Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Household Budget

A weird thing happened last night, all my cookery books came tumbling down off the shelf, and one of my books which belonged to my mother is a cook book called : The "Royal Hostess", and it belonged to my mother before she got married, it has her maiden name imprinted on the cover, and inside it says "PRINTED IN SOUTH AFRICA PUBLISHED BY ROYAL BAKING POWDER (PTY.) LTD.  FIRST EDITION 1953", which makes it 57 years old.

I have used this book since a child and got some of my baking recipes out of it, but the thing about this cook book is just what it says, it is a Hostess book and it tells you what cuts of meat to buy at the butchers, etc. It is really interesting.  When the book fell the hard cover became detached, so I need to stick it back together somehow.  Anyway, I was paging through the book and came across a section right at the back that says "The Household budget", and it's all kinds of tips on how to plan your budget.  So I was just skimming through it when I got to the last paragraph on the page that read:

                                A good housekeeper will put out the day's (or week's if preferred) requirements regularly and not leave it to servants to help themselves to stores.  Native servants are notoriously extravagant, but they will usually co-operate in economies if approached in the right way.
                               Put out weekly supply of their food - sugar, porridge, samp or beans, etc., and tell them that it must last a week.  Show them how to measure out by cup the amount for each day.  In small households - where only one servant is kept - it is false economy to buy separate amounts of meat etc. for the servant, and to cook an entirely separate meal.                                 
Once or twice a week the servant can be given an extra amount of meat to cook as he or she likes, but generally it can be planned that there is sufficient left over from the family meal for the servant.

I was quite taken aback with it, thinking oh my goodness this cook book actually is quite racist, but then I looked up the work "servant" and Wikipedia told me the following:
Servant is an older English term for "domestic worker", though not all servants worked inside the home.
So it's not just South Africa that had servants, they had them all over the world, even in Ireland in the last century, wealthy families had servants.

I suppose having come through the whole apartheid thing and everyone being so politically correct it just seemed strange to read it in print.  Interesting.

2 comments:

Gail said...

OMG politically correct is so over-rated, in fact, its my more recent aim to be as non PC as I can.

I generally find that the more PC people appear to be the more horrific they are in real life when no one is looking!

My great grand mother called her servant 'the savage' now thats un-PC, go grammy!!!

Rose said...

Lol, that is so funny Gail - "The savage"! In fact there are loads of historical accounts by the British, how they landed in Africa and came face to face with Savages, but then again they weren't domestic workers! :)