I’m doing some research for Cake & Trouble I came across these images: 

Ok. I know, but they're from this article about deceptive marketing and Oatley. These images led me to another article that discussed why women in the 1950s were trimmer than women now. Since the upper-middle class, white American women in the 1950's are a formative shadow in Cake & Trouble, I fell down a research rabbit hole. One theory is that women in the 1950's were simply more active than we are. Housework was rigorous, and engaged the housewife from sun up to sun down--literally one of the things I read said 'sitting is for evenings.' In addition to being time-consuming, the processes involved were often manual and without the aid of conveniences we take for granted (food processor, microwave, dishwasher, clothes dryer). 

In a few clicks, I was reading the typical cleaning schedule of a 1950's housewife. Also found this list. So I'm thinking about acculturation, and how visual images shape language acquisition and definitions when you don't speak the language in a new country. Language provides a certain amount of cover to subvert. Say one thing but show something different. Say we want to show diverse love stories but show only slender, light-bright women with euro-centric features--all those meaningful monologues lose their power to seduce understanding when the language part of the construct is erased and all we have left is an image: slender, eurocentric, white or white approximating, domestic, content/happy. 

Because of the themes in C&T I keep coming back to the idea of the physical exertion of housework + the dress/grooming standards of the time + lack of shortcut devices (often they existed but were prohibitively expensive for the women who would have been consuming these images as a means of decoding the day to day of life in their new homeland, and translating/adapting these [proper or improperly] decoded images as they 'train' their daughters to be good American wives or good Cuban {or other immigrant culture}wives) and how those form a feedback loop that preferences the White Male Gaze (and by extension White Woman Body Politics) as a means of assimilation. 

But anyway. I'm going to take a stab at the 1950s housewife cleaning list while I'm working from home. The list is long and I'm not at all expecting to complete it each day (I'm still working full time and helping with the boys twice a week--plus, come ON.)--but I'm going to give it a level try. Here's 

Monday's list: 

  • Make Breakfast
  • Air out bed
  • Open blinds and windows
  • Breakfast
  • Clean up kitchen/table
  • Tidy with Bin, all rooms
  • Put away papers
  • Serve lunch
  • dust
  • straighten pillows/fluff
  • water plants
  • Make the bed
  • Dust the bedroom
  • Hang up any clothes out
  • put dirty clothes in the hamper
  • refresh towels in bath
  • check soap and tp
  • clean sink and counter
  • Wipe inside of the fridge
  • Discard old food
  • Wipe down kitchen work surfaces
  • Start Dinner
  • Throw all garbage in the house away
  • Rinse dishcloths and hang them to dry
  • Clean and disinfect all kitchen appliances*
  • Sweep or mop kitchen floor
  • Set table for dinner
  • Arrange living room for evening activity (puzzle, reading, or game)
  • A quick sweep of the entryway
  • Vacuum living room
  • Serve dinner
  • Clear table & do dishes
  • Small Walk
  • Evening activity: puzzle, reading, or game
  • Prep coffee maker/set table for breakfast

*There is a weekly chore for each day of the week, on Monday, it's the cleaning and disinfecting kitchen appliances, other days are laundry, scalding and disinfecting trash bins, deep cleaning the bathroom, etc etc so that each part of the house/aspect of house keeping gets one day of special attention)

I mean it might be doable, we'll see. Mostly I just don't see needing to do most of these things every single day. The bathroom counters and kitchen counters I get, dishes and dish rags, etc---but vacuum the living room every single day? Sweep the entry every single day? Ehhhh we'll see. 

All of this to say: 

I've prepped the coffee pot with grounds and orange rinds and cardamom pods, peppercorns, and bay leaves. I've mixed up a breakfast bake and it's in the fridge for tomorrow morning. And--I just found out you can make eggs in a rice cooker!! So we got a 20$ rice cooker from Meijer and tomorrow I'm going to make (hopefully soft jammy) eggs to serve over the breakfast bake with coffee and toast. 

Can you believe you can make eggs in a rice cooker?? Wild.


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