How Come one Woman is so Happy Washing Dishes, and the Other Isn’t? Can You Guess?

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Well, duh, the poor tired woman doesn’t even have a dish drainer! Sheesch!

I got to thinking about 1950’s housewives and decided to do a post about my grandmother Rose (who I called Nana). She was really a 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s housewife. She took it seriously, did it well, and I respected her. She died in 1987 in her mid-eighties. She was the consummate housewife and cook. Here is a photo I saved from Architectural Digest taken in the early 1950’s of her kitchen and family dining area. Look pretty 1950’s to you? Ozzie and Harriet could walk right in the door. (If you are too young….gooogle it).

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I still have my grandmother’s handmade aprons and can attest to the fact that they were worn always in the kitchen. She had everyday aprons and fancy, for party-aprons, that were made  out of taffeta. I kid you not! I swear this lady stole Nana’s taffeta apron and I want it back!
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I would SO wear it for parties.

Here is one of her everyday aprons that I kept.
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This is a recipe from Nana. She would make it for family dinners and picnics. I especially remember eating it on a picnic in Borrego Springs when I was a child, around fifty years ago! My grandmother was of Polish and German descent and she was an incredible cook. This is a sticky fingers chicken dish, hence it’s name!  I haven’t seen a recipe like it and it is still a hit in my family.

So here is my tribute to Nana and her:

STICKY CHICKEN

1 package chicken thighs with bone and skin

1 package split chicken breast with bone and skin

4 T flour

2 heaping T bacon fat (for best flavor or canola oil for health)

1 large chopped yellow onion

1 heaping cup chopped celery

1 package Far Eat Rice Chicken Flavored Rice with spice packet (Nana used long grain white rice)

1/3 cup wild rice

1 t salt

½ t pepper

1 T fresh chopped parsley

1t fresh thyme

1t fresh minced sage

½ t nutmeg

1 cup hot chicken broth

¼ cup dry vermouth

Shake chicken pieces in flour in large zip lock bag. Brown in bacon fat until well browned. Remove chicken from pan. Add onion and celery and sauté until soft and slightly brown scrapping the brown bits into the veggies.

Remove from heat.

Add two rices to bottom of a large roasting pan with seasoning packet. Stir in ½ cup of hot broth. Place chicken on top of rice. Season with salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, sage, and nutmeg. Pour remaining broth and vermouth over herbs, seasoning, and chicken. Cover pan tightly with lid or foil.

Bake for 1 hour at 350-degree oven.

Serve with your choice of vegetables.  And, don’t forget your apron!

I’ll leave you with a 50’s ad if you need a brush up on the era.

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I love this 50’s theme so my next post is going to be, “I Live Near Betty’s Crocker’s House,” which I do, and I will prove in my next post. So stay tuned!

106 thoughts on “How Come one Woman is so Happy Washing Dishes, and the Other Isn’t? Can You Guess?

  1. I so remember those apron wearing days. I was a bit of a rebel, tom boy type and looked on the apron as a totally unnecessary article, my Mother always growled at me to put one on!!! Look forward to your next Betty Crocker post, my ex-husband gave me a Betty Crocker cook book as a wedding present, good job he did as I couldn’t cook very well at 19 when I got married…

    • Pomm-
      Funnily enough there is one of Nana’s aprons that I wear pretty much all the time. It’s in the wash right now. It’s one of those put on like a dress, button down the back jobbers that is so practical, and protects my clothes. It’s handmade by Nana and very old, and still holding up…I’ll include a photo with my Betty Crocker post because it is very Betty Crockerish! Love it that you were a tomboy! Still maybe are just a bit?
      Here is the link for the blog of the people traveling down under and taking aamazing photos:
      http://austravelphotography.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/up-to-the-tip-of-australia/
      Cheers,
      Cindy

  2. I love the 50’s style!!! I like it so much that I have purchased many dress patterns off Ebay and am making them to wear. And the aprons too!!! I like the way women acted like women and men acted like men, I may be alone in that, but oh well. I like Doris Day, Jimmy Stewart, and Cary Grant movies. I think your menories of your Nana are so sweet and I hope you share more sometime. We could learn alot form her good no-nonsense way of living. 🙂 Love the aprons!!
    Angela

    • Angela-
      I do too. Love those movies, love the food/cooking, love the clothes, love the whole almost lost homemaker role as something to be proud of. Nana was a very happy person. My daughter agrees with us on the 50’s style. She is getting married in March. She bought this gorgeous 1950’s retro cocktail dress on ebay that she will wear. My mother should find it very familiar. Fitted bodice, tiny cinched wiast, full organza skirt, really beautiful and I think classic.
      Here’s to our grandmothers & mothers and their cooking & style! Love it that you’re making the dresses and getting the patterns on ebay!
      Cindy

  3. Holy cow the last ad is wrong! LOL It’s funny you blogged about your Nana as I was mentioning in one of my comments yesterday I should go through my Grammy’s recipes and see what I can find. Love you have the aprons.

  4. Yes. The ads are shocking. I wonder if our granchildren will look back on current advertising fifty years from now with equal shock. Probably. The advertisizing business is just not a very postive force, is it? Selling and manipulating us, often subliminally. Really not respectful of women, then or now. Still I love the 50’s era. Love the focus on homemaking and family and cooking. All things I love to do! Glad you appreciate the aprons. So do I
    Cheers & keep giving us those recipes!
    Cindy

    • Petit-
      Yes the aprons are classics and I wear them! LOL! I will wear them this TG when I make your cupcakes, still have to pick the second recipe to make…what a fun choice since all the recipes are divine! Thanks for commenting! Cheers.

  5. Love the old pictures! Those old aprons bring back memories of my mother and grandmother as well–talk about a blast from the past! As always, I enjoyed your post and the walk (in my mind’s eye) down Memory Lane!

  6. Thanks Becky! It’s fun isn’t it. Can’t believe they are reintroducing 50’s furniture. Love the clothes and homemaker stuff but the furniture? Hilarious! Thanks so much for popping in. Love your blog as well! Cheers.

  7. Those ol’ photos from the 50’s are a hoot! (Sadly, I’m old enough to remember some of those styles growing up.) I inherited some of my Mom’s old kitchen aprons, and I still use the one that slips over your head and across your upper back, and covers everything from your shoulders on down – terrific vintage style and so practical. I enjoyed your post!

  8. Cubby- Yes I wear one of those one’s too. Was thinking of posting a post of myself in it for the blog but it needed to be washed because I use it so much! LOL! Thanks for dropping by.

  9. When I cook and I enjoy cooking, I wash the dishes and clean up, yes, I also enjoy doing that however, she always takes the dishes and puts them into the dishwasher? 🙁

  10. Sachem-
    Hmmm, maybe that’s it, her hubby wasn’t helping? Nowadays hubby’s do! Still I think a dish-drying-rack would have been a real mood elevator. LOL!
    Glad to hear you like to cook & clean up.
    So do I. Love all the domestic stuff in fact. (Don’t tell anyone. Its’ not PC!) 🙂
    Still learning & enjoying your posts.
    Cheers.

  11. In a age where there were no double sinks, you needed a dish drainer just give yourself a sense that you were accomplishing something. My mohter’s process is to wash s you cook, then there is less to clean up at the end. It makes all the sense in the world. Thanks Cindy for the like of my recent post “Sunset in October”..

  12. Something special about our kitchens and the flow into our kitchens from the women of earlier generations. I use daily the scarred old wooden spoon that my grandmother used for so long, and a pair of kitchen shears that I grew up watcfhing my mother use. Both items are entirely functional, but they are magic as well…

    • Penny-
      Yes. It is the art of cooking and homemaking! Such a joy for some of us, and our mothers and grandmothers before us. Something to be proud of if you enjoy it. Love that you kept the spoon and shears. Your mother and grandmother are there with you in your kitchen in spirit. How nice. Thank you for stopping by.

  13. Do you ever shop at Anthropology? They have tons of reproduction retro fashions and kitchen items. I just bought a cool retro looking apron! Check out Anthropology.com for some inspiration!

  14. Love the aprons – i still use aprons when cooking for parties – will use it on Thanksgiving one of those lab-coat on backwards-effect from the 60!s – Madras plaid – it was my Mom’s who passed away a few years ago.. It brings a smile to my face every time I wear it. Love the post – good times!

  15. Claire-
    I do too! I was going to take a photo for the post with me in the apron, but it really wasn’t very flattering! ):
    I definitely will be cooking in it for TG!
    Love your blog & thanks for visiting!

  16. I still have one or two aprons stashed away “for special occasions.” I was married at the end of the 50’s so those ads take me back to my teen years. And it was my mom who cooked and entered jingle contests. Have you read the book, The Prizewinner of Defiance Ohio? I have kept my copy to remind me of those ads and those years. Anyway, I just love this post Cindy. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Dorann-
      No I haven’t read the book, but now I want too! Thanks for the tip. Yes I look back on those days with nostalgia for the innocence of the bygone era. Bittersweet! Love your posts too, you know! Cheers!

  17. That last photo of the catsup, asking if she could open it. Reminds me of a line in a Merle Haggard song “do you remember’, when a women could chop wood and still would.

  18. The one on the right has hot running water. The one on the left has to go to the well to get water and then boil it on the stove so she can use it to wash the dishes. Your Nana was in Architectural Digest? Wow! I’m impressed! I have two issues and I understand they are valuable now, about $100 each is what I read somewhere. I don’t know if that is true but that’s what I heard. One of mine has Jennifer Anniston’s house featured. So you retired as a psychotherapist/mental health director so that you could live among hungry coyotes, mean rattlers, unfriendly bulls, twitchy dogs, and reeking chickens. Things haven’t changed much, have they? Just kidding. Yeah, yeah, I know. Why do I feel like I’m not the first to make this comparison?

    • Okay you are completely HILARIOUS! Yes, you are the first to make the connection between my job and the, uuuuhhh, fauna at The Holler! So clever of you! The animals are a tad more predictable than the humans……You also are the first to mention Architectual Digest….Two firsts in one post! Clever woman! Nana & Papa had two houses in AD, but I only have one remaining copy of the first, not second house. So glad to have met you & definitely look forward to future chats. BTB I thought Ms. Aniston’s house in AD was positively ridiculous, if anybody cares. I’m sure they don’t. So over the top…..with that pack of 1950 cigarettes laying around…..puleeseee. I think she sold it for 9 trillion dollars to downsize!

      • Since I’ve retired (semi-retired, I can’t seem to admit I’m retired) I’ve watched a lot of animal shows and animal dvds and I’ve got a lot more respect for animals than I’ve ever had before, not that I was lacking in that department. Animals are a tad more predictable than humans not to mention that they have a tad more “horse sense.” You know, I haven’t looked at that issue (of JA) in a long time. I’ll have to dig it out. I do vaguely remember that she was selling her house. Now she is engaged to some French guy which is probably why she is selling her house. Sorry, but that sounds like an accident waiting to happen. Don’t mean to be stereotyping French men but….Can you see her with anyone in particular?

  19. I think she’s marrying Paul Theroux’s son….Paul wrote all those travel books…like The Mosquito Coast and The Pillars of Hercules. I read them while I am traveling to the area he writes about. He’s interesting and visits lesser traveled spots in well traveled areas.

  20. A very nice post! People like me can only imagine what 50’s were like and for people in non-western countries esp so 🙂

    Googled Ozzie and Harriet. It starred the real Nelson family. That must be the very first reality show!

    • Sapna,
      How wonderful to have this discussion about a cheesey 1950’s Amrerican TV show with a young engineer in India! Blogging is so wonderful!!! I guess you could say sorta reality-ish since they were a real family, but it was scripted and just a silly show, very polite at all times since it was early TV. I don’t watch TV now. Can’t tolerate it. So I have never seen a reality show. I imagine they are awful! I can see that much of the humor in that post would not transmute well in non-Western cultures. Some people might be saying, “whats a dish drainer?” “why are Americans always so unhappy?” 🙂 As a matter of fact, it would be funny to do a post on THAT!!!
      Enjoying perusing your wonderful blog with all the great recipes and other interesting posts. Very nice to make your acquaintance!
      Cheers,
      Cindy

    • Love it so much that you googled Ozzie & Harriet!!! I can find the answer to anything from the google guys. I stumped them once and I was thrilled! 1950’s advertising in the states had horrible messages for females. But today’s advertising is still very bad, so we are in complete agreement on this! Thanks for visiting & commenting!

  21. I so enjoyed this post. My mom had and used aprons just like the ones in your picture. She was married in the fifties and such a hard-working and happy homemaker. She also worked full-time, but she had energy for both. I wish I had her energy!

  22. Truthfully, I’ve never even seen an apron this day and age, but I would like to try your delicious sticky chicken recipe! I have friends who come by and cook for me all the time, so I’d like to reciprocate for once this holiday season. Wouldn’t they be surprised!

  23. Try it and let me know how it turns out! If I knew you, I’d give you an apron. Then you could cook the chicken and meet your friends at the door in the apron. They’d be REALLY surprised! 🙂

  24. Thanks for liking my post. Your grandmother sounds very cool. Unfortunately, being a good mother, cook, and mother got a little lost in the last years. I think we threw the baby out with the bath water. People like your grandmother were more valuable than we gave them credit for. (But, we have come a long way, and wouldn’t like to go back and take away the rights women have won.)

  25. In the top two pictures, I notice too that the happy woman’s kitchen is light (white tiled walls) and sunny, with plants in the window. The unhappy woman has a dark, drab kitchen, dark cabinets…obviously she needs to rehab her kitchen!!!

  26. I love this, it brings back so many memories from my childhood. My daughter actually asked me to make or buy her an apron :D…. I bought one cuz it was quicker, but she looks so cute in it… Great post!

  27. This was such a good post and such a great title choice! I was going to answer your question… If it had been a set up for a commercial for JOY (dish detergent,,, har har…) it would be perfect! I also love the aprons… Remember when there was a bread drawer and an apron drawer?! Thanks for making me smiling once again with your brilliant writing!

    • Thank you so much! You are most kind! Oh yes I remember, and a pull out wooden cutting board. Those things were great by the way. I want them back. I think they stopped building them in because some women didn’t clean them and spread bacteria. But now we have nifty lysol sanatizing wipes………

  28. Reminded me of my grandmothers. Both apron wearers. I remember one even had a black plain yet sort of fancy type, not taffeta, but thin – so really it was ornamental – I suppose for serving at funerals? As youngun’s us girl cousins would fight to play dress up with it and some of her other aprons too. Nice memories here. Thanks.

    We’ve got some practical aprons, for BBQ’s but not any ‘womanly’ ones. A bit ago I worked in retail and aprons had come back into style at least for a season of that particular year. Lots of fun patterns. But since I don’t dress up or wear pearls like Mrs. Nelson I generally don’t wear an apron.
    🙂

    • Love this comment. How many memories it brings up. Remember both Mrs Nelson & Mrs Cleaver wore pearls with their aprons! How lovely & unrealistic! Still that image is ingrained in all of us who grew up during this era, and I still wear perfume everyday!!! You know Mrs Nelson & Cleaver did too!!! 🙂 Thank you for the comment

  29. OK Cindy, guess what you did! In the middle of reading about you and your blog I stopped.and started writing, It’s midnight here in Thailand. You sparked some thoughts and I had to write them down. Story to follow…about being born perfect and then….now at 67 I am back to almost perfection, a baby with no diapers. Thanks for your inspiration! Story title will be…”I FIGURED OUT HOW TO TURN BACK THE CLOCK OF TIME!”

  30. Loved this post. My Momma and my Grandmaman wore aprons all the time and yes I did too. I only do now if I am doing a lot of baking. This post brought back many memories for me. Thanks. Have a nice Saturday. 🙂 Renee

  31. I loved this article! Who doesn’t wonder if life would be easier if we could return to the fifties? Our grandparents really do influence our lives, more than we care to admit.

  32. What fun to have a grandmother and to be one! You give such a dear picture of yours. Thanks for sharing. Warm Wishes, and thanks for all you “likes” to my writing. Tasha

  33. Thank you for visiting my blog today. I appreciate the time you took to stop by. May your day be filled with joy and peace.
    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

  34. I so loved the last bit ‘You mean a woman can open this’ pic, that made me smile instantly!! 🙂 Hello Cindy, thanks for liking my posts, I think you’re blog’s fab too and look forward to your posts!

  35. What fun ! I grew up with grandparents who were immigrants – very old country. Never learned to cook, thanks to gram. She cooked for two families all day, a school for lunch, and a country club at night, and never let anyone in her kitchen. Posted something a week or so ago about all the women presidents in Latin America, and sarcastically posed the question, “Who will do the laundry?” Women always seem so capable to my scattered self that I’m sure they can manage. Like your style…glad you found my blog, or I found yours, or whatever.
    Later…

    • So nice of you! Thank you! Your grandmother sounds wonderful, and to her, just a normal day, EVERYDAY! So impressive….Who will do the laundry??? The men!!! LOL! It is awesome that LA has all these women presidents. When we were in Argentina, we stayed in a hotel owned by the female president of Brazil as we explored Patagonia, which of course is run by Argentina’s female president….I said to my husband, we sure aren’t in the States are we?? Come to think of it, the hotel had alot of male staff…… and I bet they WERE doing the laundry!!! Hilarious!
      Love your blog and visa versa re: finding you and your blog! Cheers to you~

      • Weird dynamic with women leaders. In U.S. the lines are so drawn, go to a controversial church, or make an off-the-cuff statement twenty years in the past, it becomes an issue that can sink a candidate for prez…here, they have short memories. These women are outspoken about abortion and women’s rights in conservative Catholic countries…no problem. But then they have to adjust their rhetoric to stay in power and follow any agenda below the weak radar system. One woman I left out was from Panama…a peasant who chamioned women’s rights, didn’t shut up in power, and left office disgraced and fouled by charges of corruption. That’s so common here it wouldn’t be mentioned of a male prez.
        Later…

      • Yes the political process is so demoralizing. Anyone who represents a new group of previously un-represented constituents, women presidents in Latin America, Obama in the US, has a intensely tough path to walk with certain factions desperately hoping for failure. Still the United States elected Barack TWICE and Latin American keeps electing more female presidents, and this surely is some progress against the rascist and sexist regimes/idealogies of the past…..

  36. What a sweet post – that photo of the living room is amazing – was the house built in the 20s or 30s? It look like it has an arts and crafts feel to it. Nothing better than a Nana!

    • So you found Nana!! I suspected you might, seeing as we both loved ours!! The house was arts & crafts with lots of beautiful wood paneling. It is still in Rancho Santa Fe. My grandfather had it built in 1950 when he retired and moved west from Chicago. Thank you for finding my Nana and for your amazing blog. It brightens my day~

      • That’s it – the Chicago style. Very nice. I live in a “California Bungalow” built from a plan from one of those catalogs – not nearly so grand, but also unusual in the Ozarks. I’m enjoying your blog a lot too – so fun and upbeat. Great images too!

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