Making Memories: Recipes, Cooking Lessons, and Stories from a Home Economics Teacher

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  1. What We Remember About Home Economics -- The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
  2. Despite A Revamped Focus On Real-Life Skills, 'Home Ec' Classes Fade Away | KCUR
  3. Tales of 7th Grade Home EC Class….
  4. more on this story
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What We Remember About Home Economics -- The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

While thinking of domestic labor as less important than professional careers — such as being a lawyer — is its own issue, there were real problems with midcentury home economics courses. There's the memory of girls being sent to learn about child care and cooking while boys took shop class — all in preparation to take on traditional gender roles in marriage.


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Sustainable eating has become another important part of many FCS classes, which might now include subjects such as community gardening, composting and even hydroponics. As Turgeson says, "Those are things you would have never seen in a s classroom. FCS classes also commonly address personal finance, healthy relationships, how to balance work and home responsibility, and child development.

Carol Werhan, an FCS educator and member of the board of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences , explains that cooking taught through FCS courses is more about having the confidence to experiment in the kitchen than becoming a trained chef. Overcooked meat can still be served. Sometimes the skills taught in FCS can be directly applied to a career, yet what the classes are really trying to do is create balance in students' lives.

Despite A Revamped Focus On Real-Life Skills, 'Home Ec' Classes Fade Away | KCUR

Some states, such as Indiana and Pennsylvania, require some coursework in FCS in middle or high school. But it's often offered as an elective. Vincent says of Montana's high schools offers some type of FCS class. While it's no longer the case that the vast majority of students in these classes are female, Vincent does share that every FCS teacher in the state is currently female — though one male teacher will be starting in the fall.

What memories you've conjured up!

Tales of 7th Grade Home EC Class….

Peggy Barrett said she still uses what she learned on a daily basis -- "mostly how to set the table correctly. She thanks Home Ec for teaching her how to take out seams and redo them when she doesn't follow those directions. But it was not universally loved. Louise Butler "can still remember the order of dishes in the cupboard we were required to memorize, and the correct order to wash dishes. But writes Mimi Broihier "I learned the fine exact skill of baking brownies.

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They wouldn't let me take shop in junior high in the early 70s. In high school, I wanted to take auto shop and my Dad wouldn't let me. The school would also not let me be on stage crew for plays.

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I couldn't understand it. Carole Nunes noted that when she was in school, "girls were Home Ec and guys were shop.

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I did learn to enjoy sewing though and sewed clothes for my daughters and myself. I guess I'm more domestic than I thought.

The school principal would not allow girls in shop. That was several moons ago. We made custards and aprons in Home Ec. Some school systems have managed to breathe new life into the course by divvying it up into more specialized classes—like courses that specifically address food preparation, which might be more attractive to prospective students in the age when Food Network-style programs inject fun and excitement into life in the kitchen.

Furthermore, over time the cutting-edge knowledge about nutrition and sanitation that was the impetus for home ec in the first place came to be viewed as common sense. But is common sense really all that common? It is important to dispel the myths—aggressively promoted by some in the food industry—that cooking takes too much time or skill and that nutritious food cannot also be delicious. Subscribe or Give a Gift. Humans Reached the Roof of the World 40, Years.

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