To make me the best housewife ever was my mother’s ultimate goal. It surpassed all dreams of higher education. A lady only had a career, if absolutely necessary, to make herself more eligible and work until such time as she could take up the post of ‘housewife’.
And so my mother spent endless (endless) hours teaching me how to cook, bake, crochet, sew, embroider and keep house. She taught me how to make beds with knife edge precision corner folding that would make an Army Captain wince. Knitting went by the way side when, much to her disgust, I simply couldn’t coordinate two needles.
During this hardcore training process, she imparted handy household tips. Mastering these would set me apart from other contenders in the housewife stakes and make me the ultimate ‘good catch’.
Problem was, I never really listened. I wasn’t interested in learning how to make silver glimmer and crystal sparkle. Marks on a table could, and were, easily covered by a coaster. If cooking vegetables generated a smell, I simply opened the nearest window. I couldn’t get my head out of the books until I emerged without spouse but with the dreaded career! My mother’s sense of failure was obvious – as much as was my sense of relief!
The other day, I found some of these household hints she saved through the years. With the passage of time, they seem quite…eh…useful!
To counteract odour
A cut onion placed in a dark corner will counteract odour.
A pinch of Bread Soda in a soufflé helps to prevent it subsiding when cooked.
Mark on a polished table
For heat marks on a polished table, use cigarette ash applied with a soft cloth.
Fishy smelling cooking utensils
If a saucepan or even a spoon or fork smells unpleasantly fishy, wash it in the usual way, then sprinkle dry mustard powder on it and rub with a wet rag. Then rinse.
For a burn
Rub gently over with a piece of butter.
To prevent the smell of boiling cauliflower, put a piece of bread in the water.
Mix one teaspoon of plate powder, one tablespoon of ammonia, one teaspoon of methylated spirits and one teacup water. Dip cloth into this solution and leave to dry. A towelling cloth is most suitable.
Put a small teaspoonful of sugar on the palm of your hand. Add a few drops of olive oil. Rub it in, then wash in warm water to get nice smooth hands.