Cooking Classes


Returning to Our (University) Roots

Leafing through the college brochure of 1970, our freshman year displays an array of pictures perfect in retrospective. Hair styles, clothing styles and classrooms take me back to a golden time in my life. Invitations to previous convocation celebrations draw a blank as to whether or not I actually attended the private parties. The cards and programs were worthy of keeping so I assume precious.

Potato gnocchi with mushroom sauce

Making gnocchi

What would four home economists celebrating a special birthday do for excitement? Take a cooking class, of course.

Last year Betty, Adele, Glenda and I planned to get together for our 60th birthdays. Circumstances beyond our control delayed this auspicious event until this weekend.

Thank you, Glenda, for taking the bull by the horns and getting us all together. We all graduated from the College of Home Economics in 1974 from the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. We were a tight knit college with only 48 graduands in the 63rd Annual Convocation on May 16 and 17, 1974. We had a close relationship with our professors and Dean Edith C. Simpson.

In her address to us, the class of 1974, our dear professor Emmie Oddie issued a challenge.  As I read her address my eyes tear up remembering those precious days. Almost from the first day our professors instilled in us the importance and responsibility to spread the word that home economics matters.

In Mrs. Oddie's own words, "When this door to professionalism is opened boldly and with courage, then will the professional dispel the image of Home Economist as arch enemy of the woman's movement, apparently guilty of constant reinforcement of cultural stereotypes, - will shatter the view that home economists represent the "Establishment".

Sometimes I feel I failed. I was not able to show that believing in family values and personal growth aligned with the women's movement. Back then it was a whole different show. When the pendulum swings too far one way, it responds by swinging too far the other way. I feel the focus has been too much on the pendulum than the issues.

Today when I hear a father worry about his daughter going off to university and not knowing  how to prepare a proper meal for herself, I wonder where we failed. It is not fair to put the blame entirely on us, the home economists. After all, I know how hard we worked to make changes. The rest lies with parents, health professionals and social institutions. A failure to fill the gap between needs and reality  is the fault of society in general.

1 comment:

  1. In high school kids thee days are given choices. My own daughter took Home Economics in her first years but cooking and sewing were two separate choices so she never learned to make bound button holes or a tailored jacket. She never took much of an interest in my sewing machine at home either and gravitated towards the kitchen. PS What fun to get together with the ladies.


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