Domestic Life 1912

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The Glenwood woodstove was around right into WWI days. This one is about 1900 vintage and is in the Lizzie Borden kitchen. It was originally wood but is now piped for gas as we must cook on it for guests. Lots of work to keep the chrome polished.Lizzie burned her dress but did little other cooking! The closet is where she pulled out that dressed covered with "brown paint" before stuffing it in the stove.
The Vanderbilt kitchen was a dream- light and airy and the domain of The French Chef. This was on the tour of the Breakers
The kitchen was in a ground floor wing- an innovation.
As the one who tends to do the cooking around my house, I wish I had a kitchen that large, and airy with a nice place to hang pots and pans that was cat-proof.

I was not aware that "icebox" was a term used in the south... I only heard it out east. Funny thing; regional terms, I wonder now about "stove" vs. "range"? Seemingly interchangable, yet words have a way of becoming habit.

About my thing: "survival cooking"- I just meant that you're taking care of yourself; which is fine indeed! Sorry, I don't want Anyone going though an Edwardian detox(!)...for that I'll do the dishes!

Take care-
Hi Kris,

Yes we say "icebox" as well as other old fashioned phrases. We also have a habit of "fixin' to go" places or "fixin' to do" things down here. We are always "fixin'" something or other!

Stove or range? It's definitely "stove" in Texas.

As to my taking care of myself - that's very nice of you to say. But the detox is one of the reasons I have done so well! I recommend it to all who don't mind starving themselves 3 days a week with a liquid diet! It's horrible the first time round but you get used to it and it really does help, not just for weight loss and/or maintenance, but for cleansing the system and the mind. I credit it with actually "curing" my diabetes.

Now go on chattering about old kitchens. I will be listening and might learn how to "Edwardianize" mine. If I can't fill it with heaps of food for those frighteningly full dinner courses, I can at least make it "look" the part.

My best,
The housemouse site, great! Thanks. This wonderful thread is being reinvigorated thanks to Shelley's reorganization of the Gilded Age section. I'd never seen it before. I've just uncovered a fireplace and discovered a meat roasting 'thing', and I intend to have a go with it! Alert the Fire Dept. .... And on the subject of part of this thread - Izal - I know it. If recommended for 'feminine hygiene' - well, it would amount to culpable homicide in my opinion.
I'm sure somebody else had done this question before but I would like to know the kind of treatment between a couple of 1912. I mean, in public a couple should had shown some formality but I heard some of them called each other "Mr." and "Mrs." or "Sir" and "Lady". Were this formal treatments used in private life too?!

Regards, JC

Vikki Aris

Former Member
I'd have thought it depended on the relationship between the couple themselves. But I think it was quite common for them to call each other by first names or pet names in private
Married couples calling each other Mr. and Mrs. is rather more 18th century, Joao.

In Jane Austen's 18C Pride & Prejudice, the moderately well-off parents of the heroine call each other Mr. and Mrs. Bennett in front of other people. What they called each other in more private moments is not revealed, but possibly "My dear" would satisfy both custom and affection. Their daughters, however, seemed to call their partners / spouses by their christian names, which suggests times were already changing. They still tended to refer to them with others as Mr. though. Sometimes it seems that, amongst close peers - sisters, friends etc. - they referred to them by only their surname e.g. "My dear Bingley ...". So this convention, in England, was changing over 100 years before the Titanic disaster. What is true, however, is that in 1912 some of them still might have referred to their husbands / wives as Mr. / Mrs. in conversations with comparative strangers, or people of a lower social order.

But how times change. I answered the phone the other day to hear a cold-calling salesman, in a call centre in Bangladesh, cheerily ask,
"Is that you, Monica? Mohan here!"

Now, even though I'm perfectly used to everyone here in face-to-face situations immediately calling me "Mon" - from the postman to the local MP - I did find this rather annoying.
Monica, a mate of mine, a former ship's electrician, deals with Indian cold callers in a novel way. He abuses them in gutter Hindi! Rather spoils their spiels.

Vikki Aris

Former Member
> Wow, that is annoying. Luckily I've yet to experience that one. I'm quite happy that I'm still called 'Miss Aris' in business situations, and I tend to do the same when I'm talking to other people. Unless it's a contact through work that I'm familiar with, and then first names are quite normal. Actually I think there are some countries that have retained this small degree of formality better - like Germany. There it's quite common for work colleagues who don't know each other very well or who are at different levels of an organisation to call each other "Frau" or "Herr" whatever. Goes hand in hand with the decision to call someone "Sie" (formal 'you') or "Du" (informal 'you', probably closest equivalent in english is 'thee', which has dropped out of usage except in norther dialects). Actually, I'd be interested to see if 1912 habits of referring to one's husband in public had any difference across geographical areas?

Vikki Aris

Former Member
> Dave, could you find out from your friend how to say "My name is not Mrs Lawrence, and I'm not interested. Now update your records and stop calling me before I advertise to the world how stupid your company clearly is" in Hindi?
Oh dear, Dave. On the one hand, like Vikki, I am tempted to ask for a crash course in gutter Hindi. But on the other hand, I know that these call-centre people in the Indian sub-continent are mostly degree graduates, and excellent English speakers, who are recruited to this ghastly job because work is comparatively scarce, despite reports of the burgeoning Indian economy.

So the poor b****** have little autonomy, even though they might desperately wish for some. I did once have a wonderful conversation with a terrific young lady over a bike I wanted to buy.
"Can you speak up?" she asked, "the Monsoon is rattling on the tin roof and I can hardly hear you."

She was very good indeed on bike specifications, and was extremely cheerful in general. I always think of her when I get the Mohans of this world, and hope she has moved on to better things.
Mon, I think you're spot on with 'my dear'. Or, less formally and perhaps a bit further down the social scale, just 'dear'. From my own far distant youth (South London, working class) I recall that a spouse was far more often addressed as dear, darlin' or luv than by their actual name. it was also quite common in a family for a man to address his wife as Mother, especially if their children were present - eg "Get the kettle on, Mother". In conversations with others there would be references to "My missus", "the wife", "my better half", "my old man" etc (not forgetting the Arfur Daily classic 'er indoors!). Use of the name seemed to be a last resort.
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