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1950s Domestic Wisdom

The following are excerpts from a speech given by Hazel McIntyre at the 1956 Alberta Home Economics Association Convention.

". . . when one thinks of the micro-wave oven which bakes food in cool dishes - a baked potato in four minutes, a baked apple in five, a roast in little over an hour. The person who said as she watched the food cook that she didn't believe it even if she could see it, expresses a little of the feeling that some of us have. Thermostats and timers on the ovens, caloric control on hot plates, ovens in the wall, heating in the floor, modern vacuum cleaners, automatic washers and dryers, steam irons, frozen foods, aeroplanes, television, and nylon stockings! Those of us who have watched these appear can gloat over every one of them and show the back of our hand to the good ol days. One thing I cam on that gave me pause—there are now empty calories and full one! . . .

"And as to the future—that's the question. Having a 'captive audience' I shall take advantage of the situation to scold you and, I hope, encourage you. How many of you, with the educational privileges you have had, still use your minds? Do you say 'My these new fabrics are wonderful', but don't know where they where they came from or how to treat them? The micro-wave oven will soon be offered to you. Can you understand it or will you be suspicious that somehow or other it is radioactive and will harm you? . . . As for quick mixes - can you take them or leave them, knowing their weaknesses and good points? . . . My plea is that you insist on understanding the things you use every day . . . You could become frightened at the possibilities (of the future). But it is better, I think—I hope you agree with me—to do your work as it comes and enjoy all the wonders of our new world—as it unfolds day-by-day. It is an exciting world—appreciate it, enjoy it, and use your mind and heart to its limit."

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