These sweet, charming prayers, simple stories and old-timer words of wisdom were frequently found in old community cookbooks and vintage homemaking magazines. They were clipped and pasted into recipe scrapbooks, done in cross stitch to be framed and hung on walls and frequently given as bridal shower gifts. Some bring a chuckle while others a soft smile and sadly, we don’t see much of them anymore in today’s publications.
I’ve moved all of these charmers here on one page and I’ll add new ones as I come across them. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
God bless my little kitchen,
I love its every nook,
And bless me as I do my work,
Wash pots and pans and cook.
And may the meals that I prepare
Be seasoned from above
With Thy great blessings and Thy grace,
But most of all Thy love.
As we partake of earthly food,
The table before us spread,
We’ll not forget to thank Thee, Lord,
Who gives us daily bread.
So bless my little kitchen, God,
And those who enter in,
May they find naught but Joy and Peace,
And Happiness therein.
Author: M. Peterson (1944)
I can definitely relate to this little poem…
Please stay away from my kitchen,
From my dishwashing, cooking and such.
You were kind to have offered to help me,
And I do want to thank you so much.
I hope you won’t think me ungracious
When I ask that you leave me alone,
For my kitchen is not very spacious
And my system is strictly my own.
So please stay out of my kitchen,
It may well prevent a few wars,
And when I am invited to your house,
I promise to stay out of yours.
You’ll find this fun story in a variety of old cookbooks. That Johnny, he’s a busy boy!
How To Bake A Cake
- Heat oven. Grease pan. Crack nuts. Get your bowl, spoons and ingredients. Remove 18 blocks and 7 toy automobiles from kitchen table. Measure 2 cups flour onto piece of waxed paper. Get sifter out of cabinet. Remove Johnny’s hand from flour. Wash flour off him.
- Measure out 1 cup more flour to replace what is now on floor. Put 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. of salt in the sifter. Get dustpan and brush up pieces of bowl which Johnny has accidentally knocked off table.
- Get another bowl. Measure and sift ingredients. With spoon work 1/4 cup of shortening against side of bowl. Answer doorbell. Return to kitchen. Remove Johnny’s hands from bowl. Wash shortening off him. Add one cup granulated sugar gradually. Answer telephone. Return to kitchen. Remove Johnny’s hands from bowl. Wash shortening and sugar off him.
- Get out an egg. Answer doorbell. Return to kitchen. Mop up floor. Change Johnny’s shoes which are all eggy. Get another egg. Beat. Remove toy automobile from bowl. Add flour mixture alternately with egg, 3/4 cup milk and one tsp. vanilla. Answer knock at back door. Remove Johnny’s hands from bowl. Wash shortening, sugar, flour, milk and vanilla off him. Beat…mixture that is…Take up greased pan, find it has 1/4 inch layer of salt in bottom. Look for Johnny, who has disappeared.
- Get another pan and grease it. Answer telephone. Return to kitchen and find, of all people, Johnny. Remove his hands from bowl. Wash shortening etc., etc., off him. Take up greased pan; find it has 1/4 inch of nutshells in it. Head for Johnny, who flees, knocking bowl off table.
- Wash kitchen floor. Wash kitchen table. Wash kitchen walls. Wash dishes. Call up your baker and order a cake. Lie down…
*This version was found in a cookbook from 1967
Variations of this ‘recipe’ handed down from a grandmother to her granddaughter on her wedding day has circulated around the net for years. Snopes declares this was making rounds well before the internet as “xeroxlore”.
Whether it truly written by a grandmother to her granddaughter we’ll probably never know. But it is quite charming :).
- Build fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain water.
- Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert.
- Shave one hole cake of lie soap in boilin water.
- Sort things, make 3 piles. 1 pile white, 1 pile colored, 1 pile work britches and rags.
- To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down with boilin water.
- Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, and then boil. Rub colored, don’t boil, just rinse and starch.
- Take things out of kettle with broomstick handle, then rinse, and starch.
- Hang old rags on fence.
- Spread tea towels on grass.
- Pore rinse water in flower bed.
- Scrub porch with hot soapy water.
- Turn tubs upside down.
- Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair combs. Brew cup of tea, sit and rock a spell and count your blessings.
Paste this over your washer and dryer. Next time when you think things are bleak, read it again, kiss that washing machine and dryer, and give thanks.
First thing each morning you should run and hug your washer and dryer, also your toilet — those two-holers used to get Mighty Cold!
*Typos from original
Words of Wisdom & Advice For Happiness
Recipe For Preserving Children
1 grass grown field, one half dozen children (or more), several dogs (and puppies if in season), 1 brook, pebbles.
Method: Into field pour children and dogs allowing to mix well. Pour brook over pebbles till slightly frothy. When children are nicely brown, cool in warm tub, when dry, serve with milk, fresh baked bread and cookies.
Author Unknown, found in old cookbook
Recipe For A Happy Home
To one half cup of friendship –
Add a cup of thoughtfulness,
Cream together with a
Pinch of powdered tenderness (very lightly beaten)
In a bowl of loyalty
With a cup of faith, one of hope and one of charity.
Be sure to add a spoonful each of gaiety that sings
And also the ability to laugh at little things
Moisten with the sudden tear of heartfelt sympathy
Bake in a good natured pan and serve repeatedly.
Recipe For A Happy Day
1 cup friendly words
2 cups (heaping) understanding
4 tsp (heaping) time and patience
Pinch of warm personality
Dash of humor
Method for Mixing:
- Measure words carefully.
- Add heaping cups of understanding.
- Use generous amounts of time and patience.
- Keep temperatures low. Do not boil.
- Add dash of humor and a pinch of warm personality.
- Season to taste with a spice of life.
- Serve in individual molds.
Here’s another variation:
2 heaping cups patience
1 heartful love
2 handfuls generosity
Dash of laughter
1 headful understanding
Sprinkle generously with kindness. Apply plenty of faith and mix well. Spread over a period of a lifetime and serve to those you meet.
Recipe for Living
Into each day put equal parts of faith, patience, courage, work (some people omit this ingredient and so spoil the flavor of the rest), hope, fidelity, liberality, kindness, rest (leaving this out is like leaving oil out of the salad — don’t do it), prayer, mediation and one well selected resolution.
Put in about a teaspoonful of good spirits, a dash of fun, a sprinkling of play and a heaping cupful of good humor.
Pour love into the whole mix with a vim. Cook thoroughly in fervent heat, garnish with a few smiles and a sprig of joy, then serve with quietness, unselfishness and cheerfulness.
Perfect Day Recipe
Here’s my favorite recipe. Try it. Once you have tried it you will use it over and over again with complete success.
Take a dash of cold water
Add a little leaven of pray
A little bit of sunshine gold dissolved in the morning air.
Add to your meal some merriment
A thought of kith and kin
And then a prime ingredient
Plenty of work thrown in
But spice it all with essence of love
And a little whip of play
Let a wise old book and a glance above
Complete a well spent day.
A Recipe For Happiness (For Teenagers)
Patience, justice, mercy, truth
All the pleasures found in youth
Joy and hope and courage strong
Mixed with love your whole life long,
Stir till smooth; in large mold cast.
From this mixture comes at last,
Charming in its power to bless,
Lovely, star-crowned happiness.
More Or Less
I found this in an old cookbook:
Go Less – Sleep More
Ride Less – Walk More
Talk Less – Think More
Scold Less – Praise More
Waste Less – Give More
Eat Less – Chew More
Clothe Less – Bathe More
Idle Less – Play More
Worry Less – Laugh More
Preach Less – Practice More
Ten Commandments of Human Relations
Speak To People — there is nothing so nice as a cheerful word of greeting.
Smile At People — it takes 72 muscles to frown, only 14 to smile.
Call People — the sweetest music to anyone’s ears is the sound of his own name.
Be Friendly and helpful, if you would have friends, be a friend.
Be Cordial — speak and act as if everything you do is a genuine pleasure.
Be Genuinely interested in people — you can like almost everybody if you try.
Be Generous with praise — cautious with criticism.
Be Considerate with the feelings of others — there are usually three sides to a controversy: yours, the other fellow’s, and the right side.
Be Alert to give service — what counts most in life is what we do for others.
Add To This a good sense of humour, a big dose of patience and a dash of humility, and you will be rewarded many-fold.
I always enjoy tipnut as I remember many of the old patterns and kitchen tips. I am 67 years old and have lived through wars, depressions, recessions, job losses, divorce and just plain ole hard times. I am so glad to see the resurgence of many of these tips. I was especially moved when I read the grandmas wedding tip to her granddaughter. My grandmother lived to be 92. She left us with many memories of living with her in Hackett Arkansas each summer. Wash day was very much a family affair and as a young mother and bride I knew how to wash clothes on the washboard. Nothing went to waste as her house had only l light bulb with a plug in the whole house. No plumbing. I love to remember those old days but thank heavens I live in a more modern time. Keep sending me memories and teaching a whole new generation of women and men how to survive if our system of things ever, God forbid collapses
I just want to say how much I enjoyed reading Sharon Leete’s comment 🙂
I am in the process of gathering together family recipes as well as many that look so very good that I want to try. Your poems have found a place in the content along with many that I already had, and quotes that I have collected for years are liberally sprinkled throughout. Am trying so hard to get it all finished by Christmas for my three daughters and two grandchildren.
I am 74 and I remember my grandmother, not doing laundry the way described, but rather making soap in our back yard over an open fire. My folks would save bacon dripping and others fats all year so as to have it ready for her when she came to visit in the summer…I have never forgotten how caustic lye is.
Thanks so much for these oldies but goodies!
All these beautiful sayings brings me back home on our farm, thank-you kindly for sharing…
Just read happiness for a day and it sounds like it could be used on my job. There is so much drama going on right now I think that poem has a good spot there on our board of info.
I’ll gladly give the rule, that I make my biscuits by
But I’m not sure you will make that bread the same as I
‘Cause cooking’s like religion is; some’re selected and some ain’t
And rules they no more make a cook, than sermons make a saint.
Leafing through my Nana’s old recipe book with recipes spanning from the 1920s to the new millenium, the year she died, I found a different way. More emphasis on white flour and knitting. Names credited to the recipe-giver. Recipes that did the rounds. Recipes where ‘best’ is crossed out and a note saying that there is a ‘best’ version on another page!
Among the pages I found a note that she would want me to keep.A version of a ‘recipe’ for life you have provided above. A poet, she often added phrases of her own and I expect she has done so here.
“Mix equal parts of faith and courage. Mix well with a sense of humour, sprinkle with a few tears. Add a large helping of kindness. Bake in a good (natured) dish. When done dust with laughter. Remove self pity. Serve generously.” (Mary Jane Blanche “Jean” ‘Jinty” Lewis 1908-2000)