Many people who know me and my household, or who are familiar with me on my blog and social media, know how much I love old books. My favorites are the ones that offer advice for recipes, households, gardening, and farming. In the days those books were written, that advice was practical. These days, living like this is viewed as the “prepper” or “survivalist” lifestyle. To me, it just makes sense.
And so, I tend to study books like these. One such book that I simply love is called Things Mother Used to Make, A Collection of Old Time Recipes by Lydia Maria Gurney. It is filled, primarily, with old recipes, but it also has many household tips inside as well.
It was published in New York, NY in 1914 and as far as I know, is still considered a Public Domain title. If it is not, I am not aware and mean no infringement of any kind. I simply want to pass along some of the amazing information found in the book, and even offer it for your own catalog, here, on Amazon. It is free for those with a Kindle, or anyone who can read their content on the Amazon platform itself. If you have any questions about this, feel free to contact me personally, or drop a comment below. I’m sure you’ll love the book as much as I do!
These household hints are all found in the Appendix of the book, and not laid out in any sort of fashion.
Things to keep in or near your sink:
- A dishcloth
- A small brush for vegetable cleaning
- Two separate cloths, always kept perfectly clean: one for washing the dishes and one for washing the sink after finishing the dishes
Make your own shortening:
Never throw small pieces of fat away after trimming beef, lamb, or pork. Instead, put them in an iron skillet, if you have one. You can use any kind of skillet if you don’t. Cook them down until you have only scraps left.
At this point, peel a potato, wash it, and cut it into thin slices. Cook these in the fat for about 30 minutes to clarify it, then strain it through a cloth. This will be good for anything you normally use shortening for, except pie crusts.
Once you finish off a jar of pickles, keep the juice. You can use it to make salad dressings with, as it tastes better than plain vinegar for this purpose.
Keep lemon slices near the sink where you wash your hands. This removes all sorts of stains.
To tenderize tough cuts of meat, put them in water to boil, adding one tablespoon of vinegar.
When using raisins or currants in cakes or puddings, mix them with a little dry flour to keep them from falling to the bottom.
Save all your little pieces of hand soap that are no longer large enough to use, putting them in a cup or a box until you have about a cup’s worth. Add them to a pot with a bit of water to boil and boil them for a few minutes. Remove to cool and when it is, press into a brand new cake of soap.
Always save bits of strong string and wrapping paper. You never know when you’ll need it, and having it on hand is incredibly convenient.
Save all your “heels” and leftover bits of bread in a glass jar. You can brown them in a hot oven to eat with soup, or you can bake and crush them for use as bread crumbs. In the latter case, you can season them particularly well with garlic or dried herbs, for crusting fish, pork chops, and more. This saves more money than you might think!
More Hints on the Way
I hope you’ve enjoyed this bit of information. If you have household tips of your own that save you time, money, or space in your home, be sure to drop them in the comments below so that everyone can share! If you’re a blogger, and have written posts on this topic, drop those too! I’d love to read them.
Until next time, thanks for stopping by 🙂