Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Vintage Home Ec & Plum Squares

This week we have all been very busy around the house, we are getting everything ready for my daughter's sweet 16 birthday BBQ. Then right into 4th of July celebrations. As I was working on organizing some of my books, I came across two very fun vintage Home Ec books that I bought awhile back.

These books are wonderful, Adventuring in Home Living from 1959, and Teen Guide to Home-Making from 1961. I bought these when I realised that our middle school didn't have a home ec class. When I was in middle school, it was one of most favorite classes. Now these books are from before my time, I was born in 1973, but even in the mid '80s when I was in 7th and 8th grade everyone had to take basic home ec and basic shop, after that you could go on to more advanced versions of both classes if you wanted to. I took "fashion sewing" in the 8th grade and loved that I could make my own things. I do think the kids these days are missing out by not having these classes.

As I look through the subjects in my vintage Home Ec. books, I am amazed at how many wonderful things were taught to the students. Everything from proper grooming, care of clothing, how to shop for good quality items, healthy meal planning, cleaning skills, caring for the sick, doing your share in the family, entertaining guests- the list goes on.

All of these things are important to living a good and healthy life. I can't wait to spend some time going through these books with my kids, I am looking forward to learning some of these wonderful skills. I would encourage everyone to try finding some of these old home ec text books on ebay or at the thrift shop or used book shop. Super fun to read!!

Now for a recipe- last night for dessert I made Plum Squares- this is a wonderful easy recipe- and would be great for a summer potluck.

Plum Squares

Pre-heat oven to 375 F.

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter (softened or even mostly melted)
2 eggs
1 18 oz. jar of plum preserves

Add all of the ingredients to a bowl, and mix until crumbly. pat half of the mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13 in. baking pan sprayed with cooking spray. Spread the jam over this layer within a 1/4 inch from edge. Then crumble the rest of the mixture over the top.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until top looks cooked and light golden. Careful removing- the jam will be bubbling hot. Let cool, and cut into squares. This same recipe would be good with just about any preserves.

Hope everyone is having a nice week and gearing up for the holiday weekend!


  1. Some people feel that home ec would take time away from other 'college appropriate' classes. I wish there were more 'life application' classes in high school. because I was good in my classes, but I find typical life things kinda hard (just a class on insurance would be awesome lol). I bet those vintage books will be a hoot :) And those plumb squares look really good.

  2. These look GREAT!! I just LOVE vintage recipes. I will be making these with my girls.

  3. Thanks for all of the nice comments!

    I agree Kelly, life application classes would be so helpful. These vintage books are pretty fun to read through a lot of the info is very different from today- I really got a kick out of the description of light, medium, and full breakfasts- even the light breakfast was pretty big by todays standards.

    Lisa- hope you and your girls enjoy making these!


  4. ooh, that dessert looks really yummy- and easy too!
    Those books are priceless, it's too bad that those things aren't taught today. I never took a home-ec. class either, but I sure wish I could have. :)

  5. You have no idea how grateful I am that you posted that picture. I have been looking forever for that Home Ec book, but couldn't remember the name of it or the author. "Adventures in Home Living" was a book my Dad picked up for me at a used book store, about 1968 or so and I read that from cover to cover for years. My Mom tossed it out one day and I have longed to find it. It was like a little sanctuary of homemaking tips, and I was sad when she tossed it out. At least I know the title and author now and can try to find it. Thanks again!


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