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Home ec!

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I just answered another thread and for the first time in nearly 40 years, thought about my home economics class and the macaroni salad I had to make. I had never had macaroni salad before that! What did you have to cook in home ec?

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  1. The things I remember most vividly are cocoa and goldenrod eggs. I always thought the goldenrod eggs were good but rather boring, but when I showed my daughters how to make them they were thrilled, and want to make them all the time now.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Euonymous

      The only thing I remember about Home Ec was one time when we were doing something with potatoes, our group peeled a bunch. After class, during our Home Room period, our group was beckoned by the Principle's office to report to Home Ec. Our white haired teacher was appalled by our peeling techniques, leaving way too much potato on the skin. She then proceeded to show us, how to make potato soup out of those thick sliced skins we proceeded to discard. By the way, my Home Ec teacher brought to light the fact that I loved being in the kitchen, chopping and cooking. I had no one at home who loved to cook.

      1. re: mcel215

        My extremely frugal grandmother made "parsley soup" out of the water she had boiled potatoes in. Make a roux, add the potato water, add a lot of chopped parsley. Actually pretty good recession food.

      2. re: Euonymous

        And what are goldenrod eggs?

        1. re: somervilleoldtimer

          Goldenrod eggs are chopped hard boiled eggwhites in bechamel sauce. You spoon this onto toast, then sprinkle (decoratively if you can) with sieved hard boiled egg yolks.

        2. re: Euonymous

          My mom is a retired home ec teacher. Eggs goldenrod were a Sunday night staple for us.

        3. all i can remember actually making food-wise was a really bad muffin recipe and a basic salad. we spent too much time learning how to put out grease fires, and making aprons that we hardly even had a chance to wear by the time we finished them :)

          1. Nasty, nasty no-bake chocolate/peanut butter cookies. Yuck!

            1. Cornflake cookies ....
              I got a passing grade, even though I had signed up purely because it was largely populated with girls and not many of the other guys had the courage to take the class.

              6 Replies
              1. re: todao

                A weird sandwich filling made out of grated carrots, raisins, cheese, and Miracle Whip. Served on whole wheat bread.

                Also made the apron, I got bored and made a fancy pocket for it. And Swedish (?) embroidered tea towels.

                Great thread idea!!

                1. re: middydd

                  ok, i've heard of carrot-raisin salad, but with CHEESE? gack! that's just so wrong.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    And, as a sandwich filling? Ewww!!

                    1. re: middydd

                      ok, i was really thrown by this one so i had to do some searching to satisfy my curiosity. the closest thing i could find was the following recipe, which is published on several different websites. it's not quite as disturbing as the one you recall (the Miracle Whip alone makes me gag)...

                      http://www.astray.com/recipes/?show=C...

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Looks like the same stuff, thanks for digging up the recipe.

                2. re: todao

                  Huh! My mother actually ended up taking me out of home ec and putting me into drafting, it being the year after Title IX has passed, to achieve equality between boys and girls. I think my mother also was put off by the macaroni salad, since she was a marvelous cook and I was already a pretty good cook. Plus she never wore an apron (being a spotless person -- I've seen her cook an entire Chistmas dinner in a velvet blazer and both she and the kitchen were clean at the end!) and you would have had to kill me before you would find me in an apron when I was 14. So between all of those things, I did tranfer into drafting (called "mechanical drawing" at the time), and even though I was the only girl in that class, I had a good time.
                  I have to add that since I am unable to be near any food without getting it all over me, I finally made myself an apron that covers all of me, including my back, and I wear it all the time.

                3. I think I remember biscuits, french toast, and macaroni and cheese. I can't for the life of me remember what we did for the rest of the semester.

                  What are goldenrod eggs?

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: irishnyc

                    Aside from sewing a denim tote bag...I remember making tea sandwiches and pies (with some sort of instant pudding based filling). Nothing that's really been useful.
                    My mom still makes eggs goldenrod every year at Easter to use up the Easter eggs. I probably wouldn't be wild about it if I were eating it for the first time as an adult, but do love it for nostalgia. Once a year is enough. I've never actually cooked it, but basically you make a white sauce, then chop up cooked egg whites and mix that in. Pour over white toast. Grate the yolk on the top (looks like goldenrod). I think my mom learned to make it in home ec, but I've never heard of anyone else making it. Maybe it's regional?

                    1. re: irishnyc

                      Goldenrod eggs is essentially a rue into which chopped egg whites are incorporated. It is spread over other foods (vegetables, breads, etc.) the sprinkled with crumbled cooked egg yolk. It can be made to resemble a Bernaise with herbs and spices of your choice or combined with other ingredients (tuna, vegetables, etc.) to make a hearty sauce to pour over biscuits, toast, corn bread, etc.

                      1. re: todao

                        I wonder if it is a regional thing, too. My dad was born in DC, raised in MD, and his mother was a terrible cook ("brown it's cooking, black it's done"). Eggs goldenrod was one of the few recipes that he carried with him. We kids always loved it. His mother was Southern (a tobacco famer's daughter), but I'm not sure where she was from, exactly. I'll have to ask.

                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                          My mom learned the recipe in Iowa. I grew up in Maryland, but none of my friends ever heard of it. In fact, I never had heard of it outside my family, so it warms my heart to see it here.

                          1. re: ChristinaMason

                            I'm guessing your grandmother would have been from Charles or St Mary's county, which were the big Maryland tobacco growing areas (and possibly related to my St Mary's grandmother, based on the cooking skills--but then everyone there is related anyway).

                            I understand eggs goldenrod was a depression-era and possibly World War shortage-related recipe promoted by extension agents and, yes, home ec teachers. I remember hearing of it, but not eating it.

                      2. I don't remember anything from my home ec cooking class though I remember taking it. I do remember really botching a blouse in sewing class....

                        1. we also had to make the apron and matching hat!

                          we made cheese onion and potato pie, scones, rock cakes. I cannot remember what else we made but it was 40 years ago!!

                          1. I remember being the only one who actually liked to cook. I also remember looking at diagrams of what happened when you under or over mixed muffins. The cooking room was when the hated home-ec teachers had their lunch, and I remember my kitchen-mates (there were 4 or 5 kitchens set up in a large room) putting salt into the sugar bowl with great glee!

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: roxlet

                              Now that you say that, I do remember making muffins and having to count EXACTLY 16 strokes while mixing. I think we also made some kind of roll up biscuit thing that was supposed to be like a cinnamon roll, but not at all gooey or yummy. I was only in home ec during jr high...in high school it was optional.
                              I wonder if they are learning anything more useful in home ec now. Seems like a good place to learn more nutrition. Also, given that many kids are growing up in homes with no cooking, home ec probably would be more helpful now then it was back in the days when you might be learning more of this at home. I am astonished now at how many of our college age babysitters don't EVER cook. They eat out every meal, which seems expensive and not very healthy. They can handle heating a frozen pizza, but can't seem to cook a vegetable. I'll get off the soapbox...I am enjoying these jr high memories. Thanks for introducing the topic!

                              1. re: mountaincachers

                                Actually, now that you mention it, I think that my home-ec experience was Jr. HS too!

                                1. re: roxlet

                                  we had it in both, though in junior high we spent most of the time sewing, and we only prepared salad & uncooked items. i still have the apron i made, though the potholder and sweatpants disappeared long ago. HS was optional, and though i did take it, all i can remember aside from one batch of really bad muffins was a verrrry involved lesson about fire prevention, which included numerous "stop, drop & roll" drills and instructions about using flour to put out grease fires.

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    LOL! Drop and roll. You forgot cover! As if that was going to save you when they dropped the bomb. We also had sewing and I still have the pin cushion I made. I was obsessed with horses, and m y pincushion was a saddle that fit around the wrist with elastic. I still have it. I think it was actually a pretty nifty design.

                            2. Muffins, biscuits, Pineapple upside down cake. Wow. Haven't thought about Mrs Phillips for decades.

                              1. Made the apron, a skirt that I never wore, macaroni and cheese, English muffin pizzas, chocolate cake.
                                I was in Home Ec class when the news came that President Kennedy had been shot.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: bushwickgirl

                                  English muffin pizzas! i forgot about those, and remember thinking when we made them that it was a complete waste of time because i had done more complicated stuff in my EZ Bake oven when i was 7 or 8 years old ;)

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    Yep, me too, I was not impressed. I was 12 when we made those pizzas and I got an EZ Bake oven for Christmas when I was five. Some of my classmates, however, did not have that advantage...I've never had an English muffin pizza since, puleeze.
                                    Really, the thing I remember most from my 2 years of Home Ec was the Kennedy assassination. It's sad that the class wasn't more intensive and seemed to be dumbed-down, but I guess it was the thinking of that era.

                                2. Just snickerdoodles.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Becca Porter

                                    Rock cakes (lived up to the name)

                                    Blancmange

                                    Nut cutlets

                                    What were they thinking?

                                    1. re: Athena

                                      my rock cakes were also like rocks, my poor mum had to eat everything we brought home.

                                      1. re: Athena

                                        LOL!

                                    2. My mother actually ended up taking me out of home ec and putting me into drafting, it being the year after Title IX has passed, to achieve equality between boys and girls. I think my mother also was put off by the macaroni salad, since she was a marvelous cook and I was already a pretty good cook. Plus she never wore an apron (being a spotless person -- I've seen her cook an entire Chistmas dinner in a velvet blazer and both she and the kitchen were clean at the end!) and you would have had to kill me before you would find me in an apron when I was 14. So between all of those things, I did tranfer into drafting (called "mechanical drawing" at the time), and even though I was the only girl in that class, I had a good time.
                                      I have to add that since I am unable to be near any food without getting it all over me, I finally made myself an apron that covers all of me, including my back, and I wear it all the time.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                                        At the time that I took Home Ec, everyone (both boys and girls) were required to take it. We also had to take wood shop, where we made a variety of projects which were right on par with what we made in home ec (wooden key shaped key holders, a wooden cutout of the word "cook" that you were supposed to hang measuring spoons on and that sort of thing). In the long run, it would be more useful to have a "household repairs" type class.

                                        1. re: mountaincachers

                                          True! Or "how to plan and keep to a budget."

                                          1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                                            Well, that was supposed to be the idea - you can't have "home economics" without "economics." But as fewer and fewer people came to class with basic cooking skills, the curriculum had to change.

                                      2. Snickerdoodles & peanut butter cookies.
                                        Biscuits & muffins.
                                        A souflee-like omelet that was finished in the oven.
                                        Individual meat loaves made in muffin tins
                                        How to set a table.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: masha

                                          2 words - TUNA CASSEROLE

                                        2. A lot about setting a table and kitchen clean-up. I don't really remember ever cooking anything, but rather watching the teacher cook. I did make a few batches of muffins about that age, so that may have begun there. More memorable was the floral pillow with the ugly lace trim, which still holds a place of honor on my parent's rocker. A truly ugly, useless thing.

                                          I do remember establishing a reputation in my family during the home ec experience as being the child who thought cooking, cleaning and sewing were boring and ridiculous. In fact, at the age of 16, I got hired to be a cook at a summer camp, and my parents thought it was absolutely hilarious. My Dad and sister still laugh about it.

                                          1. In my parochial school there were no Home Ec classes so I took a course at a local college. No mac & cheese for us. Oh no. Cheese soufflé with a piece cut from an enormous wheel of English cheddar that was flown in specially for this class. I had never eaten cheese soufflé just my mother's concotion made with ricotta, eggs and parsley. The soufflé did rise properly, but somehow it just didn't taste like my mother's. LOL And, I was the one who put salt instead of sugar into the cake batter when we made a sponge cake. All the ingredients were in unmarked glass cannisters. I hated that class.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Gio

                                              I Remember making tapioca pudding which I thought was disgusting. We all got to bring some home but on the bus, I was showing someone how hard and gloppy mine was and turned it upside down for emphasis and it poured out all over the bus floor. We also made tuna delight which was tuna in a bechemel served in toast cups (cut the crusts off white bread, butter one side, press the buttered side into muffin tins and toast off in the oven,) remove, plate and fill with the tuna mixture. I actually liked that!

                                            2. The only lesson that stuck with me from Home Ec class (7th grade) was to clean my fingernails with a nailfile before cooking.

                                              1. Made my first snickerdoodle in Home Ec.
                                                Mac n cheese
                                                Hamburger casserole *really awful*
                                                but I clearly remember learning that you can whip warm wax to create a snow candle and thinking that it was a miracle of non food science :)

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                  Wow, that snow candle thing brought back a very dim memory! Can you tell us more?

                                                2. My only Home Ec experience was in 7th grade too (late 70s). For sewing, we did name pillows -- with individual letter-shaped pillows to spell our names. I know we cooked something, but all I really remember of the food section was the "trick" of using plain yogurt in place of sour cream for onion dip (yes -- made with dry onion soup). But one thing that was worth remembering is that 16 tablespoons equal a cup. I remember measuring out 16 Tb of water to test it -- I guess that lesson worked. I still remember that fact!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: eamcd

                                                    I would have certainly guessed that it would take many more than 16 tablespoons to fill a cup.

                                                  2. Great question! We made a sandwich (tuna? which I hated) with some kind of really boring white sauce. Something else too -- what? I'll remember eventually.

                                                    Another thing we had to do in home ec was select dinnerware and silverware and linens. And my taste actually hasn't changed that much since. Basic white plates to show off the food. Liked it then. Like it now.

                                                    1. when I looked at my old high school on Friends Reunited there is a forum for alumni and pretty much everyone talked about cookery classes. The funny thing was that the teacher who I had in 1969 was also the same teacher from the mid 1950s and it seems she was still teaching in the mid 1990s so she must have taught for about 40 years. And everyone discussed their cheese onion and potato pie.