But there is still something else to be urged on behalf of Cookery, and of School Cookery in particular, which places it immeasurably before even the preceding. I have claimed for Cookery that it develops certain habits which are of the greatest importance in the formation of character; yet, as I have just remarked, there is something more than this, which renders it of priceless value, and of what this consists I shall do my best to explain.
Every one who has the welfare of Australia and of Australians at heart must feel no little concern at that growing indifference to domestic life which is so much the characteristic of our girls. Once a girl has left school, she seems to think that the household is no longer any place for her; she consequently ceases to take any interest whatever in the many matters which constitute the management of a home : her one aim is to get into " business," as it is called. It appears to be immaterial whether she is to be a dressmaker, or milliner, or saleswoman, or employee in a large establishment, as long as she gets away from home.
Now, all this is greatly to be deplored, and has a disastrous influence over the whole of Australian family life, because it must happen that many of these girls eventually many, and commence their new existence under the most unfavourable conditions. In the first place, they are totally ignorant of everything connected with household management, and what is far worse, they have almost a contempt for it. What the result is, in too many cases, I have already dwelt upon, - either the husband and the family suffer from the effects of bad Cookery, and unhappiness and ill-health follow, or else the bread-winner flies to alcohol in order to forget his troubles.
It must not be imagined however, that this condition of affairs is altogether beyond remedy, and that our Australian girls are hopeless in this respect. No, on the contrary, those of whom I have just spoken are as attractive and fascinating - as Australian girls always are; but it is a thousand pities that they do not possess a greater appreciation of the importance of home life. Still, after all, may it not be that our educational system is defective in that it does not implant - all through a girl's school life - a love of Cookery, and of domestic management ? It is during this impressionable age that all these truths can be so well indoctrinated. Indeed, I am thoroughly convinced that one of the greatest defects in the superlatively scientific education of to-day, as far as the girls are concerned, is the neglect which these matters receive; for it stands to reason that if they are passed by during school life, they are never learnt at all.
And, further, it should not be forgotten that a cook is always able to command high wages. That is a fact which should not be lost sight of, although perhaps it is somewhat mercenary. A cook need never fear but that she will always be in constant employment. Ah, yes 1 Max O'Rell got in a home thrust when he declared that "the "average woman who finds herself alone in the world "could earn her living if she could cook - but she can't."