Ah! The Good Old Days! Today I give you a story that may provide you with nice counterpoint to help put your own domestic power struggles into perspective – or, alternatively, may give you some century-old hints on how better to resolve them.
The story appeared in The Washington Post of July 16, 1911. Sadly, I do not know the identity of the Mrs. Franklin who is chief protagonist but presumably she is a New Yorker. If you have any ideas about who she might be, please do let us know via the comments.
THE PIE CURE.
(New York Press.)
Few husbands were better managed than Mr. Franklin. All his friends knew that, and he was not wholly unconscious himself of sundry delicate mental manipulations that were performed from time to time by the charming Mrs. Franklin, but as the results were eminently gratifying to him, he saw no reason to protest against them.
“Give us your receipt,” implored a party of college girls whom Mrs. Franklin was chaperoning, “for keeping a contented husband.”
Mrs. Franklin smiled, hesitated, and finally replied: “Well, yes, I suppose I owe it to the world. I should prefer to keep my method a secret. It is not wise even to admit that one has a method, but since you have discovered that fact, I will reveal all. Mr. Franklin is of New English parentage on one side, and Western on the other. Before I was married to him I – you remember I was a widow, so I had already learned some discretion – I went to his mother and asked her to teach me exactly how to make pies – all kinds of pies. I followed her instructions, too – practiced faithfully under here directions – until she said I was perfect in the pie-making art. I thus not only endeared myself to her, but always have been able to keep a steady balance of power in my domestic relations. If Mr Franklin comes home in a state of mind I do not greet him with a smile. In fact, I hasten to the kitchen and give orders, just loud enough for him to hear: “Serve the cream pie for dinner this evening, Jane.” Soon I hear him whistling softly in his room while he is dressing, and I know that all is well. I have studied the pie question so carefully that I know just what mood will be best ameliorated by rhubarb pie, what by lemon meringue , &c. You’re perfect welcome, girls. Don’t tell everybody, but be sure to practice my rule yourselves, if you with the coming man, to eat out of your hand.
Today’s recipe is from an English newspaper, but would clearly be an excellent addition to the powerful domestic goddess’ armamentarium.
Pie of Bliss.
Prepare pastry case as usual. Mash two ripe bananas and add to them a cupful of granulated sugar, a pinch of salt, and two unbeaten whites of egg. Whisk all together until stiff and frothy. Add a few drips of almond essence and fill the pie shell with this mixture. Bake in a rather slow oven for twenty minutes. When the pie is cold cover it with half a pint of whipped and flavoured cream and decorate with dabs of red currant jelly and chopped nuts.
The Manchester Guardian June 15, 1922.
Years ago I copied a line from an old book down and now I can't remember where it came from.
"She was mistress of the discreet art of conjugal management."
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