of little tasks, of little cares, and little duties, but which, when added up together, makes a grand sum total of human happiness; she is not expected to do any grand work; her province lies in a contrary direction - in gentleness, in contentment, in housewifery, in care and management of her children, in sweetening her husband's cup of life.
A husband soon becomes tired of grand performances on the piano, of crochet and worsted work, and of other fiddle-faddle employments; but he can always appreciate a comfortable, clean, well-ordered, bright, cheerful, happy home, and a good dinner.
A well-cooked dinner imparts to the happy recipient health, and peace, and content. Half the household miseries and three-fourths of the dyspepsia in England would, if cookery were better understood, be done away with!
A good dinner is absolutely essential to the health, to the very existence of yourself and your husband; and how, if it be left to the tender mercies of the present race of cooks, can you have it?
They manage these things better in Sweden. There the young ladies of wealthy families cook - actually themselves cook - the dinners; and instead of their considering it a disgrace, and to be horridly low and vulgar, they look upon it as one of their greatest privileges!
It is a pity, too, that we do not take a leaf out of the book of our neighbours the French. Every woman in France is a good cook; good cookery with them is a rule - with us it is the exception.
High time that every wife, let her station be either high or low, should look into the matter herself and remedy the crying evil of the day.
Extract from ADVICE TO A WIFE, 1877
Of earthly goods the best is a good Wife