This section is from the book "Mrs. Allen's Cook Book", by Mrs. Ida C. Bailey Allen. See also: The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat.
Each year brings me thousands of letters from housewives all over the country, as well as from Canada and Mexico, and many from the old world. Some of them contain requests for recipes, but the majority ask for help in solving home problems of finance, the preparation of food, the saving of time and energy, and the institution of the balanced ration as a means toward economy and better family health. Many others ask about proper service, and what foods should be combined; but not a few contain a little heart-break, and many of them end in this wise, "If I had only been taught how to cook, and how to do housework when I was a girl, instead of growing up in ignorance and selfishness, how much easier my life would be now, and how much more effective I should be as a mother, a wife and a housekeeper!"
In presenting this book the burden of my message is: Let every mother realize that she holds in her hands the health of the family and the welfare and the progress of her husband. It is she who helps to make brain and brawn. There is no magic in the work she does. There are no mortars and pestles, there are no test tubes and Bunsen burners. Her chemicals are foods pure and simple, her equipment, bowls and pans, kettles and a range. With these aids she must evolve a good family health, and in so doing contribute to the health and welfare of the nation.
It is a wonderful thing to be a woman; it is a wonderful thing to be a wife, but most of all it is wonderful to be a mother, and the woman who realizes her privileges and knows that her daily work is not drudgery, but that it is constructive in the truest sense of the word, and who does this work with love and pride in her heart, is fulfilling the highest destiny that a woman can have.
If I were to make a plea, I should ask that every woman in this country, whether she has the vote, or whether she is merely depending upon personal influence, should try her utmost to introduce courses in domestic economy in every school in both city and country, in every prison and in every reformatory.
If I were to put forth a request, it would be that every woman in this country make herself a "pal" and friend of her daughters and her sons, and that from little babyhood up she teach them the interesting processes of home work and cookery, so that there will be a sound foundation for the homes that are to come and an already established knowledge that will make possible glorious home partnership and splendid health for the generations that are to be.
The author wishes to acknowledge her indebtedness to the Ladies' Home Journal, Pictorial Review, Good Housekeeping, the Delineator, Country Gentleman, the Boston Cooking School Magazine, the North American, and the Ohio State Journal for their kindness in allowing reprints of her various articles which have been published in their columns, and for the privilege of reproducing photographs which have been used from time to time in their pages.
Ida C. Bailey Allen.