Thursday, 26 February 2009

50s Housewife Quiz No. 1

I think this is supposed to be from a magazine that told women in the 1950s what was appropriate behaviour for a good wife.

Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.

All together gang. ‘Ridiculous.’

This is how it went down in the Khan household.

I was 19 when I got married so I didn’t really know what a wife’s role was. One of our first meals was a pizza mix out of the box. I made it on a cookie sheet and I topped it (no lie) with cut up hotdogs and raw hamburger. The stove caught on fire from the grease from the hamburger. I took it out, let the fire die down, and popped it back in the oven. I was completely insulted because Wahid wouldn’t even try a piece.

Next I made him a sandwich for lunch because I thought that is what wife’s do (my mother didn’t but I wanted to be a wife from television). I don’t remember the details; all I remember is ‘So, how was your lunch? Did you like it?’ “No, not really.” ‘Fine, make your own from now on.’

I worked evenings and Wahid worked days when we were first married and the kids were small. So I would make dinner before I went to work so that he could feed the kids by 5:00 when he got home. There was never, not once, a thought in my head that he was hungry and needed a good meal when he got home. It was all about the kids having a proper dinner and enough time to digest it before they went to bed at 7:00.

I started working days and got home later than Wahid so he started to do all the cooking. We realized that this was a win/win because I would rather clean and he would rather cook. And more than anything else the kids would rather eat what he made.

I do believe in planning the meals ahead so that it is easier for everyone in the house to cook. Each of the kids cooked one day a week when they got older and so they could pick out any recipe and they would write down the ingredients and Wahid would buy them. There were some interesting dinners. Nathan, for example, always made a roast chicken because all he had to do was throw it in the oven with potatoes and carrots.

When I started working till 3:00 and was the first one home I started cooking again.

After I was diagnosed with cancer I never cooked or even wiped a counter for almost two years. My idea of cleaning at the time was sweeping the room with a glance. Now, I may cook once or twice a week or I may not cook at all. Wahid completely goes with the flow and always tells me “Dearest, don’t worry about it I can take care of myself.” And then after working hard all day he comes home and cooks.

So let me just clarify this piece of advice once again.

Have dinner ready (Failed). Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return (Failed). This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs (He is not a misfit and knows that I think about him when I think about him because I tell him, and he is concerned for his own needs as he is not a baby and can take care of his own basic needs like food). Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed (So are most women and that is why we always had the agreement that whoever gets home first cooks. As far as the warm welcome needed; that always came in the shape of ‘Daddy’s home,' just like it comes now in the shape of ‘Grandpa’s here.')


flossy-p said...

hehehehe, I LOVE this bit:

"My idea of cleaning at the time was sweeping the room with a glance" !!!!!

It's totally made my day!

Delwyn said...

A woman after my own heart! Although now the kids have gone ( well almost - 1 out of 4 spends 1/2 the week here) I am really enjoying the task of cooking. When the family was young it felt like army food - bulk, boring and fast...and reheatable because we had a policy that they got it back the next night if they turned their noses up at it. I was a tough mum! Now I even think about how tired he may be and make sure there is a cold corona ready for him - why the difference - because I am a lady of leisure now and he is the sole breadwinner, and because I am not tired and run off my feet with the demands of school age kids, and because I enjoy it!

Lisa Lectura Creations said...

Hi Renee! Great post! I love the pic that showed how it was back then. Sure glad it's not expected today. Thanks for sharing your world!

Lisa :)

Delwyn said...

Renee: in answer to a question you posed earlier to me - the same age as you!!!

studio lolo said...

I'd love to come home, just once to a clean kitchen and a nice dinner ready and waiting for me. It'll never, ever happen.

I get home and my husband says (if he's not already eating) "So, what do you have planned for dinner?"
It's not that he expects dinner from me because he often makes his own and eats without me, but he asks because he'd rather have my cooking.

I've never been taken care of, ever. Next life I suppose.
My first husband was a great cook and a wife beater.
I'll keep the one I have. He may not cook for me but he sure is kind.

Aprons have really come back in style, have you noticed?
Not on this girl, no way!

I loved ths post. It's full of love, really.

I have something to mail to you and I can't find your address and it's making me crazy. Can you email it to me?

I think I would have made a good housewife in the 50's, but this ain't the 50's anymore ;)


ostrich girl said...

Renee I love all the stuff you write. I am having a time matching your childhood story to one of my paintings sooo I think I am just going to let it inspire a new painting.I can picture so many anglins of all the girls hanging on the steps listening to your brother's basement band!I have a show this fri night I will try to get some pics up so you can see it since you love art! I will get your little present and your little prize sent off to you next week! I am breathing! Hooray!

pRiyA said...

hahaha...i enjoyed that post. and that's some husband you have there...he cooks, he cleans,(and you are, much to my surprise, talking about indian male here too) wow!

the fainting is coming along dear. that's why there hasn't been much clogging lately.

Debra said...

In the Fifties women weren't expected to work (outside the home that is), so all their focus was on pleasing the "breadwinner". I think it is great that your husband likes to cook, and your children, wow, that's great.
My children would just open the fridge peer inside and exclaim "There's nothing to eat". Probably because it might entail physical movement on their part. Yet I remember my father cooking for us. Of course he was from a farming family where everyone took part.

Michelle said...


I,m so glad not to be a 50;s housewife, I think I would have shot myself....or my husband.

Actually, probably my husband :0)

And not cleaned up the mess he made either....I am slightly hysterical with tiredness and rambling but I do make me laugh.

Meghann said...

I think that paragraph was instrumental in the whole women's liberation thing :)
It is nearly impossible to do that when working, especially when you have kids. The only reason I am (mostly) able to do that is because I am home all day and don't clean as much as I should :s
If I clean, there has to be an easy dinner. If I don't clean, there will be a nicer dinner. He knows when he comes home what his dinner will be like by the chaos in the house :)
I send you happy, healing thoughts, prayers and hugs.

ben said...

speaking of uncle wahid the chef,when am i coming over for some curry? lol . see you in a couple of days!!

Lisa said...

wonderful renee, wonderful- i hardly ever cook these day- HOM has that under control.i really loved this post xx

Anonymous said...

Oh I love it Renee! I think my head just exploded a little when I read what a wife is "supposed" to do?

Man that would have made my Mom giggle.

Hugs and kisses!

PS- There are new and fun pictures up on my Facebook page!

MarionL said...

And don't forget that the poor woman was supposed to be wearing a dress, full makeup and heels to serve her hungry man!! No wonder the 1950's sparked the revolts of the 60's!! (I recall as a child that the women in our family served the men and children, then ate what was left over---if anything. Horrid!)

Hilarious story about your first dinner. I made rice and beans for my husband (we had to borrow $20 to pay the preacher who married us and were young and quite broke!) I thought it would be festive to dye the rice green with food color. My husband ate it, but to this day we laugh about the green rice!

I do most of the cooking, but my husband does most of the cleaning and laundry, so it's a fair trade. Let's hear it for equal rights!! LOL! Great post, Renee!

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha! You crack me up! I LOVE the line about sweeping the room with a glance! That is fantastic! I have been known to do the same myself!
The other thing I love in the pic is the "housefrau" wearing pearls! I apologize to anyone who takes the time to dress up like this for thier partner but seriously sisters...who wants to get out of their sweats and into pearls for a dinner meaatloaf dinner? Hmmm...just had a thought. Maybe that is why I am single!
Going out to buy pearls....

Anonymous said...

Just hillarious! I love this. I too failed at this standard I don't agree with anyway.
Glad to be back to reading your blog after babysitting grandkids at their home for 5 days. Lots of fun.
Thinking of you always, Barb

Faith said...

I enjoy your blog so much!

At our house we call dinner "The Dreaded Question":). It is often catch as catch can...But I will never forget my grandmother earnestly telling me a man is hungry when he gets home when I was a teenager.

I like the warm welcome bit at the end:)

Shelly said...

That is a very fair depiction of what went on over there, I liked the part "he is not a misfit" and "grampa's home" ... it is funny because I am always surprised when people can't wrap their brain around the fact that Peter does 90% of the cooking ... this is very normal to us (blue eyed/brown haired girls)as Dad did it too. Beside (and just "keeping it real") for all the recipes you have followed over the years you aren't a very good cook - while actually you do make a mean grilled cheese sandwich - what are you doing at 11:45?

Sarah said...

My Mom was a classic 50's Woman!! Dinner on the table as my Dad walked int the door - perfection of the period. For a very long time I tried to do the same. Basically I learned - no one appreciated it and I was killing myself trying to be prefect. So now - with my current hubby - we share the job - sometimes he cooks, bathes the kids, tucks them in and rubs backs, does laundry etc. - sometimes I do. Sometimes we order pizza. Not to say this was easy - I had to retrain him - his mom (who is only 7 years older than me) is a 50's Mom too. Turns out Jim is a pretty good 21st Century man!!! Isn't it amazing what they can do if you insist??
Love this one Renee - how are ya feeling hon?? Love, Sarah

Anonymous said...

Okay, cats out of the bag here Renee (we are by-the-way Irish twins, and I love my twin) but yes we are old enough that in one of our textbooks for home ec, it also stated this (not just for the 50), but can you believe it, we were instructed to follow that in the 70, new and improved ways to bring the dog a bone, and don’t forget the slippers and paper… Put on a smile, as you have just had the most precious and perfect day and all that comes with SMILE…lol

Our mother was way ahead of her day, because “All together gang. ‘Ridiculous.’” That would be her exact statement too…

- Dad did the shopping
- Wahid does the shopping
- Rick does the shopping
- (That would be for groceries only) we do the rest and yes that needs to be done by a women (why I am just shocked to see a man doing that! Lol)

- Dad did the cooking
- Wahid does the cooking
- Rick does the cooking

See the similar theme here we live what we learn!

Cleaning: BIG MISTAKE, I was happily and I do mean taking real pride in my ability to polish the coffee table, in comes my man from work, (yes supper is in the oven, smells good, baby is happy…) I look up, SMILE, and he says, my mom doesn’t polish… (Now for those that know me, it was not a silent response, no not at all, yes very heated…) YOUR MOM, YOUR MOM, I throw the polishing cloth down, get up, walk out saying…. Then go ahead let YOUR MOM do it and out I walk… (Funny, never heard that again)

Oh life, can we go back? No one was sick, people didn’t complain much and not about pain and sickness, we never heard of divorce, wife abuse or child abuse and most of all, OUR FAMILY NEVER had to worry about CANCER… (I love my sister and I wish she didn’t have to go through it, and look at you Renee you are such an amazing person, my kids say that about you, They both always say Aunty Renee is amazing and has done amazing things and is an amazing person to talk to, and they are right, you cheer us up, you have always been my sister, and supporter! You made me Laugh, I just about spit my coffee on my desk, I laughed so hard, then I had to escape to the bathroom to wipe the tears, What ever will we do without you… I know you will always be here.)

Sorry, I have to complete this reply, as this is the truth with a quote from Renee

“So let me just clarify this piece of advice once again.

Have dinner ready (Failed). Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return (Failed). This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs (He is not a misfit and knows that I think about him when I think about him because I tell him, and he is concerned for his own needs as he is not a baby and can take care of his own basic needs like food). Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed (So are most women and that is why we always had the agreement that whoever gets home first cooks. As far as the warm welcome needed; that always came in the shape of ‘Daddy’s home,' just like it comes now in the shape of ‘Grandpa’s here.')”

She is so insightful.

Love you to the moon and back

glorv1 said...

Renee, I have always made my husbands lunch for work, cooked dinner, lunch, and breakfast. I do all the house cleaning, wash clothes, bake, still make tortillas, remind him of appts. I have made for him, take care of all the bills, keep a budget, feed the dogs, take care of the dogs, and a lot more. Sometimes I get tired of it, but it would be worse if he weren't here for me to do what I do. I'm thankful I don't need to work and in fact yesterday he was off work and we were having breakfast and he said to me, and honestly this is the truth: "I just want you to know that I really appreciate how you keep us out of debt and manage all the bills so well." Those are his exact words. I felt pretty good. So, I'm just thankful.
Have a great day Renee.

Renee said...

Shelly -- having you over for a grilled cheese?

Love Renee

Linda Sue said...

Renee, I grew up with A Donna Reed mom, June Cleaver, Hariet Nelson- all rolled into one perfect wife , mother and bread winner...MOM- She always gave me advice of how to treat my husband- I rebelled thinking then I would be living with a baby man like my Dad, no thank you- aren't we all adults here?
I do have a fabulous meal on the table every night when he gets home- I do not clean very often, I might get to the laundry -only if the cats have had their way with it-I wear ridiculous outfits from the free bin- I do not spend money. My Mother was always horrified and thought that I was not holding up my half of the sky...your post makes me think that perhaps I ought to clean today...but there is that pile of wool over there that wants attention- to be poked into a starfish...for the cottage, you understand- priorities!

Renee said...

Oh Colette, you are always just perfect by being perfectly you.

I love you. xoxoxoxo

Noreen said...

Thank you for your great humour!

I was brought up with the image of the 50's wife. I became the perfect wife and mother from what others could see. My husband did not lift a finger around the house other than to put food in his mouth. This, for years, was "normal" to me.

My first batch of buns I was seventeen, just married and I expected perfection. The buns were like baseballs. Rock hard. I was so angry, I threw them out the back door. The bun pan did not survive either. Since then I have perfected the art of making buns and bread!

Because I had acquired a lot of skills, doing everything in and out of the house, I never had to depend on others for help when I filed for divorce and began raising my children on my own. I guess if there is to be a silver lining (for a brief eighteen and a half years) of living like a 50's woman, that was it!

I am no longer a 50's woman and haven't been for sixteen years. The man I have chosen to spend my life with is just as involve with everything in the home as I am. If I am not able to prepare or help in meal preparation, he steps up to the plate. Life is great!

Thank you Renee for your gift of bringing the best out of any situation! Take care my friend.

Heather said...

hahaha, well, i usually do have dinner ready in the evening-- because I am hungry and I like a good dinner, haha. Him coming home for it is just a bonus ;)
That's sweet that your husband does so much for you. What a good one!

Lydia said...

Ah, yes, reality, and a good man:)

Shelly said...

mmmmm delicious … thank you – I even enjoyed the burnt parts!


Poetic Dreams said...

I added ya to my list to follow hun. I hope ya doing well. Sorry I made ya gringe. I want to thank ya for ya sweet comment.
Wishing ya a wonderful day.
Big Hugs~

Jeannine said...

Well I just have to let you know that your Mom raised a perfect son and I am so lucky to have him as my husband. He also cooks and cleans and believes in sharing responsibilites. I have to say I think he is a much better cook than I am especially curry which I think was greatly influenced by Wahid. Jamie also learned from his Dad and when he was young loved to bake and he still likes to cook. I too was like Colette this morning and almost spit out my coffe as I was reading your comments. I just loved your comments and the stories you shared with us.

Love You Always XOXOXO

studio lolo said...

I loved reading all these funny comments and recollecions! I'm glad I shared my "happy" memories with just husband stuff. Ugh, if I ever revisited dinnertime as a child!
Thanks for your sweet, loving comment. I love you back.

Blue is my favorite color. It will look nice alongside the ocean.

Time to shower and get ready to see my 4-legged charges. Just 3 today.
Have a gentle night and pleasant dreams!


Every Photo Tells A Story said...

Well, in my eyes, you certainly didn't fail! You were a GREAT success, homegirl ;) Getting one's man to cook and be self-sufficient is the art of being a "SMART" woman. You get a big, fat A+ for that, Renee!



cat said...

i hope i can type. i'm still laughing my ass off!

every new thing i tried to cook, i did at least 2 things wrong, but my husband was too afraid to say anything. i think all the cussing scared him. he told me years later that every other word out of my mouth when i was cooking, was a cussword.

men aren't the ones who need wives. it's us wives who need wives!

i love, love, LOVED your post!

Bella Sinclair said...

Now, see? Do you see what's foreign about this picture to me? Clearly, the husband is appreciative of his hard-working wife. What's that?

Then again, I think it goes both ways. Most of the time, I'm too wrapped up in taking care of the kids to appreciate him. I do all the cooking and cleaning and errands and child-rearing, and whenever I start feeling resentful (which is often), I have to remember that he supports all of us.

Remember that awful perfume commercial with that song:
I can bring home the bacon,
Fry it up in a pan,
And never ever let you forget you're a man!

Ug! That's what I grew up with, and the thought that women had to do it all was a humongous curse.

Ok, last thing. Promise. When I was younger, I dreamed of marrying a man who could cook well and who had a deep voice. I got neither. :)

Every Photo Tells A Story said...

My Answer:

Next Time
by Mary Oliver

Next time what I'd do is look at
the earth before saying anything. I'd stop
just before going into a house
and be an emperor for a minute
and listen better to the wind
or to the air being still.

When anyone talked to me, whether
blame or praise or just passing time,
I'd watch the face, how the mouth
has to work, and see any strain, any
sign of what lifted the voice.

And for all, I'd know more -- the earth
bracing itself and soaring, the air
finding every leaf and feather over
forest and water, and for every person
the body glowing inside the clothes
like a light.

*Have a lovely night, and lovelier morning!

ostrich girl said...

Hey Renee those monkies go to bed at 8:00 and my best friend right now is caffiene! I can't wait for you to see the pics from the show ! I better go paint!Talk soon xoxo Sheri DeBow

I am... said...

This was such a great post! I love the warmth of true family it gave me. I also love the tale of the pizza from the box!! My dad used to make those for us on Saturday nights as kids, but would top them with bologna, raw bacon, and cheese slices!!


Anonymous said...

You are NOT a horrible friend. Quite the opposite and I am SO happy to have you in my life. What is that Jerry Maguire line...You complete me! (Corny enough for ya?)
Much love to you my friend.

p.s. Did your guest arrive yet?

My Journey to Hope said...

Wow, times have changed! I got married at 19, too. I started off trying to cook these big southern meals. But after a few years of hating it, we realized that he actually liked cooking, so I stopped. Thank God for great husbands!


Anonymous said...

Oh how cool is that, to have a sister who makes YOU her priority. That is so wonderful. I am happy she is coming home soon. are love, and you deserve all the love that is being bestowed on you!
Biggest hugs,

lk moonwood said...

Hi Renee,Thank you for your kind words of encouragement on my blog, and thank you for the wonderful visit I just took here on your blog! I really like this post about the so-called "ideal" and the reality. You've worked things out so well with your hubby - congratulations!

Tessa said...

Now, this had been giggling and snorting with glee the whole way through. As for 'sweeping the room with a glance' - that is an all time classic, Renee. Hoot!

Taylor said...

Joining Ben for Uncle Wahids curry sounds a million times better than Mickey's infamous condiment sandwiches...

(Thank God Gord cooks; it seems not to be a Ste.Marie woman trait...)

did I hear you say "coexist?"

Dawn said...

I hate cleaning, I so think your idea of cleaning is the BEST I have ever heard... that sweeping glance so works for me.

I can't cook pizza for the life of me, my kids always said "Are we having frisbees tonight mum when I cooked them" When we went to a proper pizza restaurant they were amazed at how edible the base was

lmao xxx

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

I think we (those of us old enough to remember the good households of the Cleavers, etc.) were at a disadvantage about how homes were supposed to look and how wives & husbands were supposed to act. My mother didn't go around in high heels & welcome Daddy with a kiss while holding a spoon. And, being from the south & my mother at home most of the time, our main meal was the mid-day one. I even came home from school for "dinner". "Supper" was a much smaller meal than the noonday one.
Our house was always spotless, neither of my parents were unfaithful to one another, so it was a great shock to me when I found that being unfaithful was much more commonplace that I had ever been led to believe could happen. The Cleavers certainly were true blue to one another.
Until now married life has been a disappointment. I just hope I can live out the rest of my life in the happy situation I now find myself.
Renee, you always give us so much to think about & ponder.