Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Setting a Frugal Table, A Ladies Guide for Young and Inexperienced Housewives.

August 4, 1888

Dear Readers,

If we take the average income of the prosperous American household of the medium range of intelligence and culture, we shall find it to be from $1500.00 to $2000.00 a year. Young professional men and young merchants and financial men who have married and see families growing up about them do not usually exceed these amounts in the years when they are laying the foundations of future fortunes. When the ordinary expenses of living are considered, the table should not consume more than one third of the entire amount. Suppose this to be $1500.00. An average rent would be $25.00 per month; while in some cities it would be more, in many localities it would be considerably less, especially in young and spreading communities and their suburbs, and upon the line of Metropolitan railways; in perfectly respectable city neighborhoods a floor or a part of a small house can be rented for/from $25.00 to $30.00 a month. Fuel for a cooking-stove and two other fires, and lights, would cost about $8.00 per month, providing coke were used in cities, and the cinders of coal utilized, and if some of the lighting were done by kerosene. Upon this point it may be well to say here that actual tests have shown possible the entire lighting of a four-story city house with kerosene at an average cost of $3.00 per month. Then would come household wear and tear and medical attendance, that would probably be covered by $100.00 a year, the fact being remembered that the doctor's visits can be largely affected by the mother's own care of her family, and chiefly by keeping them properly nourished. Church dues, literature, and amusements would require at least $60.00 a year. And this estimate would leave $300.00 for clothing.

Now that you have these figures dear ones, I shall show you in my next bit of advice how to break down our first bill of fare which is suitable for any season when fresh vegetables are available.

Cream of beets,
Fried cauliflower
Breast of lamb with stuffed potatoes
Stewed beets with brown sauce
Marianne puddings with cream sauce
Apples, nuts, black coffee

Respectfully Yours
Mrs. Elsey Whittard