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The American Frugal Housewife: Dedicated to Those Who Are Not Ashamed of Economy
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The American Frugal Housewife: Dedicated to Those Who Are Not Ashamed of Economy

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  376 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Includes interesting recipes, remedies, advice on parenting, and tips for housekeepers. From 1832-1845, this popular book went through thirty-two editions.
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published August 1st 1989 by Applewood Books (first published 1833)
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Susan
Oct 23, 2013 Susan added it
My best friend gave me this book because she knew I'd appreciate it, both for the historical context and the frugality. It's fun to read and full of interesting nineteeth-century housekeeping trivia, such as "Green tea is excellent to restore rusty silk." Mrs. Child is the Heloise of 1833. She is also a philosopher: "Extravagance has prevented many marriages, and rendered still more unhappy." I recommend this book.
Liz Jennings
Quick office of management of a great day today but I'll let him

go back and forth between a few days to go out for me know when you're ready in time and space administration is that a direct shortcut the same way I am so you have an amazing and the other side to go out with the best of them are going to work with the new year old girl who is this a few times but I don't know if you're interested and I have no idea how are things with the same thing to work out with you in town and forth to work
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Megan
Best parts were certainly the introduction about living within your means, and the "Hints for Persons of Moderate Fortune", although the "General Maxims for Health are still pretty useful: "Rise early. Eat simple food. Take plenty of exercise. Never fear a little fatigue. Let not children be dress in tight clothes; it is necessary their limbs and muscles should have full play, if you wish for either health or beauty. Avoid the necessity of a physician, if you can, by careful attention to your di ...more
Shawn
This provided a wonderful glimpse into early- to mid-19th Century life. The book is a collection of wisdom and practical advice to help the American housewife of the time make the most of all resources. Economical use of time, money, and material was the prime virtue promoted in this manuscript.

Of particular interest to me were the numerous recipes. Some seem rather ordinary, such as pancakes or pickles, but others, such as carrot pie or calf's foot jelly, are rather unusual in out time. There
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Abigail
This book gives an interesting insight into life in the 1830's. It is a tough read however due to different vocabulary and terms that are no longer used. It's also a difficult read because so much information is thrown at you all at once, all the ways of helping with lockjaw for example, that you find yourself beginning to drown a bit.

Some people have complained about the section on "Educating daughter" and how it basically tells women they should be good little wives and stay home. Honestly, I
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Erika
An interesting peek into what Lydia Maria Child deems as "frugal" housekeeping in 1833. This volume also includes the text, Hints to Persons of Moderate Fortune, in which a chapter titled Education of Daughters stresses how girls should be taught from a young age that their place is in the home as homemakers, not outside the home in the public sphere of men. After reading that Lydia Maria Child was an Abolitionist and women's rights activist in her day, I was surprised at her frequent and repeat ...more
Shari Larsen
This book, written in 1832, was a freebie on Kindle. is collection of household hints, recipes and advice on being thrifty. It was an interesting read, from a historical aspect. Some of the ideas are outdated now, such as her advice on how to raise daughters (which is basically training them how to be wives and mothers) but it was an interesting look into how ordinary people lived their day to day lives back then.

The home remedies were also interesting to read about; a few we still use today, bu
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Rosie
Fun read! I would love to try some of the recipes, which would be pretty feasible. The only challenge would be there are some instances in which terminology has changed since the 1830's, but that could be easily remedied with a little bit of research. I will forever remember how to tell when a pig roasting on a spit is halfway done. Helpful hints on what is considered good economy, much of which is still practical today.
Aga
A way to peep into an American home of the past. See how regular people lived, cooked, entertained etc.
Ben Fenderson
Interesting snapshot of how much work went into "the good 'ol days." If you don't get caught up on calf brains and forced child labor, there is value to it. I especially like the idea of frugality as a lifestyle choice and not a coping mechanism for poverty.
Amanda
This book intrigued me from beginning to end. The underlying argument for frugality, making the most of what we have, not being wasteful, etc. is as relevant today as it was over 100 years ago. It was also interesting to learn about food preservation before modern day refrigeration. The American Frugal Housewife made me thankful to live in today's era.
Jenni
This was a long read, but if you like history, you would find it interesting. I found it fun to read all the recipes. They are a lot different and more involved that's for sure! Some of the household hints have long been disproven, but it was fun and interesting. It would probably be long and boring for anyone else who wasn't a history buff though.
Melissa
This book was written in or before 1833, and I had a hard time with the first half of the book. I didn't know half of the things she was talking about - different roots and foods that we just don't use anymore.
Once were were done with how to cook foods and focused more on economy/morality, it was a lot more interesting.
Liss
I prefer this book to A Mother's Book of Traditional Household Skills because the skills are outlined in a manner a little easier to follow and I find Child's essays interesting.
Katie
As I'm guessing with many others who've recently read this, I only came across it as it is a free Kindle ebook.

It's slightly amusing as a historical piece. However, I'm afraid any utility this book once had is gone thanks to technology.

Bottom line: Skim-worthy at best.
Jen
I saw this on the bookshelf at my museum job, and wondered if it was the same book I read when I wrote a paper on housework for my family history class (a surprisingly interesting topic, btw). It was! I remember the recipe for calf's brain! Yum!

Celeste Batchelor
The introductory chapter was the best part of this book. Most of the book was difficult to implement as we do not have access to most of the things they took for granted in 1832. The introductory chapter however was inspiring.
Denese
Very interesting book. It was "the" book to have if you were a housewife in 1830's. Most of the essays are still relevant today. Author fell out of favor when she spoke out on slavery issues and educating daighters.
Michelle
Though out of date, this book is a beautiful picture of life so long ago, and, I believe, contains wonderful advice that can still be beneficial to us today. Such a light, pleasant read!
Domini
Not only is this a great historical reference, it's inspiring too. Much of what Ms. Child prescribes is still doable, although some are more suited to modern life than others.
Leslie Pauley
A very interesting read, and contains an exhaustive list of seasonal foods by month and list of recipes. For when you need to cook Calf's Foot Jelly. You know. Normal stuff.
Jeanne
Frugal household advice from the 19th century. A fun read. Many of the terms and items were unfamiliar. There is also a good bit about behavior, morals and a woman's place.
Kim Stewart
Please see my review here.
Sue
Jun 24, 2012 Sue added it
Shelves: cooking
The recipes are not particularly interesting for the modern cook, but as a look at antebellum domestic life--it is useful.
Valerie
Thank god we're well past this! A good look at what was commonplace not so long ago. Fascinating (horrifying), but not useful.
Mandy
This book would be practical in 1800 -- not now. It's not even a good read since I can't get most of the items she talks about!
Susan Beckman
So many great ideas on being frugal. Some of the suggestions wouldn't apply to today, but you can take what you need and use it.
Amber
Another interesting look back in time. Best read with 365 Foreign Dishes (equally old, equally entertaining).
Natalie
some "interesting" recipes. may not want to read if you're cooking or eating. slightly disgusting.
Kate


Interesting history of how to be a housewife then, but that is all it has to offer.
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Lydia Maria Child (1802--1880) was an activist and writer of novels, pamphlets, and works for children. She often used her writing to advocate for slaves, women, and Native Americans. Lydia Maria Child was born in Medford, Massachusetts, where her grandfather’s house, which she celebrates in her poem, still stands.
More about Lydia Maria Francis Child...
Hobomok & Other Writings on Indians by Lydia Maria Child Over the River and Through the Wood A Romance of the Republic An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans The Girl's Own Book

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“Nations do not plunge at once into ruin - governments do not change suddenly - the causes which bring about the final blow, are scarcely perceptible in the beginning; but they increase in numbers, and in power; they press harder and harder upon the energies and virtue of a people; and the last steps only are alarmingly hurried and irregular. A republic without industry, economy, and integrity, is Samson shorn of his locks. A luxurious and idle republic! Look at the phrase! - The words were never made to be married together; every body sees it would be death to one of them.” 0 likes
“We never shall be prosperous till we make pride and vanity yield to the dictates of honesty and prudence!” 0 likes
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