"Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a farm and live entirely surrounded by cows–and china." Charles Dickens

July 18, 2011

Farmwife Monday

The winsome cover of Favorite Recipes for Country Kitchens.
The cookbook features many images throughout and great recipes.
One of my pastimes is trolling the internet for interesting images and collecting vintage cookbooks. When I was doing research for my book, The Pantry, a few years ago, I enjoyed searching the Library of Congress archive, and so many others, for pantry and kitchen images. Invariably they would include farmwives.

Monday on a farm or in a household was often known as "blue Monday" because this was traditionally the day that wash was done. Does it come from the "bluing" that was used or how women felt when they did their laundry? I'm not certain. I do know that my Old Order Mennonite friends do laundry with the old washtubs and wringers and I really don't feel I can complain. It's one of the chores I like to do, actually, but around here it gets done when it needs to.

So in honor of "Blue Monday" I want to inaugurate "Farmwife Monday" when I will (try to remember to) share different images that I have found here and there. Some of these may or may not be in the public domain so I like to give credit when I can.

Here is the entire image on the front and back cover.

This charming image graces the cover of Favorite Recipes for Country Kitchens, written in 1945 and published by General Foods (there is another similar version published in 1943 for Calumet). It is nostalgic for what many of us idealize about farm living: a well-coiffed, apron-clad mother ringing the dinner bell, in a white farmhouse––complete with picket fence––overlooking rolling hills, a well-kept valley farm and garden, and surrounded by a smiling family and farmhands. We know that farming is really hard work, dirty and sweaty but one can't help but be enamored with this kind of winsome image, even those who know the reality of farm life. I also like this image because I have some hollyhocks around my farm cottage and the rolling, open landscape is evocative of our own valley farm. [I also like that 1945 is the same year that my grandparents––along with my mother and her siblings––moved from New Jersey to a farm in New Hampshire. I have often written about that farm on my other blog, In the Pantry, and it will always be a source of happy memory and occasional pangs of nostalgic longing.]

A few months ago I came across the blog, Midlife Farmwife. It is written by Donna O'Shaughnessy who lives on an organic pork and beef farm in Illinois. I immediately contacted her because I felt badly for using a similar blog name, only in reverse. She was extremely kind about it, and most forgiving, and even gave me a nod. Since then I enjoy checking out her blog regularly. There are so many wonderful farm blogs out there and so little time! And so many farmwives of all kinds, on farms of all types or even those who have farm life in their soul somehow. The internet is such a blessing for connection in what can be an isolating life at times: it's like a modern day party line.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and happy Monday!

You come back when you're ready!


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