Tag Archives: Godey’s

How to Make Beautiful Homes (1865)

The greater part of our population are waiting till they can afford to have pleasant homes, forgetting that they can at no time afford to have any other. We take the color of our daily surroundings, and are happier, more amiable, stronger to labor and firmer to endure, when those surroundings are pleasing and in good taste. To possess these important qualities they need not be expensive. True beauty is cheaper than we think.

"Our native grape. Grapes and their culture. Also descriptive list of old and new varieties" (1893)

“Our native grape. Grapes and their culture. Also descriptive list of old and new varieties” (1893)

The first charm of a home, within and without, is thorough neatness, and this is the result of habit, not outlay. It is oftener cheaper than filth. Paint the house if you can; if not, whitewash: but in any case let it be in thorough repair.

Let there be no loose shingles or dangling clapboards, or gates hanging by a broken hinge. These hints favor thrift as well as taste.

Let the house be sufficiently shaded. This will pay in comfort, wear of furniture, and lack of flies. If you cannot afford green blinds, you can always afford a green tree or two, that costs nothing but labor and patience, and will shelter you from the sun in summer and the wind in winter.

Let your turf be smooth and firm as velvet, and enforce the death penalty upon weeds with an unsparing hand. No man, rich or poor, can afford to raise weeds. They choose the richest spots, where flowers, or fruit, or vegetables might grow, and send abroad their seeds as missionaries of evil into every nook and corner.

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.



House and Home: Going to School in 1887

At five or six years old, the school-life of the majority of children begins, and the food question, that which will best supply waste and build up the growing body, assumes a new importance. Children are sometimes difficult to manage in regard to food. They have their “notions,” they imbibe prejudices, and are distressed by tastes which parents frequently consider should be ignored. Children are quite dependent on the presiding genius of the family, not only for the kind of food they get to eat, but for the time allotted to them in which to eat it. After long years of experience, I have found few families in which children were considerately and deliberately and zealously provided for. A hasty and indigestible breakfast is generally gulped down; a piece of bread and butter, with or without a scrap of cold meat, and a piece of dried or soggy cake is picked up for lunch, and upon this the active young body does its work. No wonder children grow pinched and sallow, and either succumb to the early inroads of disease, or struggle with all forms of dyspepsia.

The food may and should be plain, but it should be of the best, carefully and thoroughly cooked for school children, and served so as to give them abundance of time to eat without hurry, and start well the process of digestion before starting upon the school work of the day. Mothers often complain that their children will not eat healthful food—oatmeal and the like. The reason of this is frequently because the meal is not good, or well, or at least not regularly well-cooked. Some mothers do not even know the difference between one kind of oatmeal and another, or how it should be cooked, or with what it is best and most healthfully served, and will not take the trouble to cultivate healthful tastes by preparing nourishing and simple food in its most attractive way.



Pickle Recipes: Godey’s Lady’s Book

These recipes appeared in the November 1862 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book.


The flavoring ingredients of Indian pickles are a compound of curry powder, with a large proportion of mustard and garlic.

The following will be found something like the real mango pickle, especially if the garlic be used plentifully. To each gallon of the strongest vinegar put four ounces of curry powder, same of flower of mustard (some rub these together with half a pint of salad oil), three of ginger, bruised, and two of turmeric, half a pound (when skinned) of eschalots slightly baked in a Dutch oven, two ounces of garlic prepared in like manner, a quarter of a pound of salt, and two drachms of Cayenne pepper.

Put these ingredients into a stone jar, cover it with a bladder wetted with the pickle, and set it on a trivet by the side of the fire during three days, shaking it up three times a day; it will then be ready to receive gherkins, sliced cucumbers, sliced onions, button onions, cauliflowers, celery, broccoli, French beans, nasturtiums, capsicums, and small green melons. The latter must be slit in the middle sufficiently to admit a marrow-spoon, with which take out all the seeds; then parboil the melons in a brine that will bear an egg; dry them, and fill them with mustard seed, and two cloves of garlic, and bind the melon round with packthread.

Large cucumbers may be prepared in like manner.

Green peaches make the best imitation of the Indian mango.

The other articles are to be separately parboiled (excepting the capsicums) in a brine of salt and water strong enough to bear an egg; taken out and drained, and spread out, and thoroughly dried in the sun, on a stove, or before a fire for a couple of days, and then put into the pickle.

Anything may be put into this pickle, except red cabbage and walnuts.

It will keep several years.

Observations: — To the Indian mango pickle is added a considerable quantity of mustard-seed oil, which would also be an excellent warm ingredient in our salad sauces. (more…)


Hints for Home Comforts from 1855

This list appeared in the November 1855 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform and educate the women of America. In addition to extensive fashion descriptions and plates, the early issues included biographical sketches, articles about mineralogy, handcrafts, female costume, the dance, equestrienne procedures, health and hygiene, recipes and remedies and the like.

Hints for Home Comforts

  • A short needle makes the most expedition in plain sewing.
  • When you are particular in wishing to have precisely what you want from a butcher’s, go and purchase it yourself.
  • One flannel petticoat will wear nearly as long as two, if turned behind part before, when the front begins to wear thin.
  • People in general are not aware how very essential to the health of their inmates is the free admission of light into their houses.
  • A leather strap, with a buckle to fasten, is much more commodious than a cord for a box in general use for short distances; cording and uncording is a nasty job.
  • Sitting to sew by candlelight by a table with a dark cloth on it is injurious to the eyesight. When no other remedy presents itself, put a sheet of white paper before you.
  • People very commonly complain of indigestion; how can it be wondered at, when they seem, by their habit of swallowing their food wholesale, to forget for what purpose they are provided with teeth.
  • Never allow your servants to put wiped knives on your table, for, generally speaking, you may see that they have been wiped with a dirty cloth. If a knife is brightly cleaned, they are compelled to use a clean cloth.
  • There is not anything gained in economy by having very young and inexperienced servants at low wages; they break, waste, and destroy more than an equivalent for higher wages, setting aside comfort and respectability.
  • No article in dress tarnishes so readily as black crape trimmings, and few things injure it more than damp; therefore, to preserve its beauty on bonnets, a lady in nice mourning should in her evening walks, at all seasons of the year, take as a companion an old parasol to shade her crape.
  • A piece of oil-cloth (about twenty inches long) is a useful appendage to a common sitting-room. Kept in the closet, it can be available at any time to place jars upon, etc, which are likely to soil your table during the process of dispensing their contents; a wing and duster are harmonious accompaniments to the oil-cloth.
  • In most families many members are not fond of fat; servants seldom like it—consequently there is frequently much wasted; to avoid which, take off bits of suet fat from beefsteaks, etc, previous to cooking; they can be used for puddings. With good management, there need not be any waste in any shape or form.
  • Nothing looks worse than shabby gloves; and, as they are expensive articles in dress, they require a little management. A good glove will last six cheap ones with care. Do not wear your best gloves to concerts or assemblies where full dress is not required— the heat of the gas, etc, gives a moisture to the hands, that spoils the gloves; do not wear them in very wet weather; as carrying umbrellas, and drops of rain, spoil them.
  • A given quantity of tea is similar to malt— only giving strength to a given quantity of water, as we find therefore any additional quantity is waste. Two small teaspoonfuls of good black tea, and one three parts full of green, are sufficient to make three teacupfuls agreeable, the water being put in, in a boiling state at once; a second edition of water gives a vapid flavor to tea.
  • It may sound like being over particular, but we recommend persons to make a practice of fully addressing notes, etc, on all occasions; when, in case of their being dropped by careless messengers (which is not a rare occurrence), it is evident for whom they are intended, without undergoing the inspection of any other parties bearing a similar name.
  • Children should not be allowed to ask for the same thing twice. This may be accomplished by parents, teacher (or whoever may happen to have the management of them), paying attention to their little wants, if proper, at once, when possible. The children should be instructed to understand that, when they are not answered immediately, it is because it is not convenient. Let them learn patience by waiting.
  • We know not of anything attended with more serious consequences than that of sleeping in damp linen. Persons are frequently assured that they have been at a fire for many hours, but the question is as to what sort of fire, and whether they have been properly turned, so that every part may be exposed to the fire. The fear of creasing the linen, we know, prevents many from unfolding it, so as to be what we consider sufficiently aired; but health is of more importance than appearances; with gentleness, there need be no fear of want of neatness.
  • If the weather appears doubtful, always take the precaution of having an umbrella when you go out, particularly in going to church; you thereby avoid incurring one of three disagreeables: in the first place, the chance of getting wet— or encroaching under a friend’s umbrella— or being under the necessity of borrowing one, consequently involving the trouble of returning it, and possibly (as is the case nine times out of ten) inconveniencing your friend by neglecting to return it. Those who disdain the use of umbrellas generally appear with shabby hats, tumbled bonnet ribbons, wrinkled silk dresses, &c. &c., the consequence of frequent exposure to unexpected showers, to say nothing of colds taken, no one can tell how.
Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.


A Tribute to Old Maids

In a little work entitled “Our Peculiarities,” by Viscountess Combermere, there is the following fine tribute to the class of old maids:

These single women, whom it is the cant of society to ridicule, may have often postponed their own settlement in life from the highest motives; filial devotion has, perhaps, engrossed them so entirely in early life that no selfish object diverted them from its holy duties.

It was sufficient to satisfy affection and to supersede hope; for the devoted, generous child, from the intensity of her love, has felt that the future must ever be a blank, when the interest that engrosses the present is withdrawn by death; and this dreary prospect adds another motive to her tenderness.