Put On Your Apron, It's Time For Home Ec Class!
Copyright 2023 by Sara Etgen-Baker
of Sara in the kitchen wearing the first apron she ever made.
Before the Internet, fast food restaurants,
high school girls of my generation took Home Ec. Class. It was one
of the few electives available to us girls in 1965. Boys didnít
take home economics. It just didnít happen and by all counts
may even have been illegal.
girls didnít take shop class. Doing so was unthinkable!
We girls were thrilled with our Home Ec.
gave us a break from academia and afforded us an opportunity to
develop the prized homemaking skills we were told weíd need to
care for our future husbands and families. As I recall, Home Ec. was
divided into two semesters: The first was sewing, the second was meal
preparation and nutrition. Since women of that time rarely cooked
without wearing an apron, our first sewing project was making our own
apron to wear in the cooking lab.
I chose to make a half apron and learned
how to cut out
a pattern; pin it to the fabric; cut the fabric; baste the garment;
thread the sewing machine; and guide the material under the advancing
presser foot. By semesterís end, I finished my apron and
proudly wore it, for having my own apron was symbolic of womanhood
and a rite of passage into it.
next semester, I learned cooking terms, how to read
a recipe, and how to create a balanced diet using the food pyramid.
What excited me the most about cooking class were all the cookie
recipes! I had an almost uncontrollable love for sweets, especially
cookies. So strong were my cookie cravings that I was implicated in
the notorious 1965 chocolate chip cookie dough caper my friends and
fellow future homemakers engineered. Okay, I did eat a little of the
dough, but wasn't involved in the actual heist. I was at most an
accessory after-the-fact. Regardless, I was sent to the principalís
office and given a choice to either serve detention for a week or
stay after school and clean the cooking lab ovens. I opted to clean
the ovens all while wearing the apron Iíd made.
At yearís end, most of my friends discarded
aprons as well as their love for homemaking choosing other electives
like cheerleading, drill team, choir, and band. I continued taking
home economics classes then majored in college home economics hoping
to become a home economics teacheróuntil the day I set the
cooking lab on fire. Apparently I didnít have much of an
aptitude for serious cooking. I did, however, have a fiery passion
for words and writing; I switched majors and became an English
Now, I rarely cook or sew, but my love for
especially chocolate chip cookies, remains. I occasionally give into
my hankering; don my first apron; and make homemade chocolate chip
cookies. More often than not, I indulge myself setting aside some
refrigerated cookie dough that I secretly eat by the spoonfuls while
ordering takeout and waiting for the chocolate chip cookies to bake.
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
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