Women and their Work

Schools for the Home-Maker

Macdonald Institute is designed to suit the needs of the girl from the farm home

Women and their Work

Schools for the Home-Maker

Macdonald Institute is designed to suit the needs of the girl from the farm home


MY SECOND excursion into the Canadian field of Home Economics, led me to Guelph, where Macdonald Institute, in connection with the Ontario Agricultural College, has carried on its work of scientific training for women since 1904.

Macdonald Institute is one of the two monuments to his interest in the subject of woman’s progress in her own sphere, left by the late Sir William C. Macdonald of Montreal. Inspired by Mrs. Adelaide Hoodless, Wentworth, Ontario, that indefatigable champion of the farm woman and founder of the Women’s Institutes of Ontario, he endowed for the teaching of household and allied science, Macdonald College at Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec, and erected the buildings of Macdonald Hall, the residence, and the Institute at Guelph.

Owing to its connection with an agricultural foundation, Macdonald Institute gives preference in all cases to the farmer’s daughter, provided she has proper qualifications. An applicant is asked to give a record of all academic and professional training from public school to college or special studies, and in addition must give information as to whether she has over studied chemistry and to what extent; whether she is accustomed to all forms of housework; whether she has ever prepared alone and served the meals for a family for more than a week or so at a time; whether she can cut out and make undergarments, shirtwaists, ordinary dresses; or whether she has had teaching experience. With teaching experience she is eligible for what is known as the Normal Course. A doctor’s certificate as to the applicant’s state of health and probable future condition also is required.

Macdonald Institute offers more than the Central Technical School in the way of actual supervision of students. It has, which, of course, the ordinary high such as the Technical can never offer, a residence. Scholastically, it has broader and more varied courses in applied subjects. It offers, for example, three two-year courses in applied subjects. The first or Normal Course, is for graduates of the normal school or those who may already have had teaching experience. Candidates must present Ontario first or second class Public School Teachers’ certificates, or if outside Ontario, their equivalent approved by the Ontario Minister of Education. This makes graduates eligible for teaching Home Economics in public, separate, high or continuation schools.Though dietetics is an important feature throughout the two years’ course, it is interspersed with such allied subjects as textiles, bacteriology, chemistry, sewing, home-nursing, laundry, household management, demonstrations and home economics education. These, in addition to English, history of education, psychology, physiology and physical education, make a very rounded course.

Institutional Management Course

ANOTHER two-year course, that in Institutional Management, aims to prepare students who have health and ability to manage institutions. Candidates must be twenty-four years of age, and have at least two years successful high school training or its equivalent. The first year is applied to regular Home Economics subjects—the second to their application in institutional management as actually carried on at O.A.C. A student receiving her certificate from this course at Macdonald Institute, must spend six months as a pupil dietitian in some institution before receiving her professional certificate. Hospital standards are becoming more and more exacting of late. Hospitals which formerly accepted students with one year’s training as dietitians, now demand two; those who formerly accepted two, now demand the four years’ college course.

Graduates of the third two years’ course receive the Macdonald Institute Associate Diploma, and they are eligible for pupil dietitians’ work in hospitals where the standard does not require the four years’ college course; for tea-room, hotel or commercial work, such as demonstration or industrial dietetics in connection with food products. It is a very full course in Home Economics, but pupils considering professional work are advised to take post graduate work. As a preparation for this, it is recommended that applicants should present honor matriculation certificates in all major subjects. Candidates for this course must be at least seventeen years of age.

A one-year Home-maker Course, is given those who have but a year to take up such subjects as will enable them to meet, intelligently, the problems of everyday life and household administration.

A three-months’ short course in household subjects is a very intensive one for those who can spend only one term. It includes the study of cookery, food and diet, home-nursing, household sewing, laundry, physical education and a choice of millinery, dairy or horticulture as an elective. This short course, however, may only be taken at the beginning of the fall term. Candidates must be at least seventeen years of age and have a good elementary education.

Optional courses are offered to a limited number of students who wish to take subjects fitting their special needs, but these are offered only when there are vacancies in the classes and candidates will be accepted for only one term at a time.

Fees for pupils from all Ontario farm and village homes are $15.00 per term—three terms in the year; for other Ontario students, $25.00; students outside of Ontario, $30.00. Board and lodging at the residence amounts to $5.50 or $6.00 a week according to whether or not the student has a double or private room. A limited number of students may defray the costs at Macdonald Institute by agreeing to give three months’ service. In return for this service, the candidate will receive one term’s tuition at the Institute with board and lodging, including all student privileges.

Work at the Institute

DURING the afternoon of my visit, I came to the laboratory where Miss Jean C. Bradley, Instructor in Foods and Nutrition, was preparing for an afternoon lesson in preserving and extraction of fruit juices. Marmalade and grape juice were being made that day and delicious vapors arose from the pot where fruits and rinds already were simmering, ascending to the blackboard where they seemed to take concrete form in Miss Bradley’s own written instructions for procedure in their making. Preserving methods nowadays lay great stress on selection of fruit for its ‘pectin' content, this being the jelly-making principle. Fruit has its highest pectin potentiality when just ripe or slightly under-ripe, and is in the best state for jelly-making or preserving at that time.

Pectin is present to the greatest degree in currants, grapes, lemons, sour and bitter oranges, crabapples, tart apples and cranberries with their skins. Because of their high pectin content, apples are frequently included in recipes for making other preserves.

Testing preserves for pectin may be done after the strained fruit juice has boiled from ten to twenty minutes— grape and currant juices require less boiling than larger fruits. Add one teaspoonful of alcohol to one teaspoonful of juice. If a mass is formed which may be gathered out of this mixture, the juice contains sufficient pectin to form a jelly. If not, more boiling is required to extract it, when the juice should be tested again.

Commercial pectin is the same principle which may be extracted by proper selection, preparation and boiling of the fruit to be preserved. It requires far more sugar than the natural pectin recipes.

The usual proportion of sugar to juice is three-quarters of a cup to one cup of juice. When the juice is very acid as from tart or unripe grapes or bitter oranges, one cup to one cup is recommended. It is only after the juice has been found to contain sufficient pectin by test, that the sugar may be added. It is then stirred until dissolved and heated to boiling. The best time limits for boiling have been found to be eight to ten minutes for acid fruit with high pectin content, and about fifteen to twenty minutes for less acid fruits, as apples. Too long cooking makes jelly strong and tough. Syrup may be tested as to its readiness for bottling, by placing a drop on a cold plate. If it holds its shape, it is ready for bottling.

The explanation of the addition of lemon to so many preserves, is not only that it adds piquancy to the flavor, but when introduced into the juice just before removing from the fire, it acts as a clarifying agent.

In the preparation of marmalade, the seeds of the citrous fruits sometimes are used. They are separated from the rinds and juice and allowed to soak in a cup of water over night. In the morning their water is added to the rind and juice, and they are tied in a bag and allowed to boil in the marmalade mixture for the first hour. They add the subtle and delicious bitter flavor so often preferred.

Plain grape juice is made in the same manner as jelly, save that the proportion of sugar is much less—as ten pounds of grapes to three of sugar, or in quantitative measure, three and one-third of grapes to one of sugar.

Sanitation and Drainage

IN a school which is designed primarily to serve girls from the farm, matters of sanitation and drainage, naturally, are given an important place in the curriculum. At Guelph, the course in sanitation includes a thorough study of modern methods of drainage and filtration. The lectures are given in the Physics Building of the Institute.

Professor R. R. Graham, associate in physics, declares that a complete system of plumbing costs about $275.00 when good quality fixtures are used and a trained mechanic installs it. If cheaper material be used and home labor be engaged, the cost could be considerably lowered. But there are many improvements which safeguard health, which it is possible for thousands to install. With a practical working knowledge of the principles of farm water supply, water systems, equipment and sewage disposal, few indeed but can make improvements of a most beneficial nature. It is as important that the women of the modern farm should know these as the man.

An Easily Made Filter

ONE most useful and easily constructed filter for the catching of rain water, has been worked out. Upon any sort of raised wooden base is set a barrel. At the bottom is laid a six-inch layer of coarse gravel. Into this is thrust a spigot, screened from the gravel on the inside. Over it is laid a perforated board. From this point lip, each separated by perforated boards, are laid layers of three inches of pea-size charcoal; six inches of fine sharp sand; three inches of charcoal, pea size; nine inches of fine sharp sand, and perforated wood cover. This barrel, or two of them, may be located anywhere that is convenient for pouring water through or catching for filtration, in the kitchen, basement, or merely below the rain spout.

A complete brochure on ‘The Farm Water Supply and Sewage Disposal’ prepared by Professor Graham may be obtained by writing to the Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph.