Archive for the ‘Mikie Baker’s Column’ Category


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Ladies, come with me on a journey back in time. 1961, to be precise. You’ll be amazed at how lucky you are.

This waltz down memory lane comes straight out of an ancient Betty Crocker Cookbook published in 1961 that landed on my desk at work just the other day. I never got past Page 5 which is entitled, “Kitchen Know-How.” Here’s Betty’s hints for you homemakers out there.

Plan Ahead

Betty’s already lost me, but okay, I’ll bite. Here’s what she says to do, “Write menus for a week’s meals at a time. Shop for staples once a week, fresh fruits and vegetables twice weekly.” I’m already beginning to feel like a Stepford Wife. But she goes on, “If you have a freezer, make several cakes, pies, cookies, main dishes and sandwiches at a time and freeze some for future use.” I’m sorry, but if I’m so organized by writing menus and shopping twice a week, why would I ever need to freeze a thing?

But, back to Betty.

Combine Jobs

“Bake cakes or cookies while washing dishes or cooking dinner. Pare vegetables while meat is browning. Plan and organize daily work while working with hands (peeling potatoes, sweeping floor, etc.)” Betty! Knock it off! No wonder we drink – the pressure! I would do all this, but I’m still waiting for the robot that’s going to clean my house.

But wait, there’s more!

Refresh Your Spirits

See, she’s about to talk about vodka, isn’t she? No, no, she isn’t. “Every morning before breakfast, comb hair, apply makeup and a dash of cologne. Does wonders for your morale and your family’s, too!” No, Betty, vodka does that. “Think pleasant thoughts while working and a chore will become a labor of love.” She doesn’t bother to mention if a bra is a requirement.

“Have a hobby. Garden, paint pictures, look through magazines for home planning ideas, read a good book or attend club meetings. Be interested – and you’ll always be interesting! Oh, and if you have a spare moment, sit down, close your eyes and just relax.” A spare moment? No, I haven’t finished peeling potatoes, composting the skins and starting a garden.

Hold on, Betty’s not done.

Organize Work

“Have a weekly plan for scheduling such tasks as washing, ironing, baking, shopping, cleaning the refrigerator or washing floors. One task done each day provides a sense of accomplishment and keeps work from piling up.” Isn’t anybody going to help me?!?

Sure, Betty is with some more sage advice.

Be Comfortable

Oh good, this is where she must mention taking off your bra. “Wear comfortable shoes and easy fitting clothes while working. Stand erect. Good posture prevents fatigue.” Lady, after the list of requirements you’ve given for me to be the perfect housewife, I’m already fatigued just reading your suggestions. At least Betty is looking out for our health. “Have sink, work table, counter tops at height that is comfortable to eliminate strain. If dishpan is too low, set it on a box.” And there you have it. Yes, Betty I’m about to stand on my soap box!

Betty, I think I’ll leave your advice at the door. I’m going to sit down at my trusty computer, order my groceries online and have them delivered, find a good maid service and throw my dirty dishes into my super quiet dishwasher. And I’ve got frozen pizzas in the freezer compliments of my Italian friend, DiGiorno.

Now I understand why my mother acted the way she did. It was because of Betty’s “Kitchen Know-How” or the 2021 version: “How to Become Certifiably Insane in Only One Week after spending time with Betty.”