“Feeding for Profit. ” How One Woman Found Her "Way Out"
“Feeding for Profit. ” How One Woman Found Her "Way Out"
Women and their Work
A PERSON once said, “Life is but a series of adjustments.” I have proved that this is true. At present I feel that I have been adjusted all I want to be for a while. Do you remember the darkie, who, when told by his master to eliminate the eggs on his order replied, “I can’t, boss. De elim’nator, he done busted.” I’m so satisfied at present, that, should Fate come along suggesting any more adjustments, I would like to be able to say, “The adjuster’s done busted.”
Sometimes life appears to be a broad straight road down which one can see to the horizon. But the road is really full of turns, and fate is apt to whisk one around a corner at any minute.
All the days seemed much alike to me when I lived with Uncle Charlie.
Fairly pleasant jogging days they were. Both my parents died of “flu” when I was twelve years of age and Uncle Charlie took me to his little farm to “raise.” He was a dear and certainly did as much for me as he could, even sending me to the nearby town to High School. But I felt that when I finished High School that would be the end of schooling for me.
Even if Uncle Charlie could afford to send me to University, it would be poor pay for all his goodness during the past five years to leave him alone when he had come to depend on me.
Then fate whisked me around a corner. Uncle Charlie died quite suddenly leaving his little farm to me. After I got over the shock I had to plan what to do. Of course I had much advice given to me by kindly neighbors, but I took my problem to a lawyer in the nearby town. We decided that I would sell the farm, clear up the mortgage and any indebtedness, and with what money remained invest in further education of myself instead of in a few stocks or bonds.
When everything was settled there wasn’t such a great deal left; just enough to give me a two year course in Household Science. And after that, well, my hair wasn’t red and my name _ not Molly Newsome, if I couldn’t find a job and hold it. -
I had some misgivings the first few lonely days in the big city, but I did not want any one to know that it was the very first time that I had been there. I can smile now at my attempts to appear sophisticated, but then it was a serious business. However it did not take me long to swing into the life of the university. It was the second day of lectures that I met Hilda Howard. We
liked each other immediately and a month or so later decided to live together. She came from a large family and found boarding a lonesome business and I was very lonely at times. So I welcomed the idea of a home, no matter how tiny, and we took a suite of rooms on the top floor of an apartment house given over entirely to business women.
A graduate dietitian finds herself apparently face to face with an insurmountable wall, but courageously solves her problem, and makes an interesting living and a snug profit.
Our apartment was just a large living room, with an alcove which contained a davenport bed, a kitchen which contained a gas-stove, an automatic refrigerator, and a kitchen cabinet. Then there was a small bathroom adjoining the living room.
Hilda says it was all a dark plot of mine to get the use of a kitchen so that I might experiment on her. She tells every one that my high exam, marks were due to her good digestion and lasting qualities. I admit that we ate biscuits every day for a week until I got them just to my liking.
We felt that we had come to another turn in the road when we both secured positions after graduation. Her appointment was to be that of dietitian in Belleville, New York. Mine was that of teacher of Domestic Science in a little college in our own Canadian West. She left for her position after a month spent in her own home. I was not to go West until the Fall term, so I decided to keep our apartment in the interval.
By that time my funds were getting rather low but I was not worrying, for there was my position all ready for me. I put in another bank the money that was to take me West and on what I had left I lived very carefully for the next three months. Then around another corner I went and it looked as though I faced a blank wall.
A Ray of Light
TWO weeks before I was to leave for my position I received a telegram. “College completely destroyed by fire. Letter follows.” The letter deeply regretted everything, including the fact that they would have to cancel my engagement for, although they were continuing the
college lectures in temporary quarters,, there was no room or equipment for a Domestic Science Department.
Of course I lost no time in putting in my application wherever possible for another position. All the teaching ones were filled by that time and nothing at once seemed available. I felt sure that I would track some job to its lair sooner or later. But it was the sooner, the right now bread and butter, that was worrying me. I shall never forget that rainy night when I sat alone in my little apartment. My spirits were pretty well dampened, for I could see no way out.
Isn’t it queer how opportunity can lie right under your nose and you do not see it until necessity opens your eyes ? I think it was Hazel Dyer walking past my room with her arms full of parcels from a delicatessen store that gave me my idea and I got so excited about it, and so interested in working out the details in my mind, that I forgot to go to bed until two in the morning. As a result of that idea two mornings later each person in the apartment found in her letter-box a little folder made of tan Bristol board and printed in brown ink with a tiny sepia drawing in the corner. The folder contained the following information:
Why go to a delicatessen store? There is one right here at your very own door.
Miss Molly Newsome,
Graduate Domestic Science,
Room 304, The Gables, will supply the occupants of these apartments with the following dishes: Monday—Hot Chicken Biscuits, 2 for 15 cts.; Hot Scotch Scones, 5 cts. each.
Wednesday—Hot Pork and Beans Individual Pots, 10 cts.; Steamed Brown Bread, Small Loaf, 10 cts. Thursday—Pressed Veal: One Slice,
10 cts.; Hot Baked Apples, 5 cts.; Gingerbread, One Square, 5 cts. Friday—Cod Fish Cakes, 10 cts.;
Orange Fritters, 3 for 10 cts.
Saturday—Sausage Rolls, 10 cts.;
Rich Apple Sauce, 10 cts.
She will also have each day fresh bran muffins and salad dressing.
It was with a rapidly beating heart that on Tuesday evening I opened my door, leading to the hall, across which I placed a small table covered with my best lunchcloth and proudly displayed my wares.
Some of the women in the house whom I knew came, complimented me, and bought, but—I ate macaroni, cheese and tomatoes, and scones, until I loathed the sight of them. However. I was not to suffer in a good cause for very long.
By the time a
week had passed the girls on the third floor were coming regularly and I was making enough to keep my head above water. But the people in the rest of the house seemed unaware of my existence. I tried to figure out why and came to the conclusion that I was not in a strategic position. I had faith in my plan but it took a heap of nerve to apply for an apartment on the first floor at twice the rent that I was paying. There were two vacant suites, just inside the front door at five dollars per month more than the one, beyond the elevator. I took the front one as every person entering the building had to pass it, so I felt that it was the logical position for such a scheme as mine.
AFTER I was all settled I sent a - carefully worded note to the landlord and his wife asking them to tea with me in my apartment. I set the day that on one which I knew he visited the building. I believe they came out of sheer curiosity. I did not relieve that curiosity until they were being melted into a responsive mood by some excellent tea and carefully prepared lunch. Then I told them of my scheme, how it was working and what I hoped to do. The lady caught my enthusiasm right away and was most kind. Her husband preferred to go into details, but, finally, wished me luck. It was he who advised me to obtain from the proper authorities a license for my business, and a few weeks later, when I proved that I had such a thing, I followed his advice.
Again I sent out my little folders, changing the number of my room' and also, on the outside of my door, appeared a placard with, for instance:
“This is chicken biscuit day. Place your orders this morning that you may be sure of yours to-night.”
Between eight and nine each morning I was busy at telephone and door, taking orders, and then had the rest of the day free to fill them. It wasn’t hard work, as I had only the two things to prepare beside my bran muffins and salad dressing. I kept three kinds of the latter, a mayonnaise, an oil-dressing and a special kind for fruit salad. I soon had to add to my equipment a three-hole fireless cooker which has proved invaluable in preparing beans, for baking, and other things that require long cooking.
Then I began to receive requests for special dishes; in fact, my birthday cakes were very popular. One day I was asked to make a cake for one of my customer’s chums. It was her birthday and she was entertaining. I made the cake and when I was icing it I thought of my pipingtools. It was a cherry cake and I iced it in white. With a cherry-red piping I traced the girl’s initials. Maraschino cherries around the edge made it quite festive. These decorated cakes are quite a speccialty of mine, especially so for Valentine and St. Patrick’s Day.
I have been traveling along in this way for about a year now and I have my work down to a fine system. People often ask me why I do not rent a store and branch out in a bigger way, but I believe that I am better off as I am. I have small overhead. Me home is my workshop. I do not have to be worried with that uncertain quantity hired help.
Three times during the last year fate has tried her old trick of adjustment by offering me positions, but I have refused them all. (Little did I think a year ago that I would actually refuse a position.)
I prefer the independence of my present way of living. I like the city and the friends I have made. In fact I like the perspective of the road down which I am looking and along which very pleasant road I have so far made my way out.
In case any girl would like to try my scheme, I give her my recipes.
CHICKEN BISCUITS: Make a light.
biscuit dough. Cut in rounds about one half thickness of ordinary biscuit. Place in centre a large tablespoonful of creamed chicken. Place another round of dough on top and bake.
Hot Scotch Scone: Three cups pastry flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 cup butter, 1 cup light yellow sugar, 1 cup sweet milk, 1 egg white, 1 cup chopped raisins. Mix, add raisins and well beaten white of egg last. Roll about half inch thick. Spread with yolk of egg well-
beaten. Cut into triangles or squares. Bake until brown.
Macaroni, Cheese and Tomatoes: (I buy that rich macaroni made with egg. The only place I can get it is at an Italian grocery. Other macaroni can be used.) Two cups of boiled macaroni, two cups canned tomatoes and juice, one and a half cups grated cheese, half teaspoon of salt. Shake of black pepper. Arrange in layers in casserole dish with bits of butter and seasoning between each layer. Let grated cheese be on top. Hake until brown.
Lemon Pies: Line largest sized, muffin tins with light pastry. Fill with the followin g mixture: Half cup water, one tablespoon of butter, three-fourths cup white sugar, one eighth teaspoon salt, one tablespoon grated lemon rind, one tablespoon corn starch, two egg yolks, three tablespoons lemon juice, meringue, two egg whites, four tablespoons powdered sugar, three tablespoons minced candied fruit.'
Baked Beans: One pound small white beans. Soak them over night. Boil with one half pound, fat salt pork. When beans are tender cut meat into small pieces. Mix beans with one tablespoon brown sugar and. one-half teaspoon black pepper. There should be enough salt in the meat to flavor. See that meat is well mixed with beans. Place in brown covered beanpot and bake very slowly for om half day. Remove cover for about one hour to brown top. (Note: I start mine in a large pot and then divide into individual pots to finish cooking.)
Steamed Brown Bre^d: One egg, one half cup flour with one half teaspoon baking powder and one teaspoon baking soda and one half teaspoon of salt sifted in and one and one half cups of buttermilk, three tablespoons each of shortening, molasses and brown sugar. Mix to a stiff batter with graham flour. Steam three hours. (Note: For mine I use the one pound empty coffee tins and the half pound baking powder tins, filling them about three quarters full.)
Pressed Veal: One small knuckle of veal. Boil until meat drops from bone. Remove meat from juice and. cut into very fine pieces. Season juice very _ highly, salt, pepper and savory. Strain juice over meat. Let come to a boil, then place in mould to chill. This can then be sliced.
Gingerbread: One half cup brown sugar, one tablespoon butter, two eggs well beaten, one quarter cup molasses, one teaspoon cinnamon, one tablespoon ginger, one half teaspoon soda in one half cup sour milk, one heaping cup flour. Bake slowly for forty minutes.
Cod Fish Cakes: One cup salt fish freshened and stripped, two cups potatoes cut in cubes, one tablespoon butter, pepper, one egg well beaten. Boil fish and potato together about fifteen minutes or until potato is done. Drain off water. Mash together fish and potato together until perfectly blended. Add butter and pepper and beat with fork until light.
1 Let cool and add the egg. Shape lightly j in a spoon. Slip into a frying basket and i fry one minute in smoking hot lard. Do not fry more than.five at a time, as more Í cools the fat. Drain on paper and serve with parsley garnish.
Orange Fritters: Separate a very ripe orange into sections. Make a very light ! batter. Dip sections into batter and then into smoking hot lard and fry as directed for fish cakes.
Sausage Rolls: Make the lightest
biscuit dough. Cut in large rounds. Lay the best grade of pork sausage on each round and fold over. Bake until brown in very hot oven.
Quantities in these recipes can be doubled or quadrupled as occasion requires.
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