Vintage Meal Planning

By O Quinn

Victorian era home economics expert Christine Frederick who created a homemaking correspondence course also outlined the ways in which a homemaker of her era could become more efficient feeding her family using the technique of Family Meal Planning.


Interestingly much of this meal planning advice is still applicable today and many a modern mom could use the same advice when it comes to feeding her family. So let’s look more closely.

Mrs. Frederick felt that to meal plan effectively the homemaker needed to understand the nutrients the body needed, in which foods those nutrients were available and how to organize a meal so that they would contain all of the needed nutrients.

She felt that balanced meals saved time in cooking and instead of wasting ones’ time attempting to create complicated dishes that may not meet nutritional needs knowing what foods the body needed enabled the cook to make healthy meals simply and with less waste.

This included how to prepare meals for taste. Combining complimentary dishes and contrasting dishes so as not overwhelm with too many creamy or too many sweet, or too many strong flavored dishes. Apparently this was a problem in the late 19th early 20th century. This made the meal more appetizing and the family digested the meals favorably.

To completely convince her students on the benefits of meal planning Mrs. Frederick pinpointed the advantages of organizing meals.

1. Meal planning allows you to grocery shop in advance and make bulk purchases (which can be more cost effective).

2. Meal planning allows you to shop less often. In this era grocery shopping was done more often since the technological advances of the refrigerator was still new and not everyone owned one.

3. Meal planning allows you to cook for more than one meal which means less time in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. Things such as cooking the meat for two meals at once and preserving the one until it is needed either the next day or later in the week. And also utilizing leftovers for a completely new meal.

4. Meal planning allows you to know what’s for dinner in advance so you can cook up some items earlier in the day when you may have more free time. We all know what it’s like to cook up that meal at the last minute. Getting things such as breads and salads out of the way early on mean less rush when dinner time is imminent.

Summing it all up Mrs. Frederick outlined the solution for the three-meals-a-day problem of the early 20th century.

1.Write out your day’s menu with well balanced meals.

2. Make a simple menu for the week based on your grocery store’s offerings. Plan for meals from leftovers and dishes that can be cooked ahead of time.

3. Make out a grocery shopping list (or purchasing sheet) from your menu.

4. When serving the meals to your family keep notes on what worked and what didn’t.

Why this sounds like fabulous advice for the 21st Century!

Read more tidbits and details of homemaking and housekeeping in time’s past at Vintage Homemaking. For meal planning in the 21st Century visit Homemaking Organized

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