that brings us together. But those things don’t make a home for me and our children. What makes it ‘home’ is that she cares enough to learn how to make biscuits from scratch to feed this southern boys soul (even though my biscuit making skills are still superior to hers!).

    Speaking of which SSM, perhaps one of your domesticity posts can be on the blessings of quick breads — its such a simple skill that many modern women never learned. How to whip up a batch of biscuits or yeast rolls, etc., from scratch is one of those things that has a high multiplier effect — it can amplify limited domestic skills and easily impress (something that the vanity of women really does crave), while also providing an easy ‘go to’ for those busy working women who may not have time for more elaborate baking schemes.

  40. hearthie

    I can make a blog of learning-to-sew links and resources if you like?

    [ssm: Yes, please. I am not good at sewing and don’t like doing it, but basic sewing skills are very good to have.]

  41. Jana

    While we’re on the topic of asking for recipes, I would love love love a recipe for pizza dough. I’ve tried so many and they all end up tasting like bread :(

  42. Obliterated

    I second the getting out of debt, savings too. I hope YOU see value in cooking, cleaning, mending/sewing, and managing finances. If not, then ask them to promptly fire the guy/gal that cleans the bathrooms at your workplace. Seriously. People DO value these things. They’re just not glamorous, noticeable tasks, so we don’t think about them until we lose them. People value clean sheets and laundry and well-made clothing. They just take it for granted.
    I am so glad I heeded God three years before I married and got out of almost all if my debt. Once we married, we paid off the rest of my loans in 9 months. The way we live would be impossible now if we hadn’t done that.

  43. Cautiously Pessimistic

    That kids aren’t taught this stuff by their parents is a real tragedy. I was also raised in the 70’s/80’s, but my folks were early adopters of feminism. The brief visits with my grandparents were all the exposure I had to traditional sex roles.

    The reason I think this is so damaging is that while I can learn a lot of this stuff from books/classes, I don’t have any childhood memories to give me an appreciation or anchor for these tasks. I have no memories of my dad maintaining the house or mowing the lawn or making repairs. He never took me aside and explained what men needed to know or be capable of. Etc.

    I’ve been playing catch up for a few years now, but it’s very much hit and miss, since I have no frame of reference apart from conflicting frames in various books or blog sites. And I get no joy or sense of continuity by doing the things a man should be doing, as my own upbringing had none of those things either.

    Meh. I count myself lucky to have had my father in the house. I can’t help but wonder, though, what it would have been like to have been raised to know these things.

  44. Zach Frey

    @Jana,

    We also think that we should be doing something that’s actually productive…

    See, that in a nutshell is the problem. You’ve bought into the notion that work isn’t “productive” unless it’s done for wages and to benefit a corporate entity.

    You are therefore discounting work that is done for the benefit of your household and family, and that is not paid directly in cash.

    Men are also trained in this mentality, but it’s much worse for women. All of the traditionally feminine skills have been devalued to the point of scorn. It’s an exceptional woman who can break that programming these days and understand that the most productive thing a woman (or a man, for that matter) can do is to build up their home and their family.

    Especially as children come, the mother’s economic contribution to the home is huge. You have to look at more than the direct income that you can make — you need to look at all the costs you and your family will incur because you are not at home. Look beyond the obvious of childcare, and make sure to add wardrobe that is only to support the job, meals eaten out or from pre-made rather than scratch because “we don’t have the time to cook,” cost of commute, etc. These can easily overwhelm an entry-level job’s pay. In which case, you and your husband are in effect subsidizing your labor so that you can help some company’s bottom line, rather than your own. Meanwhile, your children are growing up without you. It’s generally a bad trade.

    Don’t let your anticipation of your family’s disapproval or false guilt feelings steer you wrong here. Also don’t underestimate the ability of a well-lived example to win them over in time.

    You have a fantastic opportunity now, before there are children, to “skill up” in these matters before the added pressure and chaos of a baby. You’ll be thankful later if you don’t waste it. This is regardless of whether you’re working outside the home or not at this point. Obviously, that is a decision that should be made with your husband. Hopefully, he recognizes the priority of the home. Have you talked with him about this?

    At any rate, I would certainly encourage you to not think of time spent improving your homemaking (vs. working outside the home) as “wasted” time. It’s an investment in the happiness and well-being of your family which will pay back over the rest of your lives. How can that be a waste?

    May God bless you and your friends’ marriages. I hope this may be of some help.

    peace,
    Zach

    [ssm: What excellent points you have made here!]

  45. sunshinemary Post author

    Velvet:

    Yes, it certainly can, and in this particular day I think it might be easier to learn from scratch rather than trying to undo the very damaged Course in (in)Hospitality most young women receive. I would caution young wives against Martha Syndrome. Stewart, not Bible, though both apply. You are not her, and she is not homemaking. That is not a criticism of her, either. She’s good, really good, but she’s got her job to do and you have your own.

    It is not sinful to be gifted and show it in the area of domesticity, but I’ve seen (and worked for, Lord save me) many women who have utterly forgotten what the purpose behind domestic arts actually is. It is not a 12 week course in origami so you can invest a grand in Japanese paper and never learn to fold so much as a crane, or order hand painted wall paper from France that you haven’t a suitable room in which to hang it because of all the substandard crap you ordered from Pottery Fail.

    Quality, first and always – basics first, then flourish. Applies to marriage, childrearing, home educating, cooking, cleaning, decoration, sewing, gardening – all of it.

    Ladies, go back and read Velvet’s comment again.

    My problem with Martha Stewart is that it’s all difficult, fussy, and expensive. Also, her recipes are a ton of work for a less-than-stellar result, in my opinion. This is NOT what domesticity is.

    What we are about here are good, wholesome, traditional skills. It’s okay to add a little fluffiness once in a while of course (I’ll be showing you how to make some cutesy-pie Thanksgiving cupcakes tomorrow), but fluffiness isn’t really skill.

    Laura Wood wrote about this recently. One of her readers wrote:

    Reading the article by Janet Benton made me think about the explosive popularity of homemaking blogs in recent years. It took me by surprise. I never would have guessed that there are millions of women out there who love cooking and handicrafts, and blog about sewing aprons out of vintage handkerchiefs or making rugelach. Sites like Pinterest and Foodgawker give you an idea of the magnitude of this phenomenon. The software tutorial site lynda.com even has a tutorial showing you how to set up your own food blog.
    […].
    If feminism’s goal was to snuff out women’s love of domestic activities, it has plainly not succeeded. At the same time, I sense that the legions of blogging homemakers are not a counterweight to feminism. Laura referred to homemaking as an “invisible anchor that holds all in place.” If women in my mother’s and grandmothers’ generation had had Internet technology available to them, I can’t picture them producing anything like these blogs.

    And Mrs. Wood replied:

    The Internet offers lots of useful ideas and instructions for homemaking. It’s wonderful to have ideals to aspire too. But, it depends on how this stuff is used. Generally, I think if imagery makes a woman very excited or if a blog makes her envious, she should stay away from it. Of course, if she finds images of herself especially stimulating, well, it goes without saying, she has a problem.

    I define pornography for women as indulgent and highly stimulating images of domestic perfection. The Internet offers an unprecedented amount of feminine pornography. Half an hour of looking at an interior decorating magazine or website can make a woman positively angry at the state of her own home. It can also stultify creativity because the important thing with decorating is to work with what you have, to examine it closely, to understand what it is and then figure out how it can be beautified. One can also get a lot done in the time it takes to look at photos of other people’s ideas.

    Imagery in magazines, books or on the Internet can lead a woman to care excessively for appearances and to become enslaved to unrealistic standards.

  46. tbc

    interestingly, my mother is the one who mowed the lawn in our household. It was the one odd deviation from their usual traditionally defined roles. I think I remember my dad mowing the lawn once in my life.

  47. Maeve

    Heh – my daughters “CAN” clean a house and they do occasionally cook – problem is they have uber-Type-A Mama who can’t seem to stop (trying to) doing it all herself – doesn’t help them, I realize, but very hard for me to change my habits. And I’m still trying to figure out how to functionally clean my entire house weekly. I actually started my blog as a sort of shaming device to motivate myself; clearly I’m not nearly as ashamed as I should be.

    I will recommend the website Artisan Bread in Five for some of the best homemade bread you can ever make; it’s completely foolproof and the dough lasts up to two weeks in the fridge so you can have fresh bread every night if you’re so inclined (I am so inclined, but am trying to restrain myself). The actual link for the original recipe is kind of buried in their site, but do look around – you won’t be disappointed.

    [ssm: I know what you mean, Maeve, about not giving your girls the space to practice their domestic skills. I’ve been trying to do a better job at that over the past year, too. I’ve turned over a lot of the cooking to the elder girls so that they can get the practice they need.]

  48. Jenny

    “The Domestic Goddess adds feminine touches to her homemaking – gingham curtains, a basket of fruit, soft pillows, a cozy rug at the door, flowers, a row of plates above a cross beam, cheerful wallpaper – to give a homey feeling to the house. She adds feminine touches to her meals – cheerful tablecloths, pretty dishes and delicious aromas.”

    The Fascinating Girl by Helen Andelin. x

  49. Zach Frey

    There are lots of men who will tell you that they don’t care about these things and mostly that’s because they’ve been told that they shouldn’t care about such things and also because they never experienced them.

    +1 this

    I am guessing this is going to be worse among the twenty-somethings. That many more decades of indoctrination that it’s a sign of horrible, knuckle-dragging Neanderthal misogyny to value homemaking in a woman has to have some effect. (See the screeching about the “300 sandwiches” dare for evidence!)

    So, “nice guys” know what the script says they’re supposed to say on this topic to keep their modern woman’s head from exploding. :)

    What they really think, deep down… they may not even have allowed themselves to realize. Or dare to imagine.

    peace,
    Zach

  50. bike bubba

    Jana, can’t help you with the pizza dough, as the best recipes I know are basically a slack baguette dough that can be thrown. Peter Reinhart’s “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” has some good recipes–the trick is that you let it rise in the fridge. that allows it to age better. And then you bake at 550F or higher.

    And regarding the question of whether to work outside the home, keep in mind that your income is the second income. So after you have kids, you take off the first 40% or so for income tax, the next 10% for tithe, then daycare, additional car costs, additional clothing costs, additional eating out, and more. When my wife and I calculated it about 15 years back, we figured out her net from a gross income of about $30k annually would be about a buck an hour. Even now, your net is probably only about 40% of your income at best when you view your husband’s income as the primary.

    Another way of viewing it is that if you put your love into your kids-to-come when they’re young, they’ll be a lot more likely to care for you when the Canadian equivalents of Medicare and Social Security collapse–and actuarially, this is exactly what will happen. It’s a question of when, not if. So you’d not be working for nothing, but rather for the chance NOT to be euthanized when you become inconvenient.

    (sorry to be so blunt, but these are the actuarial realities here)

  51. alphabetasoup

    Actually Mary there is some encouragement to be found

    Culturally speaking a good rule of thumb is that the church lags behind tthesevular world by about 20 years. While that is not all good news, I think it is here.

    What were seeing is the broader culture waking up to the vapidity of feminism and is looking for ways out. The church got a later start and is just at a different stage in the game.

    That is why blogs such as this are encouraging. When the church comes around, you will provide a safe place to land.

  52. feeriker

    My problem with Martha Stewart is that it’s all difficult, fussy, and expensive. Also, her recipes are a ton of work for a less-than-stellar result, in my opinion. This is NOT what domesticity is.

    You’re being too kind to Martha where her recipes are concerned. They flat-out suck (at least the few that my wife and I were adventurous enough to try did). I get the impression that a lot of people have discovered this inconvenient (for Martha) fact, as I haven’t noticed Martha pushing as many of them as she once did. Maybe she’s decided that interior decorating is more her speed than is the kitchen.

    But your point is well taken: being a mistress (or master) in the kitchen DOES NOT have to be difficult, fussy, or expensive; in fact, it shouldn’t be. If it is, you’re trying too hard or going about it all wrong. Being a mistress/master of the kitchen means being able to work magic with the few simple, inexpensive ingredients that you have on hand. This, in turn, really just boils down to two things: 1) having a very basic knowledge of basic food ingredients, to include herbs and spices, and 2) getting creative with these (hint: this is always going to be trial-and-error process for the novice, but it’s also a lot of fun).

    Mom started both me and my brother off early in the kitchen. When I turned ten, Mom said “you’re going to have to learn to do this for yourself someday, either because you might marry a women who can’t cook (Mom must have seen the writing on the wall with the rise of second-wave feminism) or because you’ll be living on your own for a while, so let’s start now.” From that point on, my brother and I, on alternating weeks, would be responsible for preparing one dinner on our own on one night of each week. One of the best things Mom ever did for both of us God bless her.

    For all of her many glaring faults as a mother (not least among them the fact that my dogs are both better cooks than she is), my mother-in-law did the same thing to my wife when she was the same age, with STUNNING results, which my wife in turn passed on to our daughter in the form of domesticity training.

    Take heart, ladies. It’s not rocket science, and it will pay BIG dividends.

  53. Velvet

    My problem with Martha Stewart is that it’s all difficult, fussy, and expensive. Also, her recipes are a ton of work for a less-than-stellar result, in my opinion. This is NOT what domesticity is.

    I don’t find her process all that difficult, but I do find her severely restrained style evidence of her lack of being regularly sexed up. Crude (sorries!) but true. Frustrated gay male designers are frequently the same way. She is technically quite skilled, she’s no hack, but my point is that she is NOT homemaking. She’s giving a bit of an elitist master class that has no business on most women’s radars. It’s an advanced technical journal, not a survey. Why it reads as life-porn to some women is beyond me. She’s married to her work, nothing and no one else. As we’ve discussed before, excellence comes at a cost, and demands a choice.

  54. The Woman Margery

    @Jana: “I think what people on this forum don’t get is that domesticity is not exactly valued in society. “

    This is changing. Enough so that people are taking notice.

    re: waiting to have children- DON’T. Waiting for your finances to catch up is such a bad idea. Your biology doesn’t wait and kids are only as expensive as you make them. I have had a post sitting in draft for a long time about this but I will nutshell it here- we were teen parents and had 5 kids a few weeks after I turned 24. We did all of this without being on welfare and I stayed home after #2 was born. I’m betting anything you are far more financially “stable” than we were and perhaps even are now. The thing is that people are obsessed with stuff. Kids don’t need that much stuff, they really don’t. It’s just another lie we’re told.

    [ssm: +1]

  55. feeriker

    @Jana:

    I have a recipe for perfect pizza dough that came out of an issue of Cooking Light magazine 22 years ago that was dedicated entirely to pizza and pizza dough. I’ll have to find it (I still have a collection of all the back issues), but I’ll post it as soon as I do.

  56. Frank

    Even though the topic doesn’t really apply to me I love seeing posts like this. Keep up the good work.

    I’ll probably be busy for the week but just wanted to wish everyone here a Happy Thanksgiving in advance. May your food be delicious and bountiful, and the annoying godless relatives you might have to entertain be far and few.

    [ssm: Happy Thanksgiving, Frank!]

  57. bike bubba

    Regarding Martha Stewart, you need to remember only one thing.

    She’s single by choice, and thus her homemaking is oriented around a completely different world than is inhabited by married folk. You might as well take your domestic direction from the hockey fan who’s trying to figure out how to keep the extra beer from freezing on the back porch. (real contest from a Canadian brewery, BTW)

    No offense intended to single hockey fans, but it’s just a different world.

  58. songtwoeleven

    @Jana: you say you are hoping for an “accident” (baby)?

    I am hoping this is an attempt at a joke.

    This is a recipe for absolute disaster.

    On another note: financial “stability” is different than unrealistic expectations pertaining to one’s “needs”. Yes, one needs a stable income and some savings, but often, modern women’s (and men’s) expectations of what is actually necessary to successfully have a comfortable home and raise children is exceedingly skewed. (re: articles that say it takes over a half a million to raise ONE child to age 18).

  59. The Woman Margery

    This is all part of the reason I started GBG. (BTW, If anyone would like to contribute some more domestic leaning stuff over there that’d be fantastic!)

    I am a self-taught when it comes to domesticity (and still learning). Hearthie is right about books but there is also so much to learn online for free. I have been meaning to get to this on GBG; sharing my free resources for how I learned domestic skills from knitting to getting stains out and everything in between. It’s all a matter of getting the time to sit down and get it done. Perhaps after the Thanksgiving.

    What encouraged me to be better domestically was reframing it as my job. Because it is, in fact. my job. Women, take pride in it like you would any employment. Do your absolute best, above and beyond, and heed your boss. Your home and your children are your portfolio and your work of art, they are living representations of you. They speak to your character and your abilities. Never ever forget that. If you are single this counts even more as any potential mate worth anything will pay close attention to how you value these things.

  60. The Woman Margery

    We can’t overlook that domesticity is also incredibly liberating. One way we have been robbed of our liberty is that we have been, essentially, handicapped in self-sufficiency. We rely on others to do everything for us from cooking our meals (TV dinners and drive-thrus, namely) to dealing with small plumbing incidents. We have no power over our lives if we don’t know how to fend for ourselves, it’s really that simple.

    I’m not the first to think of this, of course. Radical Homemakers is actually a thing (though these folks in particular are trying to be feminist about it all), more and more people are realizing that we live in a spoiled and wholly unsustainable society that barely knows how to wipe it’s own bum. I have a bunch of conspiracy theories about this, naturally, none fully formed enough to have me certain of one thing or another but the fact still is that we have lost so very much in relying on things instead of ourselves.

  61. arid2385

    Reblogged this on Esprit and commented:
    Sunshine Mary has started a new series about learning the art of domesticity for the contemporary woman. I say “for the contemporary woman” because, as she points out, many women today did not grow up seeing a model of domestic life. “Domestic life” is more than just having a house and a place to eat, sleep and store your possessions. Domestic life is about building a *home*, a place of harmonious relationships, peace, and nurture.

    Two points in her post stood out to me: 1) The argument that women *like* housework in a way that men generally don’t, and 2) That even if men can do housework just as well as women, and women work outside of the home just as well as men, that neither would be as content as they would be if they switched roles. I think both points are golden, and both likely to draw the ire of many a woman who loves her job and hates household chores. As a woman who both enjoys her job quite a lot and also hates chores, I am nevertheless 100% in agreement with Sunshine Mary on these two points. Here’s why:

    1) The significance of housework for men and women is not about the specific tasks themselves. Think about men being handy or taking care of the yardwork. My father, for instance, has spent years gradually improving his house. He takes great pains to ensure that everything is in proper working order and continually thinks of ways that it can be improved to be more functional. The house really has gotten better and better over the years. Even though the amount of attention he gives to the house might suggest to some that he likes handyman tasks, I’d argue that it’s not about the tasks themselves—it’s really about the pride that he takes in having a well-maintained, well-functioning house, which he views as a refleciton of himself. Many of us have probably had that one neighbor who is meticulous about his lawn—the seeding, fertilizing, weeding, edging, the landscaping. He seems to always be mowing the grass, planting a shrub, or building a retaining wall. Does this indicate that these men have an abiding love of horticulture? Perhaps they do, but likely they do not. Rather, they care for their lawns in such a way because they know that their houses are a reflection on them, and the outside of the house is the first thing people will see. They want it to look as good as possible and to make a positive impression. I wonder if it’s fair to say that a man who does not take pride in his house is not particularly invested in it (I would love comments about that).

    Now, when it comes to women and other tasks such as laundry, cooking and cleaning, I would argue a similar point: It’s not necessarily that women like folding clothes or vacuuming carpets, and maybe not even cooking (though many find that enjoyable in itself). Rather, tackling those tasks with energy is a means to a deeper sense of satisfaction—the satisfaction that comes from having a warm, comfortable home where people feel cared for. No one feels comfortable and cared for when there’s nothing to eat in the kitchen, there’s hair in the bathtub, and they’ve run out of clean underwear. And notice that a warm and comfortable home is not necessarily a spotless home. Some people are so particular about things being just so that they actually make the living space uncomfortable for others. Such traits are about control, not caring. Homemaking is really about focusing on the things that meet the needs of household members.

    2) I mentioned that I hated household chores and like my job. So how could I agree that even if men and women switched traditional roles successfully, that neither would be as content? When I say that I dislike chores, I mean that oftentimes, I resent the time it takes to tend to such things that are really so basic when I could be spending time on professional development, writing, reading, singing, at the gym, with friends, etc. I think that many women rationalize the same way. But regardless of how much I wish I could just snap my fingers and everything fall magically into place, I know it won’t; and I also know that if it’s left undone, I will never have peace of mind. I could be accomplishing great things for my employer, traveling to interesting places, and having a great time socializing. But more than anything else, the state of my home, the warmth, comfort, and beauty I’m able to find there has more of an impact on my sense of security and contentment in life than any of those other things. This is not about saying that either women like being at home or they like working outside the home; but rather it’s about order of importance. Home is first is a woman’s heart.

    Moreover, studies show that even when men and women have embraced feminist ideas of sameness (under the guise of equality)—most notably when the wife works and the husband stays home with the children—it often adds stress that cannot simply be explained away by societal expectations. Just like I shared above, even when the women have careers, supportive husbands, and know that their children are being taken care of by a caring parent, they remain preoccupied with Home. Men who work and have stay at home wives don’t come home and continue to worry about whether things have been done right while they were gone; but women do. And not only do they remain preoccupied with how things are going at home while they’re away, they also secretly (or not so secretly) tend to see their husbands as less deserving of their respect since they are the breadwinners. But guess what? Men with stay at home wives don’t lose respect for them because of that fact, if they ever deeply respected them at all. If a woman has been fortunate enough and had the good sense to marry a man that is a provider, he will have greater respect for her dedication to their home. Many women who have chosen to stay at home have remarked how much less stressful home life is; but when the men stay at home—even willingly—stress increases. This article from the New York Magazine paints a pretty clear picture: http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/features/n_9495/

    There will always be people who read perspectives like mine and begin to point out all the exceptions and special situations that they know of, complete with detailed anecdotes. But I would simply point out a helpful maxim—the exception proves the rule.

    Peace.

  62. The Woman Margery

    @songtwoeleven: “On another note: financial “stability” is different than unrealistic expectations pertaining to one’s “needs”. Yes, one needs a stable income and some savings, but often, modern women’s (and men’s) expectations of what is actually necessary to successfully have a comfortable home and raise children is exceedingly skewed.”

    This is exactly what I was trying to get at upthread. Many of my generation are using money as an excuse not to have children. This is incredibly upsetting to me because so many are heartbroken over the whole thing “I’d like to have a baby but we can’t afford it” said by a couple living in a nice enough place with a running vehicle and stable employment. The only thing that is stopping them is the false sense that they “need” things they don’t actually need. What it comes down to is that people are trying to sell us something. That message is so ingrained in us that we can’t separate fact from fiction anymore.

  63. sunshinemary Post author

    @ Margery

    Yes, I’m right there with you on the learned helplessness thing.

    The deal is this: it’s not really cheaper to make one’s own jam. In fact, it might be more expensive in the beginning as one acquires all the needed tools.

    It might not be cheaper to make your own laundry soap. It might not be cheaper to do your own sewing. But the reason I encourage women to learn these skills anyway isn’t to save money in the short-term. There are actually a number of good reasons, but here are two:

    1. These skills are being lost.
    2. What if all the crap we rely on suddenly became unavailable? Or unaffordable? Don’t wait to learn to make your own products until after store-bought goods are not available. Learn now while it’s not an emergency situation.

  64. Pingback: Reflection on Sunshine Mary’s “Learning Domesticity in a Post-Feminist World” | Esprit

  65. hearthie

    Post is sch for Friday on TBL. Margery – feel free to steal it for GBG.

    I will echo the “just make them cook things” sentiment, although I need to put it into practice more often. I started cooking at 10 – at that point, just “put this dish in the oven at 4pm on 350, and make a salad and set the table”… but I did that 4-5 nights a week until I left home for college. I can cook any amount of quick, easy stuff, and do it well. I’ve always wondered why cooking has to be so fussy (or so terrible). Get decent ingredients, don’t mess them up, eat. -shrug-

  66. The Woman Margery

    @SSM: “What if all the crap we rely on suddenly became unavailable? Or unaffordable? Don’t wait to learn to make your own products until after store-bought goods are not available. Learn now while it’s not an emergency situation.”

    Absolutely this. It’s why I am so eager to learn dutch oven cooking and how to fire a gun (among other things).

    The uncomfortable truth of it all is that we are simply a power outage away from being kicked back a few centuries. And where will gender fluidity, veganism, and the glass ceiling be then? Spoilers: gone.

    [ssm: Yes, I’m in complete agreement with you. I’ve only been shooting for a couple of years myself. I was scared to learn, but I’m glad that I have and recommend that you learn as soon as possible.]

  67. Maeve

    “2. What if all the crap we rely on suddenly became unavailable? Or unaffordable? Don’t wait to learn to make your own products until after store-bought goods are not available. Learn now while it’s not an emergency situation.”

    I had not really thought about this, but it’s an excellent point.

  68. Escoffier

    The key to pizza dough is Italian “00” flour, also known as Naples pizzeria flour, which can be hard to find, depending on where you are. In New York it’s even a little hard to find but there are enough Italian markets that it’s available.

    Pasta also comes out much better with 00 flour.

  69. anonymous_ng

    Recently, I was browsing through the online girl catalog(OKStupid) and I found that virtually all of the available models didn’t seem worth the effort it would take to try and meet them. There was one woman however who seemed different and was almost intriguing enough to get me to take action and finish up my online dating profile so that I could contact her.

    When I mentioned this to a woman friend, she asked what was different about that woman versus the others. As I thought about it, I realized that in addition to being originally from a South Central European country, she seemed quite comfortable with being feminine, and embracing domesticity as half of her profile pictures were of her in a dress in the kitchen.

    That’s a long winded way of saying that yes, men do value femininity and domesticity. And, long hair.

  70. Maeve

    I was going to add that over on the victorygirlsblog (yes, that’s the name of the website), there was a cool post about putting together an emergency pack that sort of got me thinking about what would I do if I needed to leave in a hurry (and I live in hurricane alley so you’d think this sort of thing would cross my mind on occasion) – anyway, your point, SSM, about having skills to produce things you need if they become unavailable made me think of the post.

  71. The Woman Margery

    @Maeve, check out the LDS websites about preparedness. I can’t quite remember where but I know that they have official sites with info and also families have blogs about it. I got bit by the preparedness bug when I was young because of the LDS church’s teachings on it and even though I am now no longer Mormon I still have that mindset with me as do many of my ex-Mormon friends. I suggest constructing a 72 hour kit with food and clothes and what not first and then working on building up a bigger supply. Make a game plan, have your kit where you can grab it and run, set a meeting place just in case you get separated, etc.

    This is all over the place. I really should just make a big post about it on GBG. Maybe a series. So much to do, so little time!

  72. Recluse

    SSM, found your website about a week or so go ago along with Dalrock and few others and have been reading through some stuff of these sites and find it fascinating. I really like this post though. I’m 30, male, never married and currently live in a small apartment while trying payoff my only existing debt (college loans that I’m making double payments on and should be gone in about 2.5 years at most) as well as trying to save for a down payment on a small house as I hate renting. I really think the basic gist of your post is true for both men and women. Women have lost the domestic skills that their grandmothers had (cooking, cleaning, sadly even childrearing it seems) but men have lost much of the skills our grandfathers had (household maintenance, repair, etc.).

    As I said I’m wanting to buy a house, hopefully will have the ability in about 2-3 years if I can make things work, and I’ve actually thought it would be nice if the house needed some work. Buy home repair and maintenance books, watch instruction videos online, talk to guys I know who do have some of those skills and in the process actually learn how to keep up a house from the traditional male side of things.

    I would love to find a wife that would come along side and take up the traditionally woman’s side of keeping a house as you describe. I am however sadly not overly hopeful. I do enjoy cooking, though I don’t do much due in part to the constraints of my kitchen and my long hours and 2nd shift work schedule however right out of school I volunteered at a school that did casual cooking classes (volunteers setup, assisted, and cleaned up) as a way to be able to ‘audit’ the classes for free. It always amazed me how many of the young 20-something women in the classes couldn’t even easily do something as simple as chop vegetables.

    In any case keep up the posts!

    [ssm: Welcome, and thank you for your kind words.]

  73. bike bubba

    Jana, I can understand your desire to have little ones, but maybe instead of praying for an “accident”, pray that your husband’s eyes would be opened to see, as Israel did, that they who are for you are greater than they who are against you–that your debt-free situation with savings makes you guys among the better risks already for having kids.

    And definitely don’t “forget” something you may be taking. Even apart from a man’s headship, there’s simply the matter of trust. But that headship thing is important too.

  74. LP

    There are dating sites for every niche you can think of. But I don’t think there is a dating site for people who are looking for traditional relationships. A business opportunity for anyone looking…

    [ssm: It’s funny, but I seem to have an informal dating service developing here. I get email not infrequently from readers asking me if I know any other decent single readers that I could set them up with. Unfortunately, I have more men looking for women than vice versa.]

  75. Maeve

    @ Margery – Thank you!

    @SSM – I like your idea of having older girls doing the meal prep – shoot, it would help me hugely to even have them do the planning and shopping – especially if I have them have to work within the budget. It’s NEVER too early to learn how to make and live within a budget.

  76. allamagoosa

    Many have grown up in homes where the mothers were gone at work all day and had no time for the art of domesticity.

    Very true for me. I learned to wash dishes by hand by working in an art gallery, I learned to at least modify clothes in a costuming workshop, I learned to scrub floors and clean glass in my painting classes, I learned the little baking I know on my own. To be fair my mom has taught me some things, but not nearly enough to run or even properly maintain a home. So this series will be very useful to me.

    Also, with the discussion upthread about the value of domesticity, I touched on this in my most recent post, but not very clearly, so I’ll say it here. The value has nothing to do with society, it has to do with YOUR family and what you do for them. Domesticity is valuable whether society thinks so or not.

    Advice that I need? Send me your chili recipes, please!

    [ssm: Chili recipes? You got it, girl! We’ll make my chili recipe here after Thanksgiving. Stay tuned!]

  77. anonymous_ng

    Oh, and The Women’s Home Companion Cookbook copyright 1955 that I swiped from my mother is more than just a cookbook.

    Partial TOC:
    I. Useful Information [cooking techniques, primer on ingredients, organizing a kitchen and a pantry]
    II. Table setting and decoration
    III. Nutrition Problems of the Modern Family
    XXVI. Canning, pickling, and preservation
    XXVII. Freezing Food at Home
    XXVIII. Cooking by Pressure
    XXIX. Food and Body Weight

    Now, admittedly, you’re more likely to find a jello mold recipe than blackened redfish or sushi, but it’s still a good place to start.

    [ssm: They did love jello back then, didn’t they! lol But actually, I collect old housewifery books. You can get them for a song in most used book stores and they are a treasure trove of forgotten information.]

  78. Lee Lee Bug

    My husband and I got engaged Thanksgiving weekend. That Christmas his gift to me was a collection of Martha Stewart cooking and housekeeping books. I got the message that it was important to him that I be a competent cook and homemaker.

    Although most of my recipes were passed down from my Italian grandparents, Martha’s books taught me basics like breadmaking, how to make broths and sauces, and American dishes that I hadn’t been exposed to growing up. I found them to be quite useful.

    Her cleaning books were a bit much; you’ll never catch me ironing sheets. But they did have some good tips on how to structure your housecleaning to be more efficient, how to clean tough stains, etc.

    I do think that it’s VERY important that young brides ask their husbands, “What is most important to you?” No one has time to cook and clean all day, but if you accomplish the one or two things that are important to your husband, he will likely be happy.

    For instance, tasty from-scratch meals are very important to my man. But, as long as I keep our home reasonably clean and clutter free he has no desire to see me scrubbing floors on my hands and knees or doing the deep cleaning some women do every spring.

    Now that it’s winter, he’d rather have me ski or snowshoe with him on the weekends than spend the day cleaning or making an elaborate meal. We live near a major ski resort and he works there part time so that we can have a free family pass, which otherwise would cost over $3,000.

    So, I do a quick cleaning early Saturday morning (bathroom, kitchen, vacuum carpets, put dinner in crockpot) and then we’re off with our kids to enjoy the day. If he wants a loaf of homemade bread, we can stop at the bakery that we pass on the way home.

  79. Lee Lee Bug

    @The Woman Margery
    Absolutely this. It’s why I am so eager to learn dutch oven cooking and how to fire a gun (among other things).

    I would strongly recommend that you take a women’s shooting clinic with the NRA. You can visit http://women.nra.org/womens-instructional-shooting-clinics.aspx for a listing of clinics near you. The gun range near me often receives grants to offer them for free. Otherwise, they generally cost about $100.

    By the end of the day you’ll know how to safely handle a firearm and you will have had a chance to shoot everything from 22 pistols, to revolvers, to semi-automatics, to hunting rifles. It’s a great mother-daughter day out if you want to bring your girls. My 14-year-old daughter and I had a blast (no pun intended) when we took one together.

  80. tbc

    I would also like to remind the ladies who may feel a bit frustrated that many of these skills were actively taught not only by mothers and grandmothers, but by the school system. My grandmother, by all accounts, was not a good cook at all, nor was she skilled in much of anything domestically speaking. So where did my mother learn all the basics of cooking, sewing, etc? Why in home economics class in high school of course. Such courses (shop and mechanics, etc.) are often disdained now, but were basically applied science classes. What is baking but applied chemistry? Adjusting recipes upwards or downwards to feed few or many? Applied mathematics. Cutting patterns and sewing dresses, including selecting cloth? Drafting.

    Interestingly most of these lost skills are the basis of tremendous entrepreneurial activity. Catering services etc easily grow from such skill base.

  81. Stingray

    Margery,

    If you are at all uncomfortable around guns, even just a bit nervous about the recoil, make you you start shooting with a .22 caliber. They are still one of my favorite guns to shoot.

    [ssm: Speaking of recoil…I shot a Smith & Wesson 460 once. It was…upsetting. Here’s a picture of the ammo; that’s a .22LR on the right, and the .460 is the one on the left. Yeah.

    Not in a hurry to do that again.]

  82. delaune

    Good job SSM (and you other ladies).
    When my wife divorced me 14 years ago I had my boys at my apartment every weekend. Between my tithe, rent, and child support I had no money in the budget for eating out.
    I had to learn to cook healthy meals that two (somewhat fussy) youngsters would enjoy. I had to learn to clean (yuck)! Fortunately, I already knew how to do laundry.
    I bought some cookbooks and taught myself Indian cooking: curries, flatbreads, etc. They loved it. I taught myself how to bake 100% organic whole wheat bread–grinding my own flour. I learned how to freeze and can foods. I think I even sewed on a button (once).
    It all takes work but it’s doable.

    The funny thing is…after a couple of months I realized that doing all of these domestic chores–taking care of people–is the most important work in the world. There isn’t much point in earning a good paycheck if my family isn’t clothed, fed, and healthy.

    [ssm: Yes!]

    I also couldn’t afford a TV so, after we washed the dishes, the three of us read aloud or just sat around and talked until bedtime. Every night. To this day they still remember the books and conversations from back then (my youngest just turned 21).

    [ssm: How blessed your children were to be raised without the omnipresent glow of tell-a-vision. Mine are being so raised as well.]

    I messed up a lot in my life but, by God’s grace, I have much to be thankful for.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    [ssm: Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!]

  83. feeriker

    They did love jello back then, didn’t they!

    I have to say that this is the one cooking practice from “the old days” that I’m glad to see has gone extinct. I still get squeamish when I think about the things that my paternal grandmother did with her jello molds at holiday time (the one dark blot on otherwise wonderful holiday memories).

  84. anonymous_ng

    Chili with beans:

    2lb ground meat
    1 32oz can black beans
    1/2Cish of ground chili powder
    Add water to desired consistency

    That’s the basic recipe. Add 4 oz diced chipotle chilis or 8 oz diced jalapeno peppers. Server with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream or not.

    One of my favorite meals is 2-3 eggs over easy with 1C of chili over the top.

  85. Coastal Mama

    “Older women are encouraged to share their expertise; younger women are encouraged to ask questions. ”

    As a younger woman myself I often find its me who is sharing my expertise on health, nutrition and food prep with older people. The older generation grew up on GMOs, industrial meat and dairy, Big Farm and Big Pharma, canned food, frozen food, microwavable TV dinners, and Taco Bell.

  86. Obliterated

    Always good to see people contemplating what to do in a crisis. I so very much want to learn Dutch oven cooking. I recently saw an awesome video about how to warm a small room with tea lights, two terra cotta pots, and a metal bread pan. I was like, “Add to emergency kit checklist!”

  87. Keoni Galt

    I learned how to cook as a prep cook in a 4 star Italian Restaurant in Honolulu as a teenager. But I didn’t excel at cooking entire meals until I loosely adapted to the “Paleo” / Weston Price Foundation dietary lifestyle.

    Discovering the principles of Nourishing Traditions made me realize something profound – one of the reasons fine dining is such a popular experience in the West is because we’ve been conditioned by corporate propaganda to avoid all the things that are integral ingredients to the culinary arts. Combine that with people who eat a lot of snack foods and industrially produced seed/grain oils and non-fat/low-fat processed foods, the contrast of real food ingredients used in fine dining makes the typical diner believe that home cooking equivalently tasty and savory fare seem to be near impossible, and only Professional Chef’s can produce such good tasting food.

    Nonsense. One need only gain a true understanding of the important role real, natural foods play in creating memorable cuisine. Ingredients like:

    Butter
    Whole Fat Milk , heavy whipping Cream, full fat sour cream and full fat yogurts and cheeeses.
    Salt (natural sea salt, not the processed, iodized crap adulterated with aluminium silicate).
    Stocks made from boiled bones and Shells
    Bacon
    Bacon Grease / Lard

    All of these naturally sourced, savory and nutrient-dense foods have been typically outsourced and replaced in most kitchens by Big Agricultural Corporation Products.

    While you may not actually cook with margarine, many of the other products you buy to make your meals contains it – especially the grain-based carbohydrate products like bread, hamburger & hot dog buns, flour tortilla’s etc.

    Most people also tend to cook with low fat and non-fat dairy products…BLASPHEMY.

    Boullion and canned soups have replaced traditionally made bone soup stocks and reductions that are vital for producing gravies and sauces that are integral to the traditional culinary arts. Typically, these things contain all kinds of crap like partially hydrogenated oils, MSG, HFCS, and artificial falvors, as well as typically marketed as “low fat” or “Non fat.”

    Bone soups and all their fat globule floating glory of gelatin, liquified marrow and other nutrient excellence are one of the healthiest foods the human body can consume, and are the keys to “hearty” soups, stews, sauces, reductions and rues. But decades of mass media cholesterol and saturated fat hysteria, combined with the convenience of canned, jarred and powdered bullions, sauces and soups has all but destroyed the once common practice of boiling bones, carcasses and crustacean shells to make stocks for cooking.

    And of course most folks cringe in horror at the idea of cooking with bacon grease.

    Embrace the traditional arts of cooking with hearty, satiating and nutrient dense fats like butter and bacon grease, and fear not the liberal usage of natural salts and spices and you’ll find out the real key to “fine dining” is.

    Oh, and your cookware is important too.

    Throw away your aluminum-teflon atrocities and discover the ultimate cook ware our ancestors knew all about: Cast Iron cookware.

    [ssm: Love this comment! Agree on the use of lard and bacon grease.]

  88. Velvet

    I can’t picture them producing anything like these blogs.

    The lady who wrote this is correct. I don’t think our grandmothers, anyway, would see what is considered “homemaking” these days as anything near to it.

  89. everydaybride93

    I’m a working mother and even when I stayed home I struggled with domesticity. We have been working on our proper roles in our marriage and as I accept my role I amazed at the desire I have to keep up the house, cook, decorate, etc. My husband encourages it too. My favorite thing in the world is cooking. I don’t get flowers and jewerly, etc for my birthdays and anniversary. I get cookbooks and cooking gadgets, pots and pans. My husband knows this encourages me. He gets a lot of flack for it but as his wife…I LOVE IT!!!! I do teach the younger women in our church how to cook. I could write a book/blog on cooking with cast iron. The best way to cook!

  90. tz2026

    The 1950’s version of Cheaper by the Dozen shows one such household. (Based on a biography, with Bells on their Toes as the sequel in both cases).

    Submission meets delegation. A proper household is more than one person can manage. Mommy is handling the kids, the food, cleaning, laundry, and the rest. That is not just full time, it is overtime. Meanwhile, Daddy is out most of the day financing things.

    Well, until the government became the provider.

    It is a myth that men want stupid, weak women. When selecting cars or motorcycles, they want something that can go over 100MPH, be comfortable at that speed, and do it for sustained periods. They want powerful horses, not old gray mares or nags. They want such women to be in submission to them. Not a constant fight. But after too many who have caught the feministia virus and their self-control brain centers are permanently damaged, they settle for someone who is totally grateful to have their needs taken care of, and does everything they can to show it and return the favor.

  91. Obliterated

    I’ve tried lots of chilis and this is a favorite.
    Serves 4

    Olive oil
    1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
    2 celery stalks, minced
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 lb ground chicken (can use ground beef)
    2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (to tase, can omit)
    1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
    1 8 oz can tomato sauce
    1 19 oz can red kidney beans rinsed and drained (dried beans would save money)
    you can add a bit of chicken broth to it to thin it out–it makes a really thick chili.

  92. Coastal Mama

    Along with these feminine arts, has anyone else here incorporated traditional rites of passage into their family culture like Jews and most native traditional cultures around the world have? I’m talking about a ritual or celebration at puberty for girls and boys to mark their entry into young womanhood and manhood?

    What about any rituals around menstruation like abstaining from certain activities for a few days, as well as a ritual cleanse of one’s body and personal affects afterward?

    I’m intrigued by these things and find they give a certain sacred rhythm to life.

  93. Escoffier

    Non-stick is useful for omelets and fish. Otherwise, yeah, don’t use it. Steel works better than cast iron for most things, though. Cast iron sticks like crazy and has to be regularly seasoned, which imparts an often foreign taste to the food. All Clad (steel-aluminum-steel) is expensive but great and it lasts forever. Copper, with steel on the inside, is best but heavy and expensive. Aluminum or anything reactive, if it is not jacketed by steel, is out. Never let that touch the food. (Calphalon is very bad in this way).

    The kitchens I’ve worked in, if they have money, are either all All-Clad, or else very cheap stainless Vollrath and then a vew Mauviel copper, always with a handful of 8″ non-sticks.

  94. bike bubba

    On the survival thing, shot a .454 Casull once. LIke the .460 S&W, ouch.

    And count me on the “love” side for cast iron. I’ve got three skillets my grandmother used at least 60 years ago, and one of them is probably closer to century old. Not for acidic foods, to be sure, and you need to take care of it.

    Kinda like a “wife”, methinks. It’s a good habit.

    (but to be fair to Escoffier, I love my All-Clad for sauces and the like)

  95. everydaybride93

    I have actually used Cast Iron for years and once I learned how to properly cook with it I don’t have an issue with it sticking. What I like about cast iron is you have to cook correctly with it. You can’t start too high or cook things too fast. I have become adjusted to seasoning it and cleaning it and don’t think it is difficult at all. I think my meals actually taste better in it and my husband would agree.

  96. Coastal Mama

    “Cast iron sticks like crazy and has to be regularly seasoned”

    If by seasoned you mean greased and then left setting in warmed oven, the no. However they do need to be kept dry and greased and between use. So basically what I do when I’m done cooking in mine, I give it a rinse with hot water, no soap, and scrap off any stuck on food. Then I wipe it clean and dry with a dry towel. Then I dab some ghee or coconut butter on it and rub that in and then it set to the side of the stove until I cook with it again.

    The only problem I’m having is that there does seem to be a build of oil on it. Remember, I do not wash with soap because soap is not good for cast iron. So yeah, my cast iron skillet appears and feels greasy, which does seem to give a certain kind of taste to the food cooked in it.

  97. Escoffier

    I had a cast iron skillet that was my G-Gmother’s and survived the 1906 SF earthquake. My wife, not knowing what it was, thought it was gross and threw it out. :(

    [ssm: *gasp* She threw away your pan without asking first?? Wow, I hope you got a good (Catholic readers, cover your eyes!) bl-w j-b out of the deal.]

  98. sunshinemary Post author

    I have some stainless steel with copper bottoms that I love, but I do adore my cast iron skillet. I scrub that puppy out with kosher salt, then rinse it and set it on a lit burner to dry. After it cools down, I rub it with a very light coating of olive or coconut oil.

    I started cooking with cast iron the first time I was pregnant because I was anemic but the iron supplement pills made me nauseous.

  99. Escoffier

    Well, to be fair, she’s never done anything like that again. There is a lot of my stuff she would like to get rid of, but won’t. The fallout from that was rather heated. My mother, whose grandmother the pan beloned to, still smarts about that.

  100. Maeve

    I heat my oven to 300F; coat my cast iron up with salt and set on a burner to heat up then scrape with wooden spatula until all sediment/oil released. Then I rinse it, dry with microfiber and spray with oil; put it in the oven and turn off the heat and leave until next morning. Comes out great.

  101. Keoni Galt

    Cast iron needs to be properly seasoned, and you must never use dish soap or any other degreasing agent to clean it. I personally use spray on Coconunt oil on my cast iron cookware, and it works awesome and imparts no strong flavor on the food…you just have to use other oils to get the flavors you want. When it’s time to clean, I simply use a wire brush and hot water, than I dry it and spray it with the coconut oil and hang it up until the next meal.

    But even when food does stick to the bottom of your cast iron, that simply gives you the opportunity to add another color to your culinary palate – De-glazing the pan with wine or cream.

    You can’t deglaze teflon/aluminum pans, because you can’t scrape the bottom. No such fear with cast iron.

    The rapid change in temperature you get from cold liquid dropped into a hot pan, makes all the stickings come up quickly and easily as you scrape the bottom with a spatula. Oh, and with cast iron, you can use real steel cookware as well, as you have no fears of scraping the teflon off too.

    De-glazing is perfect for adding to gravies and sauces, or if you’re making a meal that doesn’t really have a sauce, just pouring your deglaze over the final dish is an excellent way to add flavor and texture. All those meat cracklin’s are awesome!

    [ssm: Oh yes, good advice here with the deglazing. I have a pork roast in the oven at this very moment and I shall be deglazing the pan with a little broth afterward and pouring it over the sliced pork. By the way, my roasting pan is a very old (like probably around 50-60 years) cast aluminum pan that weighs a ton. Do you happen to know if heavy cast aluminum is okay to use?]

  102. Thank You

    Thanks for writing this post!

    I agree with Zach Frey. Most men have been forced to keep all their opinions and desires bottled up for so long, having already learned to live without the very things we want or need to be happy, that starting to think about what we want from women to make us happy can be a very awkward and guilty feeling.

    Most of these fancy recipes or other domestic efforts are foreign to us, and we could easily say they aren’t important to us, but if our women were to do these things for us, we would become overjoyed with thankfulness and gratitude. We’re not used to women being so nice, so it really is a surreal, fantasy-like experience.

    If I’m honest, I would say that seeing a woman’s desire to think about what I might like, and her effort to make me happy, would be the best gift there is, and far more valuable to me than the quality of her cooking or other homemaking efforts.

    I just want to know she cares about me.

    Oh, and I’ve never heard of a woman sewing her own lingerie before, but that is a really impressive idea! Her husband must be very lucky! Sounds like an interesting request for a future wife, if only to see if she even wants to try that. Major points for caring and putting in the the effort to complete that without complaining.

    [ssm: It is so nice to hear from men on this issue. It shouldn’t be the case that a man finds it surreal when his woman makes an effort to make him happy. My goodness, pleasing our husbands should be part of wives’ job descriptions! Sadly, we’ve been falling down on the job for the past forty years.]

  103. anonymous_ng

    IMO, cast iron becomes like a cult or religion. Do this, don’t do that. Whatever. Figure out what works for you.

    I have a Lodge brand cast iron skillet that I’ve had for fifteen years or so. I’ve never seasoned it. Eventually, the factory seasoning/finish on the inside of the pan has worn smooth or seasoned via use. I clean it with dish soap and a scratcher every single time and I have for fifteen years. Afterward, I dry it and put it back on the stove where I store it until the next use.

    I’ve got a Lodge griddle that I stripped with the belt sander and then seasoned with the flaxseed oil on the recommendation of some website which concluded it polymerizes better than any other kind. It cooks just as well as my large skillet. I tend to not use dish soap on that one because I mostly only cook, eggs, hash browns, and pancakes.

    I also have my Grandmother’s cast iron, well seasoned Griswold skillets and pans.

    My experience is that my cast iron skillet doesn’t stick any more than my other cast iron, or any other pan I’ve ever used including some higher end restaurant stuff.

    So, YMMV and if you want to use dish soap, knock yourself out. It’s never been a problem for me.

  104. Stg58/Animal Mother

    Chili does not have beans!

    Our house runs on bacon. We buy as little low fat/non fat stuff as we can. Butter is all sweet cream unsalted. Raw milk. My youngest son has a little Wolverine skeleton.

    [ssm: No beans in the chili? What??]

  105. Stg58/Animal Mother

    Speaking of awesomeness, I am starting Crossfit again Friday, after the moving and travel dislocations sustained during the year. The lead instructors are both retired Army guys, so they will be intent on making my life hell on earth.

  106. Keoni Galt

    I have a Lodge brand cast iron skillet that I’ve had for fifteen years or so. I’ve never seasoned it. Eventually, the factory seasoning/finish on the inside of the pan has worn smooth or seasoned via use. I clean it with dish soap and a scratcher every single time and I have for fifteen years. Afterward, I dry it and put it back on the stove where I store it until the next use.

    All you’re doing is essentially re-seasoning it every time you heat it up and add cooking oil to your degreased pan.

    Hey, YMMV, whatever works for you, n=1 and all that, but I find that this really comes down to people’s excessive obsession with germs.

    Hot water and a wire brush is more than enough to easily clean a properly seasoned cast iron cookware. Just add a little bit more oil after drying and your good to go. The thing is that people forget HEAT KILLS GERMS. You don’t need anti-bacterial dish soap to ensure your pan is clean. Heating it up will do that just fine.

    I’ve been cooking with my cast iron for a few years now. No soap or any sort of de-greasing agent has yet to come in contact with any of it, and my family or I have not had any sort of food poisoning problems ever.

  107. Escoffier

    mary, if the interior surface is aluminum, then you shouldn’t deglaze. It’s reactive. Really, it’s fine as a drippings catcher, but that’s it. Now, high acid is the worst, and a broth won’t be quite that bad, but 1) you’ll be slowly degrading the pan (if it’s already that old, though, I would say that’s not much of a problem) and 2) you’ll be eating some aluminum in the food, which is not good. Now, the amount will be tiny and you’d probably have to do this every day for years to have a bad effect, but it’s in there. So, the real reason (3) is that it tends to impart a metallic taste to the food.

    [ssm: Oh gosh, thanks for telling me this! I didn’t know that. I’ve never noticed a metallic taste, but I’ll stop deglazing that pan. So, what is the best kind of pan to use for roasting? I also have the traditional black enamel kind.]

    Copper and aluminum are outstanding conductors of heat. Stainless isn’t. But stainless is non-reactive. That’s why they good stuff has a copper or aluminum exterior or core and stainless cooking surface. All stainless is also fine, it just conducts less well. (It also tends to be cheaper.)

  108. Keoni Galt

    cast aluminum pan that weighs a ton. Do you happen to know if heavy cast aluminum is okay to use?

    Not sure…but I think the more concerning thing with aluminum cookware is the teflon non-stick coating.

    BTW – I make omlettes, eggs, and fish on my cast iron all the time. Liberal use of coconut oil, butter and bacon grease make my cast iron cookware work as well as any non-stick teflon.

    You have to remember, the reason why teflon non-stick cookware became popular in the first place, was due to the all the saturated fat/cholesterol hysteria we’ve been propagandized with for 60+ years.

    At first, people replaced the lard, butter and grease with Crisco. But eventually people figured out just how terrible Crisco was to human health, which resulted in the popularity of “non-fat” and “cholesetrol free” cooking sprays on non-stick cookware, since food made without the natural fats burns and sticks much easier than food full of good oils and fats.

  109. Keoni Galt

    Of course, I wrote that after escoffier answered: mary, if the interior surface is aluminum, then you shouldn’t deglaze. It’s reactive. Really, it’s fine as a drippings catcher, but that’s it. Now, high acid is the worst, and a broth won’t be quite that bad, but 1) you’ll be slowly degrading the pan (if it’s already that old, though, I would say that’s not much of a problem) and 2) you’ll be eating some aluminum in the food, which is not good.

    Good points. I do have a set of stainless pan and wok with copper cores, but after figuring out how to use cast iron cookware, I don’t use them too often anymore.

  110. everydaybride93

    This is so fun!!! For my birthday this past year my husband got me a Temperature Controller so I can cook Sous-Vide style with my crockpot.
    (Definition -Sous-vide (/suːˈviːd/; French for “under vacuum”)[1] is a method of cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath for longer than normal cooking times—72 hours in some cases—at an accurately regulated temperature much lower than normally used for cooking, typically around 55 °C (131 °F) to 60 °C (140 °F) for meats and higher for vegetables. The intention is to cook the item evenly, and not to overcook the outside while still keeping the inside at the same “doneness”, keeping the food juicier.)
    I season my meat, seal it with my vacuum sealer and cook it in the a bath water in my crockpot at the correct temperature. The temperature controller keeps it at the correct temperature. The meat comes out amazingly tender. My favorite part about it is I can freeze the meat after it is seasoned and vacuum sealed and then when I am ready to cook it I can pull it out of the freezer and throw it in the water bath. You can order the temperature controller off of Amazon! When it’s done cooking in the water bath I just sear it. I highly recommend this method!

  111. Escoffier

    Well, i’ve made omelets in 8″ all clad and 8″ non-stick. I’ve seen French pros do both, too, and they prefer the non-stick. Some of them consider using plain steel a rite of passage, as in, “If you can’t make an omelet in this pan, you are not really a cook.” I sympathize, sort of.

    BUT–you have to use a lot more butter, which gets expensive and can make the omelet taste greasy. Also, the failure rate will be higher. This is not so important at home, when shape and color matter less, but in a restaurant, every omelet that doesn’t go out is time and money lost.

    Fish, unlike meat, really can’t be salted in advance to get the water out. And it’s so delicate that even if it sticks a little, the flesh and skin will tear, etc. I don’t think there’s anything bad about non-stick per se, if you don’t want a fond. At very high temps–500 or so–the surface starts to break down and release chemicals. But It’s hard to get a pn that hot on the stove. You need at least 15K BTUs. I certainly would not use non-stick in a hot oven. Or really, ever in the oven, except for Pommes Anna.

  112. bike bubba

    Dittos on aluminium pans and Teflon. We use this when we have iron and stainless exactly why?

    For cleaning iron, dittos on wiping it out, a soak in water (no soap for me), and deglazing–lots of flavor with that! When things get really bad, skip the belt sander or wire brush and put it on the coals of a nice fire, or in the oven for a cleaning cycle. Voila–bare gray iron! You’ll need to reseason it, but it revitalizes it wonderfully. I’ve done this several times with each of my skillets. (six kids; you do the math on how much they’re used)

    [ssm: Smart tip on sending the cast iron pan through the oven cleaning cycle. I’ve not needed to do that, but I’m tucking the idea away for future reference.]

  113. Escoffier

    No beans in the chili is a Texas thing. They take it very seriously there. Personally, I like beans in chili. If Texans insist that I call it “spicy bean and beef stew”, then fine.

    [ssm: Huh, I didn’t know that. Texans won’t want my chili recipe, which I plan to share after Thanksgiving. Not only does it have beans it in, but it has NO MEAT! Heresy, I know, but I used to be a vegetarian.]

  114. Velvet

    Stainless with copper core, ftw! Stainless has nickel considerations, but with the proper fat and seasoning you get the properties of non stick with the benefit of not being poisoned. Glass isn’t bad either. No cookware is perfect. Cast iron has it’s own issues. You have to figure out what works best for your family and carry on. My husband has a ceramic lined anodized aluminum (gasp!) pan that is his favorite. I doubt he’s poisoning himself more by way of his favorite pan than by conventional 06 fats. And I’ll stand by my 25 year old All Clad, All Day long.

  115. Escoffier

    Just to be clear, LINED aluminum is not a problem. That what, for instance, All Clad is. Three layers, stainless-aluminum-stainless. It arguably doesn’t need the layer of stainless on the outside, which makes it more expensive, but it’s also much easier to clean.

  116. sunshinemary Post author

    LOL, I just sent our 13-year-old daughter into the kitchen to make some homemade cranberry sauce, which she’s never done before:

    Her: “Whyyyy do I have to?”
    Me: “Because you need to learn how.”
    Her: “But whhhhyyy do I have to learn how?”
    Me: Because otherwise no man will want to marry you.”

    She looked at me like I was crazy, but she’s in there stirring the sugar and water and rinsing the berries. I think I might be able to get some mileage out of this Do this chore or no man will want to marry you meme. Mommy’s not being lazy, honey, she’s just training you in the art of domesticity, that’s all. hehehe

  117. Keoni Galt

    BUT–you have to use a lot more butter, which gets expensive and can make the omelet taste greasy.

    When it comes to butter, I spare no expense! Grass fed Kerry Gold Irish, please…and no, don’t skimp on it when you cook either.

    Once you overcome the programmed fear of saturated fat and cholesterol hysteria, you actually attenuate your taste buds to “greasy” and savor it. I recently had an omlette over at a friend’s house, made in a non-stick with non-stick cooking spray. Vile taste and texture…and it certainly wansn’t “greasy.” More like flavorless sponge cake texture. Ugh.

    Aside from that, I find I prefer making fritattas over omlettes nowadays. No worries of breaking the omlette, you can load up far more ingredients on it than you can put into an omlette, then just sprinkle grated cheese over it and cover the pan and turn off the heat and let the residual heat finish it.

  118. sunshinemary Post author

    Grass fed Kerry Gold Irish, please…and no, don’t skimp on it when you cook either.

    Sarah’s Daughter wrote a whole post about that butter, lol, and how it played into a lesson she learned about how to communicate better with her husband.

  119. Maeve

    One other thing – I think every household needs a pre-1970 cookbook (take your pick: Joy of Cooking, Betty Crocker, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes & Gardens). Too many cookbooks published after that seem to focus more on convenience and pre-packaged foods/ingredients, and also seldom include ancillary information – like how to properly set a table, etc.. The older cookbooks also don’t assume that you have fancy equipment like a mandolin or food processor, so the recipes are designed for a more “manual” preparation. And they tend to provide more “how to” information so they’re great resources for an inexperienced cook – my Betty Crocker, for instance, was great for providing actual instruction on making yeast breads and didn’t assume any level of expertise.

    [ssm: We have three older cookbooks that someone gave us as a wedding present: Better Homes & Gardens, Pillsbury, and New York Times. I have used those SO much. The recipes are nice and basic, no weird gourmet Martha Stewart nonsense.

    Another great source for cookbooks are churches. Sometimes the ladies in church will put together their own cookbook for fundraisers; those can be a wealth of information. My favorite is one my MIL got for me called Fox Valley SDA Church Favorites. It has sections in the back on herbs and spices, how to fold napkins, cooking terms, and little hints like this one: To make a cute homemade birthday cake for children, frost the cake, then use animal-shaped cookie cutters to lightly press an outline into the frosting; trace the outline with colored decorator frosting.]

  120. Velvet

    SSM, there is no such thing as chili w/o meat. That’s a little retarded.

    [ssm: I’m lol’ing @ you. But you shall soon behold Sunshine Mary’s Bean-Pumpkin-Sweet Corn Chili.]

  121. Escoffier

    At one of the places I worked an omelet had to look like this or it wouldn’t go out:

    1) no color; 2) totally smooth; 3) shaped like a cartoon cigar. Much easier to do in a non-stick pan.

  122. bike bubba

    Escoffier; would love to hear why it had to be colorless. I agree 100% about that effect being easier with a (good) nonstick pan, but don’t get why diners would want to lose that wonderful Maillard reaction.

    I’m personally happy when the omelet comes out a lightly browned half-moon, which takes (me) some doing given the amount of veggies I put in mine.

  123. A.

    My upbringing was lacking in several aspects, but boy did we cook. It still is the one thing that unites my otherwise torn up family (cooking, eating, and talking about food). I’m a pretty mean leftover improv cook. I can also do recipes that are needlessly fattening, expensive or overly complex, but only use them when there’s a party to attend/ organize or when I visit my boyfriend and/or his parents (we study at different cities so we have a weekend-relationship).

    On the other hand, I have no idea on how to properly entertain guests; what is too much, or what is not enough, foodwise.
    I also frequently ponder on what topics are appropriate when we have people over, and if there are faux pas I have never thought about. Is the entertaining of guests considered as domestics? If so, input would be be mightily appreciated :D
    *please excuse my English, not my first language, corrections are welcome*

    Post Scriptum:
    Does anyone know how to get rid of stains on suede furniture? I regularly clean at my Gran’s house and she is getting pretty desperate (read: contemplating to ritually burn her chairs).

  124. Velvet

    But you shall soon behold Sunshine Mary’s Bean-Pumpkin-Sweet Corn Chili

    I think it’s adorable that my beholding it will somehow make it chili, and not totally suck. I KNEW I was magic!

    That’s a very nice stew, though! Good job!

  125. Stg58/Animal Mother

    NO! Chili is meat. No beans. If it doesn’t have meat, it ain’t chili, it’s vegetable soup. I am from Texas. YEEHA

    That’s like ordering In n Out burger and telling them to hold the beef!

  126. Escoffier

    The brown crinkly half moon is considered in France a “country” omelet. The “classic” or city omelet was like I showed. The taste is very different. It’s super moist inside, almost runny. In the end, it’s just a tradition I guess, but in America you tend to see the first type a lot and the second type only in very old school French restaurants.

  127. Calliso

    “But seriously, domesticity can be self-taught.”

    Exactly it really isn’t that hard to learn some basics. I think it just takes a desire to learn. My mom for instance learned to become a good cook because growing up her mom could not cook well and she didn’t want to spend the rest of her life eating like she did as a kid. I am not half the cook she is. But in my defense my husband has severe problems with acid indigestion which puts some limitations to say the least on what I can make him that wont make him sick. That and we do not own an oven after our last one broke. Fortunately he has simple tastes.

    But anyway I definitely admire my mom for all she did to make our house a home. Even when she became a single mom she did so much. I really do not know how she had the energy to do it.

  128. Coastal Mama

    I never thought of using a spray oil for keeping the cast iron skillet between uses. I always used ghee or coconut butter and both of those are not cheap so I was going through them fast from using them on my skillet alone. I can see how spray coconut oil would be more economical so I’ll start using it.

    Also on cleaning it with salt. I’ve read that using baking soda, or a combo of baking soda and salt to clean it is effective. I only use hot water but I suppose salt or baking soda would degrease it better. The hot water alone does not get off all the old residue and I suppose that is why my food has been tasting like it was cooked in old oil.

  129. Stingray

    I got these non-stick pans for Christmas a couple of years ago (and have added a couple more since) and I LOVE them. No teflon, no chemicals and they are completely non-stick. Their pricey, but I needed a nice set of pans. Cast Iron is wonderful and I have a couple of dutch ovens, and different size pans, but since getting these, they are now my go to for most of my cooking.

  130. freebird

    Stainless with thick copper bottoms here also.
    There are times I miss the cast iron,but not often.

    [ssm: Did I tell you my sad hunting story? Long story short: no venison stew (or chili, for that matter) for us.]

  131. Calliso

    “I like a clean house too, but sing while doing it? Great joke!”

    Well if you like to sing singing to yourself can help make the time go by faster. Personally I have always preferred daydreaming. Getting lost in your own mind makes work go by much faster!
    Of course I know there is only so much these things can do to help and they don’t actually making cleaning house fun.

    [ssm: Ah, a fellow introvert, I see. We are self-entertaining like that.]

  132. Keoni Galt

    Those certainly look like high quality cookware…BUT:

    “PFOA-free nonstick surface lets you cook using little or no oil for healthier cooking.”

    Depends on the oil.

    Easy to clean! Nonstick on the inside and outside of the pan makes cleanup a breeze”

    I have two brushes for my cast iron cookware – one plastic and one steel wire grilling brush. Most times the plastic wire one is more than enough to quickly clean out a cast iron skillet, but if I do manage to burn something or something sticks, the steel wire brush is super quick and easy.

    Plus, I love cooking with stainless steel utensils with no fear of scratching or ruining the non-stick surface, and I have come to despise cooking with nylon/silicone/plastic spatulas, spoons etc. I can scrape, bang, stir and scrub with abandon.

    After years of cooking with nonstick teflon/aluminum, I never realized just how many cooking habits you become habituated to out of fear of ruining your non-stick surface. Discovering cast iron cooking has been liberating to say the least.

  133. Escoffier

    Yeah, I wouldn’t use non-stick as a way of avoiding fat. That’s a waste. Cook with whatever fat you othewise would have used. Butter for an omelet, oil or butter and oil for fish, etc. Use as much as you want, that’s not the point. The point of non-stick is only to cook very delicate things that tend to stick and or tear, and when you want to very strictly regulate the color/flavor (e.g., no color on a French omelet).

    If you’re not trying to do those things, there is no point to non-stick It’s a pure specialty pan for a few discrete dishes.

  134. Coastal Mama

    Stingray, ” No teflon, no chemicals and they are completely non-stick. ”

    What is it made out of?

    “Of course I know there is only so much these things can do to help and they don’t actually making cleaning house fun.”

    The less things you have in the house, the less you have to clean. Go minimalist!

    I always thought a frame, box spring, mattress and head board were way top many items, and expensive ones at that, for something as simple as sleeping.

  135. Escoffier

    Watch the second half of this a couple of times:

    [ssm: I must be a country omelette kind of girl. That thing looks…pallid. Non, merci.]

  136. Calliso

    “The less things you have in the house, the less you have to clean. Go minimalist!”

    Yeah we definitely have a lot of things we need to get rid of. We are getting there though making progress!

  137. Calliso

    “[ssm: Ah, a fellow introvert, I see. We are self-entertaining like that.]”

    Yep of course we have to be careful to not get too lost in our own minds. That can lead to stuff like leaving something on the stove to long for instance. Or in a very recent case *as in 20 minutes ago* Me ending up making scrambled eggs instead of the over easy egg sandwiches I wanted to make because I wasn;t paying attention and put too many eggs in the pan… Oh well maybe tomorrow!

  138. Calliso

    One of these days I should buy some pots and do some porch gardening. Before I was married I had a big garden in the yard that I enjoyed. Well at least until the deer problem became unmanageable. :( I tried a garden in the yard where I live now like the 1st year I was married but I could not keep up with it. I lived in Michigan most of my life and the weather here in Georgia is like the inside of an oven much of the growing season. :(

  139. Stingray

    Coastal Mama,

    It’s made out of PTFE (no PFOA’s) and it’s some how reinforced by diamond crystals. There is more info here and here if you are interested. So, I was wrong about the chemicals part, the PTFE is some kind of a non-stick formula, but according to their testing, it’s safe. Now, I think I need to look further into it.

  140. Lady Just Saying

    My DH said he married me cause I looked good not cause I cooked good. LOL I set the oven mits on fire when I tried to bake a cake.

  141. Looking Glass

    Oh, and this might be a “guy’s point of view”, as I’ve noticed it took years for my mother to enjoy some jokes about cooking failures, but a good part of the fun of learning to cook is screwing up. That might sound odd, but it is the truth. I’ve gotten years worth of stories out of a few minor cooking errors. I managed to turn White Sauce into something with the consistency of Mashed Potatoes one time. (It tasted fine, it just added some weird texture, but I still finished it off) I like to tell the story because of the “how’d that happen?” response questions and the basic fact it’s just another adventure in Life.

    I think there’s also a subset of thought that attacked domesticity, along with the rest of it all: that daily accomplishments of Life aren’t worth anything. It’s obviously a classic “Grass is Greener on the Otherside” fallacy play, but it goes very much to modern secular culture. When you’ve cleaned up for the day, sitting and relaxing in the few minutes, you’ve successfully accomplished your day. That is Good. This is the benefit of Seeking the Kingdom first. You really can “count your Blessings” and know that God is Good, even when you are hard-pressed. It puts it all into perspective and keeps you from much foolishness.

  142. Coastal Mama

    “So, I was wrong about the chemicals part, the PTFE is some kind of a non-stick formula, but according to their testing, it’s safe. ”

    Well of course according to “their” testing its safe. They want to sell it. That’s what the corporation that created the HPV vaccince said about Gardisil as well.

    @songtwoeleven: “On another note: financial “stability” is different than unrealistic expectations pertaining to one’s “needs”. Yes, one needs a stable income and some savings, but often, modern women’s (and men’s) expectations of what is actually necessary to successfully have a comfortable home and raise children is exceedingly skewed.”

    Margery, “This is exactly what I was trying to get at upthread. Many of my generation are using money as an excuse not to have children. This is incredibly upsetting to me because so many are heartbroken over the whole thing “I’d like to have a baby but we can’t afford it” said by a couple living in a nice enough place with a running vehicle and stable employment. The only thing that is stopping them is the false sense that they “need” things they don’t actually need. What it comes down to is that people are trying to sell us something. That message is so ingrained in us that we can’t separate fact from fiction anymore.”

    Lots of couples are concerned about what sort of environment they can afford to raise any future children in. If finances are tight and one has to live in a lower middle class neighborhood and have their kids go to lower middle class schools, parents worry about the lifestyles of the people around them affecting their kids. Not to sound like a snob but it is a fact that upper middle class people lead saner, healthier,, more organized lives in virtually all areas

  143. Je Suis Prest

    @ SSM

    Thanks for posting this! I look forward to the rest of the series =). I think I handle myself pretty well in the kitchen and I’m competent enough at cleaning, but I still ask the nice plant lady for things that are hard to kill so gardening/herb growing advice would be awesome! Is the chicken recipe coming tomorrow? I have two birds from a local farmer that I need to cook.

    @ Recluse

    As another young person who bought a house without knowing too much about home repair, does your local hardware store offer free classes? Mine did and everything you know in advance is one less thing you have to learn in the middle of the night (the main time things seem to happen) once you have a place of your own. Some volunteer groups will also teach you how to do things if you work on their projects and that’s another great way to pick up skills. Please be forewarned that there are a LOT more annual projects with houses than you might think, especially if your parents didn’t teach you all of this. I ended up buying my first house in relatively good shape and found that by the time I finished the basement, put in a shed, built a patio and raised cedar gardens, I had more than enough to keep me busy. Also, fixing up a fixer-uper is way more expensive then I thought (helping friends who went this route is another great way to learn things lol). Cheers!

    + 1 for Joy of cooking

    + 1 for Paleo and not being scared of fat (and making your own stock – I freeze it in ice cube trays and add it to almost everything)

    + 1 for chilli has meat (sorry SSM, and that’s coming from a former vegan)

    @ Animal Mother

    Best of luck with restarting CrossFit – I’d say hopefully it won’t hurt too much, but I doubt that’s realistic

  144. Velvet

    I must be a country omelette kind of girl. That thing looks…pallid. Non, merci.

    Here’s a hint: eggs aren’t meant to be browned. Ever. It’s not called a “country” omelette, it’s called “burnt” because you haven’t had enough coffee, or have had too much wine. Somewhere in there it becomes a fritatta because you were outside smoking a cigarette and forgot to fold it over.

    [ssm: When I was in college, I used to call coffee and a cigarette a hot breakfast, lol. FTR, I haven’t smoked in years.]

  145. JDG

    No beans in the chili is a Texas thing.

    And here I was considering a move to Texas. How can I possibly move to a state that doesn’t put beans in their chili?

    Two things chili must have (according to me):
    1) Meat
    2) Beans

    All other ingredients are optional (although I don’t like tomatoes in chili).

  146. Coastal Mama

    Arid’s comment gives a lot of food for thought and I’m copying and pasting it here with my questions and comments below.

    arid2385 November 26, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Reblogged this on Esprit and commented:
    Sunshine Mary has started a new series about learning the art of domesticity for the contemporary woman. I say “for the contemporary woman” because, as she points out, many women today did not grow up seeing a model of domestic life. “Domestic life” is more than just having a house and a place to eat, sleep and store your possessions. Domestic life is about building a *home*, a place of harmonious relationships, peace, and nurture.

    Two points in her post stood out to me: 1) The argument that women *like* housework in a way that men generally don’t, and 2) That even if men can do housework just as well as women, and women work outside of the home just as well as men, that neither would be as content as they would be if they switched roles. I think both points are golden, and both likely to draw the ire of many a woman who loves her job and hates household chores. As a woman who both enjoys her job quite a lot and also hates chores, I am nevertheless 100% in agreement with Sunshine Mary on these two points. Here’s why:

    1) The significance of housework for men and women is not about the specific tasks themselves. Think about men being handy or taking care of the yardwork. My father, for instance, has spent years gradually improving his house. He takes great pains to ensure that everything is in proper working order and continually thinks of ways that it can be improved to be more functional. The house really has gotten better and better over the years. Even though the amount of attention he gives to the house might suggest to some that he likes handyman tasks, I’d argue that it’s not about the tasks themselves—it’s really about the pride that he takes in having a well-maintained, well-functioning house, which he views as a refleciton of himself. Many of us have probably had that one neighbor who is meticulous about his lawn—the seeding, fertilizing, weeding, edging, the landscaping. He seems to always be mowing the grass, planting a shrub, or building a retaining wall. Does this indicate that these men have an abiding love of horticulture? Perhaps they do, but likely they do not. Rather, they care for their lawns in such a way because they know that their houses are a reflection on them, and the outside of the house is the first thing people will see. They want it to look as good as possible and to make a positive impression. I wonder if it’s fair to say that a man who does not take pride in his house is not particularly invested in it (I would love comments about that).

    Now, when it comes to women and other tasks such as laundry, cooking and cleaning, I would argue a similar point: It’s not necessarily that women like folding clothes or vacuuming carpets, and maybe not even cooking (though many find that enjoyable in itself). Rather, tackling those tasks with energy is a means to a deeper sense of satisfaction—the satisfaction that comes from having a warm, comfortable home where people feel cared for. No one feels comfortable and cared for when there’s nothing to eat in the kitchen, there’s hair in the bathtub, and they’ve run out of clean underwear. And notice that a warm and comfortable home is not necessarily a spotless home. Some people are so particular about things being just so that they actually make the living space uncomfortable for others. Such traits are about control, not caring. Homemaking is really about focusing on the things that meet the needs of household members.

    2) I mentioned that I hated household chores and like my job. So how could I agree that even if men and women switched traditional roles successfully, that neither would be as content? When I say that I dislike chores, I mean that oftentimes, I resent the time it takes to tend to such things that are really so basic when I could be spending time on professional development, writing, reading, singing, at the gym, with friends, etc. I think that many women rationalize the same way. But regardless of how much I wish I could just snap my fingers and everything fall magically into place, I know it won’t; and I also know that if it’s left undone, I will never have peace of mind. I could be accomplishing great things for my employer, traveling to interesting places, and having a great time socializing. But more than anything else, the state of my home, the warmth, comfort, and beauty I’m able to find there has more of an impact on my sense of security and contentment in life than any of those other things. This is not about saying that either women like being at home or they like working outside the home; but rather it’s about order of importance. Home is first is a woman’s heart.

    Moreover, studies show that even when men and women have embraced feminist ideas of sameness (under the guise of equality)—most notably when the wife works and the husband stays home with the children—it often adds stress that cannot simply be explained away by societal expectations. Just like I shared above, even when the women have careers, supportive husbands, and know that their children are being taken care of by a caring parent, they remain preoccupied with Home. Men who work and have stay at home wives don’t come home and continue to worry about whether things have been done right while they were gone; but women do. And not only do they remain preoccupied with how things are going at home while they’re away, they also secretly (or not so secretly) tend to see their husbands as less deserving of their respect since they are the breadwinners. But guess what? Men with stay at home wives don’t lose respect for them because of that fact, if they ever deeply respected them at all. If a woman has been fortunate enough and had the good sense to marry a man that is a provider, he will have greater respect for her dedication to their home. Many women who have chosen to stay at home have remarked how much less stressful home life is; but when the men stay at home—even willingly—stress increases.

    There will always be people who read perspectives like mine and begin to point out all the exceptions and special situations that they know of, complete with detailed anecdotes. But I would simply point out a helpful maxim—the exception proves the rule.

    Peace.

    *
    Regarding, “Men who work and have stay at home wives don’t come home and continue to worry about whether things have been done right while they were gone; but women do.”
    I ‘d say the more “stuff in the home”, well the more stuff there is to worry about. Since I’ve gone as minimalist as possible my mind has been freed up in exact proportion to the stuff I’ve gotten rid of. One doesn’t have to worry about stains on expensive carpet if there is no carpet in the first place. Same with furniture. We really don’t “need” furniture at all but even minimalists will have a few pieces of it. Our society has set standards about what a home should look like and have. The standard is that each room needs to have furniture and lots of it, and if you never drink that particular brand of kool aid then you never have to stress about it. In our home the only pieces of furniture we have are shelves for our books. We do have a complete kitchen with cabinets and an island for food prep, but no eating table and no chairs. We also have hammocks between the trees in our yard so I guess that counts as a type of furniture. When I’m away from home I don’t have to worry about stuff getting ruined or my husband not handling the stuff correctly, because, well, there’s hardly any stuff and the stuff that is there is not easily ruined. I do miss and think about my kids all day though, and so does my husband when he’s not home.

    “Many women who have chosen to stay at home have remarked how much less stressful home life is; but when the men stay at home—even willingly—stress increases. ”

    This I find odd. What type of increased stress do the men who stay at home experience? Is it because they feel they are not doing things “right” and are worried their wives will criticize the way they do chores or take care of the kids? Or could they be worried because they are at home due to lack of employment and they are worried about not finding a job? Or could they be stressed because they’d actually prefer to stay home and not have to work outside it again, but are worried that they may eventually have to?

  147. donalgraeme

    Re: Chilli without meat

    Chilli without meat is like a vegetarian burger. You can call it a burger, but that doesn’t make it so. Likewise, you can call it chilli when it doesn’t have any meat, but that doesn’t make it so.

    Oh, and you silly Texans can just be quiet about the whole beans thing.

    [Great post SSM. Looking forward to more down the line.]

  148. tacomaster

    I recently had a conversation with a group of young unmarried ladies at church who were expressing how Americans were larger and sicker today than they were in the 80’s because of processed foods, fast food, and boxed meals, etc. They were using this as an excuse to why they were the size that they are, easily each 30-50 pounds overweight. I wasn’t feeling entirely pleasant and did not want to go along with just accepting their comments to appease them. I flatly said, “Here’s an idea; you could learn how to cook so you don’t have to live off of fast food and processed garbage. It’s really easy. There’s plenty of cookbooks and a channel dedicated to teaching people how to cook”.

    I have a question for the group. Before people know that I cook people ask me who does the majority of cooking in our household. I tell them I do the majority of it. I often wonder if this is a good reply. Why do people ask this question? It’s often time my coworkers or people I meet casually. I think people are expecting me to say something like “My wife does all the cooking and I’m useless in the kitchen” which is the direct opposite of how it is.

  149. Velvet

    Oh, and you silly Texans can just be quiet about the whole beans thing.

    Actually, no, we cannot. It’s like the Alamo – we remember it inconveniently.

  150. peoplegrowing

    I look forward to this series a lot! I loved the conversation a while back where people discussed homemade laundry and dish detergent, and the link to the excellent DIY Natural site. Just waiting to use up the last of my store bought detergents so I can make my own! >.> *waits *

    Anyhow, my Mom’s mother passed away when she was only six, and my mom was raised by her father. So, a domestic goddess she is not. So the internet and my CookBook have been great resources for me. Really excited to get more tips from you lovely ladies and the excellent gentlemen here!

  151. Coastal Mama

    “I look forward to this series a lot! I loved the conversation a while back where people discussed homemade laundry and dish detergent, and the link to the excellent DIY Natural site.”

    Link please!

  152. FuzzieWuzzie

    All this discussion about domesticity. I think I need to work on my table manners too!

    Anybody want to invite me over to your house for Thanksgiving?
    no wonder I’m lonely.
    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  153. freebird

    I am glad I am not alone in getting skunked this deer season.
    Also,I have a vegetarian chili recipe I just discovered,it is very good.
    1 package of Knorr’s Teriyaki rice, cook it in water+ a bit of olive oil or butter.
    Add 1 can diced tomato with chili pepper,preferably the kind with garlic and olive oil.
    Add 1 can chili beans.

    That’s it,the taste is very good,almost impossible to tell there is no meat in it.

    Call it woeful deer hunter stew if you must.
    Darn cold out there,not a lot of fun,is it?
    Hehe

  154. tacomaster2

    @Obliterated:

    Regarding Dutch oven cooking, this is something I started looking into recently. On YouTube, there’s an older white guy who has a lot of videos that are helpful. Search for ” outdoor cooking show”

  155. alekdrake

    It seems like the conversation is mostly cooking-related right now but I wanted to mention that one thing my husband appreciates is my knitting. He likes the sound of the needles clicking together and the serene look I apparently get while knitting (it is really meditative once you get the hang of it. Hypnotic even) And once you have worn hand knitted socks you will never want anything else on your feet. :) I learned everything I know about knitting from knittinghelp.com. I even learned to spin my own yarn on an inexpensive spindle from abby franquemonts videos on youtube.

  156. Stg58/Animal Mother

    Listen you varmints! Chili ain’t got no beans in it! Why I say I’m about to pull an old number six on this group of damn Yankees!

  157. grey_whiskers

    @Jana November 26, 2013 at 11:56 am

    “Rosehip jam the best jam ever.”

    Are you by any chance Serbian, Croation, or similar?

  158. grey_whiskers

    @Jana, @grey_whiskers

    Feh. “Croatian” not “Croation”. Duh.
    @ssm -can you please fix the spelling?

  159. nightskyradio

    SSM – Texans won’t want my chili recipe, which I plan to share after Thanksgiving. Not only does it have beans it in, but it has NO MEAT!

    THE FIRES OF HELL BURN FOR YOUR BLACK, MEATLESS SOUL!!!!!

  160. infowarrior1

    @SSM
    Not to be crass. But those bullets gave me a boner.

    [ssm: A perfectly natural response, my husband tells me. :) It was kinda scary to shoot though! It made a really loud bang…more of a boom actually.]

  161. Cail Corishev

    We also think that we should be doing something that’s actually productive, and there really isn’t that much to do in a home with 2 people, so we’d just be leeching, wasting our time and going crazy from boredom. – Jana

    I think most women, thanks to the lost knowledge Mary is talking about, have no idea just how much can be done to make a house a home. If they work full-time, they know that the basic cleaning and meals (or take-out) that they currently do don’t take that long, hence the worry about boredom. But when you have all day, there’s so much more you can do than just keep the house clean and livable. Some of it, like cooking meals from scratch instead of ordering take-out, can save money. Other stuff like canning food may not save anything at all, but can add a sense of independence from the world and responsibilities to share with children. You can stay busy making a home.

    For instance, even in this thread, there’s a lot of focus on perfection: getting just the right pan or the right recipe. But for making a home, consistency is far more important than perfection or fanciness. I’d take a wife who could have some basic form of meat and eggs on a plate for me when I get out of the shower every morning and a packed lunch ready to take to work, over one who doesn’t do that but puts together a fancy seven-course meal once a week.

    Domesticity (for me, at least, and I suspect for most men once they experience it) is much more about basic skills and persistence than advanced skills. The little day-to-day things, not the big events. Scrambled eggs, not omelettes with different ingredients every day. Nightly sex even if it’s conventional and simple, rather than trying to make weekly sessions great with power tools and fancy positions. Quantity over quality, in a way. Knowing what to expect and being able to count on it.

    Men just aren’t that hard to satisfy. A new recipe or wallpaper or piece of lingerie now and then can be nice, but a little change goes a long way for most of us. If you found out our ten favorite foods and put those in front of us three times a day, day after day, year after year, and brought us our favorite drink after dinner, you’d be surprised how content we’d be.

  162. Norm

    I got rid of my aluminum cookware years ago. Wasn’t it found in the brains of people who had alzheimers? Dittoo for teflon also.

  163. Cail Corishev

    I wanted to mention that one thing my husband appreciates is my knitting. He likes the sound of the needles clicking together and the serene look I apparently get while knitting

    That’s exactly the kind of thing I was trying to get at with my comment. It’s not easy to quantify; you couldn’t write a book about how to be a good wife and say, “#3: Learn to knit,” because it would sound stupid, and there would be a hundred other things that would be equally valid suggestions. Clothing is so cheap these days that it’s not likely to be “productive,” and some men might find the clicking annoying. But for each couple, there will be skills and activities the wife can take up that will make a “home.”

    The point is, when a man has been plugging away all day at work and has an hour or so to go, and he starts looking forward to getting home to his refuge — his reason for working in the first place — it’s all wrapped up together: a kiss from his wife, noise from the kids, the smell of supper cooking, his easy chair, the family meal at the table, a drink on the porch while she knits and the kids ask for help with their studies, a walk around the perimeter to make sure everything’s in order, and then to bed for some sexy time. But that’s one guy’s “home”; another guy will have a different version he looks forward to, which develops organically as the family grows. But in every case, it’s about much more than clean house and hot meal. It’s about that refuge for all your senses, and knowing you can count on it to be there.

  164. alcestiseshtemoa

    Is it truly post-feminist (beyond feminism), or has feminism become part of the background and hence no longer immediately identifiable (aka like fishes in the ocean)?

  165. tbc

    It’s about that refuge for all your senses, and knowing you can count on it to be there.
    This exactly. What is ‘home’ for one will not feel like ‘home’ for another, so it is important to cultivate that sense of ‘home’ that your husband (and you) wants. What the training in domesticity offers though is the flexibility needed for women to adapt to whatever varied circumstances life may throw at them.

    Today, life and husband and job may be comfortably ensconced in UMC suburban America. Tomorrow, through the call of God, or change in life season, or whatever, it may mean relocation to urban metropolis, and the next day to toughing it out on the mission field, and perhaps later on to living with kids or taking in parents. If a woman is skilled in the domestic arts, she will be able to adapt more easily to whatever life throws at her because favorite ingredients may not be around, usual habits may be hard to execute, etc.

    [ssm: ” What the training in domesticity offers though is the flexibility needed for women to adapt to whatever varied circumstances life may throw at them.” Yes, well-said. That’s a really important point for women to remember. The point of our domesticity isn’t to create some perfect showpiece home that is the envy of our friends; it is to provide that comforting space of rest and shelter for our husbands and families.]

  166. Jana

    In chili, I always add a bit of smoked paprika and a bit of dutch processed cocoa, it’s just gives it an extra kick. And chili always has beans and sweet potatoes in my house :)

  167. Stg58/Animal Mother

    SWEET POTATOES? IN CHILI?

    Why don’t you throw some crack cocaine in there too?

    [ssm: What? I put pumpkin puree in mine. :)]

  168. Jana

    @ Animal mother

    We absolutely love sweet potatoes, so I put it in everything. Also, I mostly make vegetarian chili because he isn’t a fan of meat (according to him, it’s too processed).

  169. feeriker

    Listen you varmints! Chili ain’t got no beans in it! Why I say I’m about to pull an old number six on this group of damn Yankees!

    *SIGH*

    I’ve got news for you Texans: chili AIN’T a Texas creation (although, as a Yankee who lived in Texas for five years, I came to prefer the Texas version of it as my favorite for a long while). There are an infinite number of regional variations of chili, each with its own unique twist. Mrs. feeriker hails from the Louisville, Kentucky area, which features its own unique variation (similar to Cincinnati chili, but much thicker and more flavorful -and yes, IT HAS BEANS IN IT, along with plenty of meat), something she makes regularly during the fall and winter months. While you Texans would probably wretch at the idea of pasta in chili (something I wasn’t keen on when I first met Mrs. feeriker), I can say without hesitation that it makes for a very filling and flavorful bowl of chili. And although Mrs. feeriker and I are not ones who normally use pre-mixed spice packages in anything we cook, we must commend the makers of Bloemer’s chili seasoning for their unique blend of spices that gives any pot of chili a lot of additional zest.

    So, while Kentucky chili won’t win any competitions in the Lone Star State, it will still give any other regional variation a run for its money in any other comparative or competitive venue.

  170. Cail Corishev

    Also, I mostly make vegetarian chili because he isn’t a fan of meat (according to him, it’s too processed).

    If that’s how your husband likes it, good on you for making it. But I wonder what he’s talking about, because there’s really nothing that’s less processed than meat. Cured meats can be another story, but steaks and roasts are about as unprocessed as it gets: kill the animal, skin and gut it, and start cutting pieces off. For ground meat, take some off the bone and grind it. That’s it. Most fresh vegetables get more “processing,” by the time they’re picked, sorted, washed, and bagged — and if they’re canned or frozen, there’s no comparison at all.

    But again: glad you make him what he likes, even if he’s a crazy person.

  171. M3

    Late to the party

    “Both would be working against their own natures, making themselves discontented without even knowing why.”

    I believe both Rollo and Doctor Jeremy made the same points recently regarding to what end feminism wanted to usurp power for if it was going against the nature of our gender? Sure we can have men all conform and do female roles and make all women conform and do male roles.. and to what end? Neither will be happy, both will be miserable. Each trying to fill the deficit value created by the other leaving their natural strengths trying to ‘perform’ what their complimentary person does naturally with ease.

    It’s a red pill truth that chaffes those outside of our sphere who do not wish to acknowledge it and wish to force an interchangeable gender androgyny on our society, we are all one and the same in the way we are built, think, experience, act, perform and do tasks.. with the exception of our genitals. That’s feminism.

    [ssm: Good points here, M3.]

  172. Pingback: Girls Relearning Domesticity

  173. Nice Turkey/Bad Politics

    It was never about freedom for women or equality between both genders. The whole point was the same Social Marxism that took place in Europe before us, seeking to divide and conquer the people, destroy the united family and community social structures, removing their abilities to be self-reliant, and forcing them to become dependent upon their Government instead. This is why, now, after feminism has already won, they are working so hard to remove all of our constitutional rights (including the 2nd amendment, which was written to protect people against their own tyrannical government), and (after claiming to reduce the national military spending budget), they actually increased that budget by magnitudes more to quickly fund programs like Prism to spy on all of us.

    I personally watched ABC News cut their live helicopter news feed just before the Police fired upon and physically attacked non-violent protesters for the Occupy Movement.

    Even Obamacare has absolutely nothing to do with Healthcare. It’s just another Federally mandated tax with a massive database of deeply personal information which we have zero privacy rights or control over. (Read the source code for healthcare (dot) org. It’s frightening what they will do with all our personal information, and we are forced to enter our information and agree to those terms before we even see a page with available pricing options for “healthcare”.)

    None of these have anything to do with national interests of health, safety, or security. It’s just more population control.

    Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving! Great Blog!
    (Nice Turkey Hunting pic at the top, too!)

  174. Pingback: Pie crust and politics (domesticity in a post-feminist world, Thanksgiving edition). | Sunshine Mary

  175. tacomaster

    Great points Cail Corishev. Could not have expressed it any clearer about domesticity.

    Regarding chili, I couldn’t fall asleep after my overnight shift so I made chili with cannellini beans and ground chicken Yes, I’m a Texan. I modified it with grilled tomatillos, and poblano and serrano peppers. It tastes amazing

  176. bike bubba

    Jana, here’s what I do pizza crust, courtesy of Peter Reinhart’s “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.”

    Mix:
    1 cup sourdough starter
    1 cup water
    1.5 tsp salt
    1 tsp yeast
    1.5 cups whole wheat flour
    bread flour to make dough–typically this will be about 2.5-3.5 cups

    (hint: use as little flour as possible while still making it kneadable–tacky to slightly sticky for a slack dough)

    Knead 10-15 minutes until dough passes windowpane test, form into ball, and coat lightly with oil. Place in bowl and cover with plastic wrap and kitchen towel, place in fridge to rise overnight.

    Next morning, take dough from fridge, let warm for an hour or so, cut into three portions and make each into a ball. Place on cookie sheet, spray lightly with oil and cover with plastic wrap and towel. Allow to rise until late afternoon.

    Remove from fridge, allow to warm, throw your pizzas, add toppings sparingly, and bake at at least 500F for 10 minutes. This will give you a deep golden crust that has a LOT more flavor than typical American bread.

    Stepping aside to allow Escoffier and others to add/correct. :^)

  177. Coastal Mama

    “If that’s how your husband likes it, good on you for making it. But I wonder what he’s talking about, because there’s really nothing that’s less processed than meat. .. kill the animal, skin and gut it, and start cutting pieces off.”

    Most people do not hunt their own meat nor keep free range cows on their property. They go to the grocery store and buy meat. Meat that is not organic, not coming from free range animals, and is coming from animals shot up to high heaven with synthetic hormones and all manner of chemicals.

  178. Cail Corishev

    I’m aware that conventional meat isn’t as healthy as pasture-raised meat, and certainly not as healthy as the meat I raise for myself. But it’s still not “processed” much compared to other foods, which is what I was remarking on. I mean, we’re talking chili here, so I assume we’re using tomatoes. Unless you’re buying local and organic, they’ve been dosed with far more “chemicals” than any animal could survive.

    At least we don’t have GMO cows with pig genes to give them 12 teats for 3 times the milk.

    Yet.

  179. Coastal Mama

    “I’m aware that conventional meat isn’t as healthy as pasture-raised meat, and certainly not as healthy as the meat I raise for myself. But it’s still not “processed” much compared to other foods”

    Well I googled the so called “lard” that SSM had pictured on her her pie porn page ;) and propyl gallate and BHA are in it.

    ” . I mean, we’re talking chili here, so I assume we’re using tomatoes. Unless you’re buying local and organic, they’ve been dosed with far more “chemicals” than any animal could survive.”

    Right but organic tomatoes are widely.

    “At least we don’t have GMO cows with pig genes to give them 12 teats for 3 times the milk.

    Yet.”

    Not yet, but what we do have is pigs and cows and chickens eating genetically modified corn and soy as feed. And all of them are pumped up on hormones and all manner of synthetic chemicals and that’s just what they do to them BEFORE they become “meat”.

  180. sunshinemary Post author

    Mmmmmm hormones….

    Hey, Ton, how do you make a hormone?

    Don’t pay her!

    Bwahahahahahaha…get it? Hormone / whore moan? Get it?

    Yeah. I have to go finish making cranberry sauce now.

  181. The Woman Margery

    @Costal Mama: “If finances are tight and one has to live in a lower middle class neighborhood and have their kids go to lower middle class schools, parents worry about the lifestyles of the people around them affecting their kids. Not to sound like a snob but it is a fact that upper middle class people lead saner, healthier,, more organized lives in virtually all areas”

    If the concern over outside influence is that great, you’re parenting wrong.

    The sign of a successful parent is being able to send their children out into the world and their children retaining the values and standards of the home before anything else. If you are relying on the outside world to essentially raise your children (read: “influence”) that’s a big problem in and of itself.

  182. Christian Identity Forum

    There is no more honorable and worthier profession than that of a mother and housewife. What a shame that so many women have bought into the lie perpetuated by the mainstream media and feminists, who are anything but feminine, that it is an unworthy profession.

  183. Pingback: Making and Canning Applesauce | On the Rock

  184. Coastal Mama

    “If finances are tight and one has to live in a lower middle class neighborhood and have their kids go to lower middle class schools, parents worry about the lifestyles of the people around them affecting their kids. Not to sound like a snob but it is a fact that upper middle class people lead saner, healthier,, more organized lives in virtually all areas”

    @ The Woman Margery, “If the concern over outside influence is that great, you’re parenting wrong.”

    – I disagree.

    @ The Woman Margery, “The sign of a successful parent is being able to send their children out into the world and their children retaining the values and standards of the home before anything else. If you are relying on the outside world to essentially raise your children (read: “influence”) that’s a big problem in and of itself.”

    – Who said anything about “relying on the outside world to raise my children”?

    I prefer to raise my children in an environment where the values they learn at home are reflected back to them, at least to some extent, when they walk out the door. That’s called “community”. Another word for it is “culture”.

  185. Pingback: Bang or Bride List | The Reinvention of Man

  186. Pingback: Why would a man want a housewife? | Sunshine Mary

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