When I told people I was writing a book about home economics, this is what happens:

  1. They exclaim in excitement mixed with some confusion (and that’s before I tell them about the field’s feminist, scientist founders).

  2. Depending on their age, they either tell me about the hideous project they screwed up or they say, in a tone of regret, “I never took home ec. My school didn’t have it.”

  3. They say, “We should bring that back.”

As everyone in the field will tell you, home ec in fact never went away. And it has an amazing, 180-year history. I put as many of those stories as I can into my book, which came out in May and which you can order now. But along the way (and since!) I’ve had plenty of clippings and snippets and footnotes and reporting finds to share (just ask all my friends).

And yes, there will be the occasional recipe. Evelyn Birkby told me to do that, and who am I to argue with a hundred-year-old journalist who stayed in the field for six decades?

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Reports from the field, fascinating footnotes and other updates from my book The Secret History of Home Economics.


Writer, author, journalist.