pear tree log: I started this blog to keep my younger son, Jonny, in touch with life in Lincolnshire, while he spent a year working in China. That year turned into five! Now he is home and training to become a physics teacher. This is simply a patchwork quilt of some of the things I enjoy - life in rural Lincolnshire, our animals, friends, architecture, books, the gardens, and things of passing interest.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

A wife's life is made up of little pleasures...

... 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


  1. I'd love to read this post....but I have to make dinner!
    Jane x

  2. It appears that British cooking has had a bad reputation for a long time.
    I've been watching reruns of old "Two Fat Ladies" cooking show on TV. There are very few of the dishes they make that I would be interested in eating!

  3. Hi Jane, I'm sure it was delicious too! (Did you lose at Killer Scrabble?)

    Hi Ms Sparrow, Two Fat Ladies were an interesting combination of personalities. I used to enjoy watching them and I even bought their book, but I didn't cook their recipes!!

  4. I have to say that I am a lackluster cook. The food I make is healthy food but rather boring, maybe it's my English blood.But I do provide fresh garden veggies in the summer so that's something to my credit. And yes, men do love a good meal.

  5. Oh dear. I fear I am falling down on the job, particularly since Gordon has been doing most of the cooking lately! I do serenade him on the piano occasionally!

  6. Elaine, it was either that or chop logs!
    Jane x

  7. Hi Jenny, I'm not a terrible cook, it's more that I don't really enjoy it. When I was sorting through my books yesterday and I came across 'Advice to a Wife' and read the bit about terrible English cooking, I couldn't help thinking how little has changed in 150 years. No, that's unfair, a lot of people do enjoy cooking and cook very well, it's just that the reputation lingers. Possibly!

    Knatolee - remember the advice 'A husband soon tires of grand performances on the piano' best get in that kitchen and cooking, like a good wifey!! NB I am joking. I would LOVE to have a husband that cooks. George cooks porridge for breakfast. I don't think he knows how to do anything else.

    Jane, In that case, cooking dinner was the right choice.

  8. How could I have gone so wrong?

  9. Joanne, Thank goodness we live in different times!


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