A page from home economics, circa 1930

There is quite a lot of information included on these pages concerning cereals. The entries are not about boxes of cereal purchased from a grocery store, but about the actual grains rice, wheat, oats, corn. It’s easy for us to forget that in the early 20th century, while processed cereal was available in the store, these grains were also available in the whole grain state for various uses. Young women were taught the nutritional value of the various grains, as well as how to use them.

This knowledge of food values would help women as they entered their adult life with a family to cook for and presumably helped them select the most nutritious foods.

Toward the end of this section you will find general cooking information for grains, which includes “cook them a long time” and “wash them before cooking”. Some of these instructions are common sense still, but for those who have never cooked rice on the stove, for instance, they might be good pointers. I thought this section was interesting because of the nutritional and general information, but also you can just imagine Irene sitting in class writing down what the instructor said as the lecture progressed. Considering that many other sections did not have a comprehensive definition or description of cooking methods, I wonder if this lesson was early in the class and eventually Irene stopped taking notes.


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