Tuesday 14 October 2008

Don't forget to 'feed the brute' well

Yes, these are the words of Blanche Ebbutt who in 1913 penned some 'must dos' for new brides. Apparently the state of your marriage ladies has a lot to do with the state of your partner's digestion.

Blanche wrote Don'ts for Husbands and Don'ts for Wives. I have written some posts featuring Blanche's advice for men but today I am going to feature a few of her tips for women, about food.
  1. Don't talk to your husband about anything of a worrying nature until he has finished his evening meal.

  2. Don't buy expensive food and have it ruined in the cooking. If you are not up to French dishes, be satisfied with English ones cooked to perfection.

  3. Don't insist in frying steak when your husband likes it grilled, or in serving his eggs hard boiled when he likes them milky.

  4. Don't be afraid of cold meat. With the use of a little intelligence you will find delicious ways of serving up 'left overs'. Some men like it, but cold mutton has wrecked many happy homes.

  5. Don't give your husband burnt porridge.

  6. Don't be careless about the way in which meals are served when you and your husband are home alone. Dainty surroundings do much to make eating an agreeable process, instead of a mere means of keeping oneself alive.

  7. Don't despise the domestic potato. The boiled potato is the rock on which many a happy home has foundered.

  8. Don't let your husband off the carving of the joint because he doesn't like doing it or does it badly. You have plenty of other things to do, and, besides, you don't want to show him up as a helpless man.

I couldn't resist, here are a couple of her tips about dress.

  1. Don't let your husband wear a violet tie with grass-green socks. If he is unhappily devoid of colour sense, he must be forcibly restrained, but don't be sarcastic about his taste in fashion.

  2. Don't allow yourself to get into the habit of dressing carelessly when there is only your husband to see you. Depend upon it, he has no use for faded gowns and badly dressed hair, and he abhors the sight of curling pins as much as other men do. He is a man after all, and if his wife does not take the trouble to charm him, there are plenty of others who will.

So take out those hairpins ladies, put on your 'best frock' and serve him up some porridge, not burnt of course, or some fancy leftovers. Oh and if he is wearing purple socks, with an orange tie and a tartan shirt wrestle him to the floor and sit on him until he is willing to come to his senses- just do not mention his poor taste in clothes, will you?

So, what are your views ladies and gentlemen? Is Blanche's advice timeless or is it as dry as toast?


  1. I can tell you one thing Lilly, if I saw Blanche I would wrestle her to the ground and sit on her!

    I want a man who cooks porridge for me, I could care less about his purple tie and green socks simply because I thought those colours went together. What, I have got it wrong and I am actually colour challenged as well? Blanche needs to read your post the Erotic Appeal of housework. Mind you more marriages may stay together but not sure how happy all the wives would be. I tell you what I will try this tomorrow. Greet my partner at the door in my best outfit and do something fancy with leftovers and not mention anything of any importance during dinner least of all the economy. I will report back on how it goes! What a hoot!

  2. Er ... I cook in our house (I'm better at it and I like it anyway, as it happens). I'm not sure about the porridge though and I'm not sure what Blanche would make of any of that! :)

  3. PS: Many thanks for the link, Lilly - much appreciated :)

  4. Thanks for visiting me today from WTBAY. I really enjoyed this post, although my Beloved will eat anything, anytime.

  5. I cook too, sometimes anyway. I think she is right in terms of not talking at meal times about negative things. In fact I think she is right on all points (and I am glad this is blogsville in the middle of nowhere and none of you know my address except you Lilly).

    I would expect my partner to stop me leaving the house if I wasn't colour co-ordinated. I am colour blind. I bet Hugh gets it right ladies. I am sure if Hugh was sitting on the other side of your dinner table you would agree with all Blanche's points. Sarah, I cannot wait to find out how you go with your trial run at this. I am emailing this to my partner now - it's a list of my new demands, I am joking maybe.

  6. Sarah - let me help you hold her down!

    Lilly, did you happen to drive by a totally dinged up little pale purple Daihatsu Charade on the side of Hindmarsh at 4.45 this afternoon?

    Tow truck just returned it to my driveway a little while ago. *sigh* Another one bites the dust. That makes three tow trucks this year. (One was for a bomb Giancarlo played with that I got him to remove from the garage, and one was for Giancarlo's sports car going to get the engine replaced.)

    Now I have one blown engine in my garage, one totalled car in my driveway. Get out of my way boys, mummy is going out in her in-perfect-working-order car. Funny that I'm the only one with comprehensive insurance.

    Lucky-y-y, I'm with Aami. Dear Aami made my car better than new recently when someone had the temerity to hit me from behind on Sulwood.

  7. I admit, I sometimes let my husband off of the hook when it comes to the carving of the joint.

    But I do protest when it comes to the Bogarting of it. ;)


  8. From now on I will get up one full hour before him and fancy myself up so when he see me.. ahhh who am I kidding, that is never going to happen. If he doesn't like the limp of hair at the side of my head he can do the "mom lick" you know that is where your mom would lick her hand and then use that freshly licked hand to smoothout the offending hair! ~ nasty eh?? LoL

  9. Funny blog today!
    Here's how I see it:
    1) The quickest way to man's heart is through is stomach. Keep your man well fed, and you'll have a happy marriage.

    2)The first sign that your husband may be cheating on you? Ask him what he wants for dinner.
    If he wants meat and potatoes, you're okay. If he just wants a salad, then he could be trying to look good for someone else.

    Or so I've heard... :)

  10. some good advice in there...though i couldn't help but laugh a few times while reading.

  11. Funny Stuff!! My hubby cooks dinners at our house. He's such a good cook (and I'm not). Maybe while he's cooking I should spend some time dolling myself up!

  12. Oh blech - Blanche's advice is NOT timeless. Yeah..that whole "make yourself pretty even if it's just you and him?"...a nice concept but completely ridiculous. I enjoy my slug-around-the-house-in-ripped-up-sweats-and-messy-hair as much as the next guy.

    And sometimes I even belch loudly from the beer I'm drinking when I watch football.

    Blanche would not like me. :)

  13. We share the cooking. But that part about always wearing the best clothes. I don't know about that. I already have to take out a loan every month to pay the Nordstrom's bill. Certainly don't want to add another reason for her to have to shop more. And each new outfit requires a pair of matching shoes. Oh my.

  14. Delightful food for thought! No violet tie...or grass green socks, eh? My guy digs his violet tie (not grass green socks though, thank God), but really it's his choice of beachwear that has me worried!)

  15. Oh gosh...I must be a rebel and rule breaker! I would have been a horrible wife in the "early days." I cook what I like...if you don't like it...tough luck!

  16. I think my hubby has ruined a few expensive steaks while HE WAS COOKING them. I leave the expensive cuts to him, and I never have to take the blame for anything that goes wrong. He will pretty much eat anything I set in front of him, and I'm thankful for that. I'm lucky that I don't have one of those whiney, griping men.

    Love the posts! I have to go read the ones I've missed. I've been nursing that banged up son of mine, and haven't had a chance to blog lately.

  17. It's a good thing my husband had never known Blanche in his past lives. She would have definitely wooed my husband away from me, even from her grave now. I can't wait til hubby retires so he can take over the cooking chores.

    Your comment at the end of your post made me laugh. So, so funny. I'll be checking back on Sarah's report. She's funny too.


  18. Hi, Lilly!
    Luckily, both William Throckmorton the III and I cook equally and are both adept at calling for take-out. :-)
    p.s. I don't know what you-all are doing in Australia, but we don't carve our joints here. We light them on fire. :-)

  19. I'm laughing so hard right now, it's hard to type. I do the majority of the cooking, She does the cleaning. We both lounge around the house in our old worn out sweats, and undone hair.

    I'm not picky I guess.

  20. Entertaining post. Unfortunately, I think it's still very much a man's world, although it is changing slowly.

  21. LOL-Loved the post. In my opinion--men will eat whatever you give them. :)

  22. Well said Blanche.I agree with you whole heartedly It's exactly what I do.

  23. OMG, why does Greg love me? I don't cook. He says that I can, but I'm so darn tired by the end of the work day that I have no energy in the kitchen. At least I don't have rollers in my hair (that's too uncomfortable) but I love my comfy clothes and he doesn't seem to mind. Lol.

    I do agree with the negative talk - we try to keep things upbeat while eating, never thought about it before, but that seems to be the case.

  24. Hee hee...this was funny! I will try to remember the dinner time requirements when prepping my hubby & childs supper tonite! Maybe if I add a little parsley to the leftovers it will get the "passing grade"!

    Welcome to SITS btw

  25. I think that I agree half and half with Blanche's advice. What it does show though is the thinking in 1913. Judging by these comments we have come some way since then, thank goodness. I would be interested to see what Blanche thinks about other aspects of life and I look forward to future posts. They are humorous.

  26. haha Lilly!!!
    too funny :-D
    hard to believe that this is 'real' advice....
    I have served up burnt chicken breast...I wonder if that counts...
    in our house beggars can't be choosers so they will eat just about anything... and I mean ANYTHING ;)

  27. That is so funny! CRacking me up! the ones about the dress are the best!

  28. Thanks ladies and gents for all your comments. Isn't Blanche precious - do you think women listened to her in 1913 - probably did. I guess our views are going to be seen to be hilarious in another 100 years too.

    I too await Sarah's little trial of Blanch's tips. Should be interesting. You know the great thing is to see these males who are cooking. That has to be a good sign. But you are right cjw666 I am unsure what Blanche would amke of it all either.

    And poor Leslie, you needed a bit of pampering when you got home yesterday byt the sounds - no I didn't see the car. Hope your day is better today! Have some ice cream!

    Thanks again!

  29. No bloody wonder I'm twice divorced!

  30. Megan - he he, strangely my ex used to complain incessantly about my porridge making skills - he was a chef at one time which didn't help! Now girl there is no excuses, consider yourself told - by Blanche!

  31. Now, see, if I could have ever met a woman who subscribed to Blanche Ebbutt's theories of making a happy home I might have gotten married at some point. Thanks, Lilly, now I know it was all my fault. Hee-hee

    Can you just imagine any woman being expected to live up to these suggestions today? I haven't even met one who knows where to find the kitchen, much less what to do when she gets in there.

    Thanks for the laugh, lilly.

  32. The Blanche experiment was a big flop.

    As I said to you in my email I borrowed a frilly apron (I don't do aprons let alone frilly ones)and got dressed to kill complete with high heels and makeup (and yes good hair Blanche, I did not forget the hair). I was the 1950's advertisement where the little woman is waiting at the door with the pipe and slippers (well these days its a beer and the remote) and a big kiss when hubby gets home from a hard day at work.

    Music, candlelight and the works. He walked through the door, looked me up and down and said, are you going out or something. I told him that no I was trying something different. Oh, he goes, well I have to go to cricket trials tonight, I forgot to tell you sorry, but I like you in that apron though. And off he goes to change leaving me there in all my glory.

    So he can have his burnt dinner when he gets home and I will just sit here on the couch watching reruns of S&C and drinking wine.

    So Blanche it doesnt work, well not with my boy anyway and not in this lifetime. The worst thing is I bet he is going to ask me to wear the stupid apron again. Thats another thing Ive noticed, men get very affectionate when women are in the kitchen, has anyone else noticed this? Oh I think the wine is talking, I better go. Try it at your own peril. what else has Blanch got to say because her advice only works on men in the early 1900s.

  33. I fell in lust with Blanche the first time I read about her (and saw her wonderful face) on your blog.

    And now she has returned - I would gladly wear a purple tie and green socks - If only to be forcibly restrained by this goddess.

    Her eyes are the betrayal of bells comprehended through incense


  34. Sarah,
    That was terrible! I would have cried. And then would have gone shopping and spent as much on myself. No, wait, I would have gone gambling at the casinos and would have gambled as much and as long until I got my fill. And if hubby got mad, I'd say, "it was a lot better than me having an affair with a man who would appreciate me, wouldn't it?" These, of course, are just my thoughts on a situation you just described. Until something like that happens to me, I really wouldn't know how I'd behave for sure. My idea sounds like a good retaliatory action to me as I'm thinking about it. I know, I know, I'd be acting immaturely if I'd actually do something like that. I probably wouldn't do it, but I probably be fantasizing about it.

    You took it a lot better than I would have. You're a good woman.


  35. Somebody send these to my better half!

  36. I hate burnt porridge! LMFAO

  37. That is a classic, I'm going to link to it on my blog today.

    So glad that life isn't like this anymore!

  38. That is hilarious!!! Do you watch Mad Men? It's a show set in the 60s about men who work in an ad agency. It portrays 60 cultural norms and fashion and touches upon marriages and how women were viewed both at the workplace and in the home. Great show if you can catch it in Australia!
    Life of a Juggernaut

  39. @ Matt - strangely I have only found the kitchen since I left my ex. The fact he was a Chef in a past life and owned restaurants probably had something to do with it. What you didn't tell us was how are your cooking skills?

    @ Vincent - he he, notice how you would not be game to send them to your partner? Wise man!

    @ Preston - but do you cook the porridge? That is the question.

    @ Sarah - thats horrible but not unexpected. It would have been so foreign to him. I agree with Tasha you need to go and do something rash - I have emailed you!

  40. Henry - 'Her eyes are the betrayal of bells comprehended through incense' - I bet you say that to all the girls! I am sure there are plenty of Blanches out there ready to forcibly restrain you from committing fashion feux pas - you make me smile...and laugh out loud! Strangely I happen to think green and purple are beautiful colours together....

  41. @ katy - you can say that again - I will ahve to post some of her other advice later on because its funny, even though she didnt mean it to be poor Blanche!

    @ AC - now we dont get that show here but I would love to watch it - I would probably end up throwing things at the screen. Glad you dropped by!

  42. Well I say that this Blanche could really use a normal life
    or an exciment
    what matters
    i can't be lady 24/7
    dont really care of does don't
    if my boyfriend loves me he could cook for me once and awhile (and he does)

    kudos to your blog

  43. Pretty funny....Old Blanche would cringe if she saw how I feed my poor poor hubby! But I think most of the advice is pretty timeless. Lets face it...the grubby sweats and bed head ain't gonna get him all lusty!

  44. @ wasome12 - thanks for dropping by and visting - sounds like you have a great boyfriend.

    @ nikkicrumpet - "the grubby sweats and bed head ain't gonna get him all lusty!" - that made me laugh - I am telling you though except if you are wearing them in the kitchen! Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

  45. This is hilarious! I like that the potato is the rock of the marriage. Have you seen that advice from the 1950s home ec book that is passed around? It's just as funny.

  46. So funny! I loved the bit about cold mutton having wreacked many happy homes! Yeah, I'm sure they were very happy if all it took was a bit of cold meat to finally ruin it all. haha

    I think it's funny that so many of these old time advice books talk about looking your best and all made up for your husband. My husband is always happy (and says so often) when I'm not wearing makeup and I've thrown my hair up into a knot. Maybe he's weird, but I love it!

    Thanks for visiting my blog by the way! My brother-in-law and his family live in Australia. Of course, now we hardly get to see him. Wish we could take all 6 of us down there, but can't see it happening anytime soon. Dang it!

  47. @ the blonde duck - Thanks for dropping by - not I ahve not seen that book but in some ways I bet nothing much changed between 1913 and the 1950s.

    @ Alyson - I agree I think most guys like the unmade up look but for some reason it's us females that think we have to put the makeup on. Its a shame if you cant visit your brother in law - who knows maybe there's a lottery win or something round the corner. Thanks for dropping by.

  48. Than you for stopping by to see my blog and leaving such a sweet comment! Thank you for leading me back here too! I have had the best tome reading your wonderful blog!
    This post was such a fun read...after 30 years of marriage, my husband would be shocked if I adhered to all of Blanche's ideas!
    I like not talking about negative things at dinner but sometimes you have to discuss it and where better than aroound the tabe with your loved ones? Some of best family chatter is there...good and not so good!

    I LOVED your Dad's post! he is something wonderful!

    I have your blog bookmarked now so I can make lots and lots of return visits!

    I hope we can get better acquainted!

    Enjoy the weekend in your gorgeous part of the world!


  49. Susie Q - thanks for dropping by and for your comments. I agree the family dinner table is an important part of life - Blanche is so funny as is my Dad. Thanks again.

  50. I'm looking for some tips how to forcibly restrain a fashion tragic, although that colour combo sounds fine to me! Thanks for visiting my blog today, I've enjoyed visiting you too!

  51. If you could e-mail me with a few suggestions on just how you made your blog look this excellent, I would be grateful.


Thanks for your comments.