‘Gender roles and the curriculum boys and home economics’ published in 1983, my friend Susan Johne criticised the strong female bias of the home economics textbooks, and the questions set for the exams.
Here are some exam questions from the time that reinforce the role of the woman as cook, caterer and cleaner for her husband and family. Remember these questions were given to boys and girls for their practical and theory exam and I had to excuse it as old fashioned, but things would change!
Practical Cookery exam questions from 1970s
1. Your brother and a friend are playing football. Prepare, cook and serve a substantial meal for them on their return home. You are all going out for the evening. Iron the shirt your brother will wear and sponge and press either the skirt or trousers that you will wear.
2. Your father and brother are going fishing for the day. Launder your father’s sweater. Leave to dry and press it if it dries in time. Make some meat pasties or pies and pack up with salad and fruit and a flask of coffee for their picnic meal. Cook and serve a substantial two course dinner ready for their return.
This is from 1970s theory exam
Suggest 2 dinners for a housewife who does her own cooking and shopping
a) a dinner cooked quickly on her return from shopping
b) a dinner which can be left cooking while she is out.
Dave Smith has done me some artwork to go with the illustrated edition of the book coming soon.