Cookbook for Brides

Recently, I came across a gag wedding gift from my friend Terri.

It was a book called Cookbook For Brides by Dorothy Malone and it was published in 1947.

As I leafed through the pages, I was dismayed to discover that apparently, I am a hopeless failure as a wife.

I knew I was in trouble when I read part of the foreward: “At the time of marriage, only two out of any ten brides know how to cook. It’s a sad indictment of our sense of values, for every woman ultimately knows that a well-cooked meal is a most excellent adornment to a happy marriage.”


Ms. Malone continues: “It’s fun to  cook!…It’s an even greater thrill to watch the light of admiration that creeps into a husband’s eyes when he realizes that he has snatched a very jewel from the matrimonial mart and that he will be well and delightfully fed all the days of his life!”

Doug may have looked at me with admiration a time or two during our eighteen years of marriage, but it was never for my cooking.

And I’m pretty sure he cannot say that he has been well and delightfully fed all the days of his life by me.

My consternation continued as I moved on to chapter two: “Clever is the bride who is attractively dressed and nicely complexioned when the sun shines on her at breakfast time. An intelligent and beautiful bride I once knew had an excellent plan of procedure. Setting her mind to it, she rose 15 minutes before her husband and slipped noiselessly into her dressing room. There she tinted her complexion and put on a beguiling breakfast coat. When her husband’s eyes rested on her, a few minutes afterward, she looked as though she had just stepped from a freshly washed and rosy cloud.”

Does a blue fleece robe covered with white clouds count as a beguiling breakfast coat?

I was further admonished to “remember always that your table linen should be scrupulously spotless, freshly laundered, and smooth as a sheet of silver.”

I have placemats with lovely lake scenes on them.

When carving meat, “don’t moan if any splatters go out of bounds and land on the tablecloth, in spite of your best efforts. If you must moan, for goodness sake don’t do it publicly. Do it privately, preferrably in the privacy of your own soul.”

When I was growing up, the other moms on our street called me “The Mouth Of Theresa Avenue.”  I rarely say anything  in the privacy of my own soul when I am upset. Everyone around me pretty much knows it…although I am getting much better at this!

I’m certain that Ms. Malone was absolutely sincere when she wrote this book and it must have been helpful for the brides of that day. However, I am most grateful that I was a bride in the  1990’s and not 1947. Can you imagine the pressure of having to live up to these standards? (The things I shared were just the tip of the iceberg!).

I am blessed to have a husband who tells me I look beautiful even when I am wearing sweats and no makeup. One who chooses to see past my faults and concentrate on the good things. One who encourages my dreams and listens to my concerns with great patience. One who laughs heartily and often and is an amazing father.

Is he perfect?  Of course not….no man is. But he is the perfect man for me.  That man has had his hands full with me from day one. He doesn’t try to change me; he just loves me the way I am.

He is God’s greatest blessing to me.

And I am mighty thankful that he doesn’t give a hoot that I can’t cook, don’t own a breakfast coat, and have never once looked like I just stepped from a rosy cloud. 🙂



Filed under Friends and Family, Humor

6 responses to “Cookbook for Brides

  1. Therese

    I, too, would have been in very big trouble. I can cook but . . . I do appreciate your transparent admiration of your husband. It’s important to look at them as our greatest supporters. It’s too easy to see and focus on what they do wrong. Thank you Susan for your strong witness!

  2. The Elaine

    This is so cute, Susan. I think my Don thought I was the most beautiful when I was on a haywagon covered with sweat, hayseeds, and dirt. As miserable as that sounds, he would flash back that dimpled smile at me, and I thought I was in the best place in the world. But, I could cook and honestly, there was only ONE time in 42 years that I fixed a meal he didn’t like. Don’t recall what it was, and I am sure I never fixed it again. He was a darling and like you, he was the best gift God ever gave me!

  3. margaret

    This one brought lots of smiles. I am very thankful, indeed, that I wasn’t a bride back then. I am also thankful for a husband who prefers hamburger to any other meat and loves Hamburger Helper! 🙂

  4. Karen

    Oh my, she was writing about me! Can you imagine! Jody is so lucky! NOT!

  5. Destiny

    Oh dear … a hot breakfast at our house consists of a pop tart that spent thirty seconds in the toaster!

    My love language is … eating out!

  6. Johanna

    This is a great little gem, Sue! I too am glad to be a “modern” bride. I admit that I like to cook and keep a nice home… But I love that I am married to an enlightened man who understands there is more to a happy marriage than a pot roast in the oven and his slippers waiting by his chair. 🙂

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