Thoughts Inspired by Vintage Cookbooks…

I recently found, a website devoted to vintage cookbooks, recipes, and cooking techniques. Some of the cookbooks posted here date to the 16oo’s, and as I read through the recipes I feel like I’m taking a step back in time. These books are a really cool glimpse into what life was like for homemade mothers hundreds of years ago. In many ways, these women were no different than we are today. They had the same desires to make their families feel warm and safe and comfortable. Their daily challenges no doubt kept them up at night. And they strove to share love and spread happiness through the common bond of a family meal.

As some of these cookbooks reveal, women of recent centuries were not given a choice whether or not to marry, have children, or forgo careers and outside pursuits. The 1910 cookbook Practical Suggestions for Mother and Housewife makes it pretty clear: “Marriage is the crown of woman’s life…There is a presumption that the unmarried woman has missed the central and significant reason for her existence, the perpetuation and nurture of the race, and that the burden is upon her for compensating society by other services for this lost opportunity.” I was given the wonderful opportunity to attend college and expand my horizons through education and world travel. When I chose to make my family my primary occupation, I did so knowing that I was free to choose otherwise, and that freedom was both liberating and a bit overwhelming. I feel grateful to live in the time I do, and to my sisters who came before me and fought hard to open the world to women, I say “Thank you!”

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