Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene


Chapter 7—Overburdened Housekeepers

With many, the all-absorbing object of life,—that which justifies any expenditure or labor,—is to appear in the latest style. Education, health, and comfort are sacrificed at the shrine of fashion. Even in the table arrangements, fashion and show exert their baleful influence. The healthful preparation of food becomes a secondary matter. The serving of a great variety of dishes absorbs time, money, and taxing labor, without accomplishing any good. It may be fashionable to have half a dozen courses at a meal, but the custom is ruinous to health. It is a fashion that sensible men and women should condemn, by both precept and example. Do have a little regard for the life of your cook. “Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” [Matthew 6:25.] CTBH 73.1

In these days, domestic duties claim almost the whole time of the housekeeper. How much better it would be for the health of the household, if the table preparations were more simple. Thousands of lives are sacrificed every year at this altar,—lives which might have been prolonged had it not been for this endless round of manufactured duties. Many a mother goes down to the grave, who, had her habits been simple, might have lived to be a blessing in the home, the church, and the world. CTBH 73.2

Satan is the inventor of these customs with which the society of our day is overburdened, and many of the votaries of fashion know no better way than to spend their precious probationary time in the almost fruitless endeavor to keep up with her ever-changing decrees. What account can they render in the Judgment to God, who has a just claim upon their time, their strength, and all their powers? CTBH 73.3

There is a general cry all over our land, “Where shall I find a good housekeeper, one who knows how to cook?” Indeed, the dearth of good cooks and housekeepers is becoming alarming. If this state of things continues, we shall be left entirely destitute of good domestic help. CTBH 73.4

But what is the reason for this fear of household duties among our girls? The great reason is, that such labor has been considered a disgrace. As a general thing, the cook has not received the respect due her. I have seen people, once poor but now rich, whose good sense seemed to have fled with their poverty, and they became superficial in everything. Some who learn to be seamstresses, type-setters, proof-readers, book-keepers, or school-teachers, consider themselves too aristocratic to associate with the cook. CTBH 74.1

These ideas have pervaded nearly all classes of society. The cook is made to feel that her occupation is one which places her low in the scale of social life, and that she must not expect to associate with the family on equal terms. Can you be surprised, then, that intelligent girls seek some other employment? Do you marvel that there are so few educated cooks? The only marvel is that there are so many who will submit to such treatment. CTBH 74.2

The cook fills an important place in the household. She is preparing food to be taken into the stomach, to form brain, bone, and muscle. The health of all the members of the family depends largely upon her skill and intelligence. Household duties will never receive the attention they demand until those who faithfully perform them are held in proper respect. CTBH 74.3

Self-love, self-worship, idolatry of self, have bound upon the necks of women a yoke grievous to be borne. They are weighed down with burdens heavy to carry. And this wearisome labor in the interest of fashion is repaid only by suffering and oppression. Christ, looking down the ages, saw the state of things which now exists, and to these overladen ones he gives the blessed invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:28, 29.] CTBH 74.4