I stumbled across this little quote while browsing through The Project Gutenberg. It’s from The Easiest Way in Housekeeping and Cooking by Helen Campbell:
Every science is learned but domestic science. The schools ignore it; and, indeed, in the rush toward an early graduation, there is small room for it.
“She can learn at home,” say the mothers. “She will take to it when her time comes, just as a duck takes to water,” add the fathers; and the matter is thus dismissed as settled.
In the mean time the “she” referred to—the average daughter of average parents in both city and country—neither “learns at home,” nor “takes to it naturally,” save in exceptional cases; and the reason for this is found in the love, which, like much of the love given, is really only a higher form of selfishness. The busy mother of a family, who has fought her own way to fairly successful administration, longs to spare her daughters the petty cares, the anxious planning, that have helped to eat out her own youth; and so the young girl enters married life with a vague sense of the dinners that must be, and a general belief that somehow or other they come of themselves. And so with all household labor. That to perform it successfully and skillfully, demands not only training, but the best powers one can bring to bear upon its accomplishment, seldom enters the mind; and the student, who has ended her course of chemistry or physiology enthusiastically, never dreams of applying either to every-day life.
Take heart, Home Eccers, ours is not the first generation to struggle with the age old question “What’s for dinner?” This book was first written in 1880 and revised in 1893. So the next time you find yourself staring blankly into the pantry trying to figure out what to feed the family, know you do not stand alone.