When I was at school we did Domestic Science.  Also known as Home Economics.  And no, it was not simply to teach the pupils at my all girls school how to boil an egg - there really was aspects of science and home economy to the subject.  I didn't appreciate that at the time, but while visiting with my sister, Alison, in Brisbane, I was browsing her cookery books and a flood of recognition and memories hit me when I saw this book:


This was the standard text book for home economics in South Africa.  I am sure it will send shivers down the spine of anyone at school in South Africa in the 1970's.

I think this was the text book for Standard 6 students, so aged about 13.  And while I may smile at some of the old fashioned approaches to modern life (even a bit old fashioned for then), such as this photograph giving an example of a well laid table, although judging from the very faint pencil illustration Alison clearly thought it needed one further touch - flowers:


or this step by step protocol on serving meals:


it did make me realise what a good grounding this approach gave students.  One chapter talks about the different food groups and how you should ensure a balance across all four groups, and includes examples of food types for each group:


while another (and I actually remember this picture so clearly from school) shows a smiling and frowning pot, indicating the rights and wrongs of how to cook vegetables:


There was also a section on the pros, but mostly cons, of using prepackaged foods.  Some of the information was a little less helpful, perhaps, and very dated, and some of the photographs just made me smile, such as this photo illustrating why it was necessary to eat healthily:


and this one demonstrating how to sweep:


Alison must have thought that page awfully important as she's ringed it in red!  The reason I added "nightmare" to the title is I didn't do very well in Home Economics.  I loved the cooking part of the subject, but that was only a small portion of the subject.  Much of the time in class was taken up with how to run home accounts and budgets, and, as you can see from above, how to sweep!  Any of you who know me know that I will never be "Homemaker of the Year".  I think I only did the subject for a couple of years when a wise teacher probably pointed me in other directions and other subjects.