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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 10 (January 1, 1937)

Our Women Section — Timely Notes and Useful Hints

page 58

Our Women Section
Timely Notes and Useful Hints.

The Problems Of Katrine.

“Tatrine worries me,” said her mother. “She's a dear girl, but she's going through a difficult stage—the latest trouble is clothes.”

I knew Katrine. Earlier, about eight or so, she won my interest—a little, compact thing, well-built, but with an elfin aspect due to the pointed chin and mischievous eyes twinkling below a dark fringe of hair. For years, while her father was working in another town, I had not seen Katrine; but now they were back again, and her mother and I had resumed the old friendship. At first glance I hardly knew Katrine, a leggy young lady in her second year at high school. But though the fringe was gone and her hair brushed away from a middle parting, the eyes at times showed the old glint—only at times though. One had to watch and wait for it. The chin, delightfully recognizable, showed a firmness one had not noted at eight-to-nine.

“I'm not really worrying about her,” said her mother, “but I should really like to settle one part of the problem, that of clothes. During the winter she seemed quite happy in her school clothes, but now summer is here she has been worrying me at week-ends. She doesn't like the little summer frocks I make for her, and hates the idea of a plain panama hat for best. Now I always think a girl at the growing stage looks best in plain things. And shoes! I took her to buy some white shoes. We bought a very nice pair, low-heeled and round toed, with an ankle strap. But the grizzles when we got home. Of course, I'd switched her away from the high heels she coveted and she resented it. And about her frocks, too. You know I have always made the children's clothes. Well, she has decided she doesn't like the dresses I make for her. I can hardly make her stand still for a fitting.”

Poor Katrine! Poor Mother! Of course, the influence of older sister, now in an office job, was partly to blame. Katrine, now conscious of appearances, admired and wished to copy her sister's grown-up wardrobe.

I did what I could. I suggested that it was a matter for compromise. As regards frocks, knowing that Katrine was taking a dressmaking course at school, I advised co-operation. Between us, the mother and I concocted a plan, and this is how it worked out.

In a talk that seemed to happen in quite a casual way, the mother suggested that Katrine was quite old enough to plan her own wardrobe, and that it would be an excellent idea if she helped with the sewing as well as the planning. Katrine seemed not too enthusiastic at first, but when it came to a shopping expedition she perked up and approached the pattern counter with confidence. The array of styles rather bewildered her, but Mother stood by offering no comments. Katrine turned pages and made one or two remarks about the pictured styles. Mother was non-committal. Katrine puzzled some more, and seemed to waver between three frocks. Still Mother did not offer an opinion. It was only when Katrine asked for advice that Mother said which style appealed to her and gave reasons. Katrine was grateful for the helpful remarks and chose the style indicated.

Having bought a pattern, Katrine wondered what material she would choose. Mother pointed out that suggestions were given on the pattern envelope. Katrine read them—silk crepe, taffeta, shantung, novelty cottons, light-weight wools.

“They seem so different,” said Katrine.

“Yes,” said her Mother. “They are—on purpose. The style you chose is suitable for an afternoon frock for either summer or winter, for sports or for beach wear with short sleeves. You decide what you need the frock for and choose the material to suit.”

“Oh, I see,” said Katrine in a relieved tone, and proceeded to the cottons department to choose a print that was just right for beach picnics. Mother was so pleased with the suitability and economy of her choice that she thereupon offered her another dress-length.

In the making, of course, Mother did most of the work, but Katrine was eagerly helpful. The finished frock was a success, and the two embarked on the second dress-length—a pretty silk crepe for “best.”

Somehow the hat problem melted away. In studying styles and materials Katrine had recognised the value of simplicity, and when it came to buying a hat she chose a wide-brimmed straw with a plain ribbon trimming.

A family discussion (engineered by me one night when I was there to tea) on feet, high heels, pointed toes and the resultant corns and bunions, influenced Katrine's footwear ideas in the right direction.

Now Katrine's mother says that the complete solving of one problem has somehow helped with the other problems resultant to the process of “growing-up.”

page 59

Cooking Vegetables.

Many a housewife when straining vegetables wonders whether, with the water, she is discarding some of the most valuable constituents. According to experiments recently carried out in the kitchen of King's College Hospital, London, even the most careful cooking, using very little water and a trace of fat, would increase the calcium, phosphorus and iron in a mixed diet by only 3 per cent. The addition of three-hundredths to the amount of mineral salts consumed seems not worth worrying about. As the report of the experiments is published by the Medical Research Council, we may rely on the statements made.

* * *

An interesting observation was that, though the addition of bicarbonate of soda to green vegetables increased the rate of cooking, it made little difference to the losses.

If the housewife is eagerly endeavouring to retain that 3 per cent, of mineral salts, she will be pleased to know that the skins of potatoes almost completely prevent the outward diffusion of salts. She will thus content herself with scrubbing potatoes before cooking, and will congratulate herself that her family really prefers potatoes baked in their jackets to those roasted in the meat dish. But wait! The Doctor and his assistants found that the friendly potato loses nothing but water when cooked in air or fried in fat. So, as far as salts are concerned, chips and roast potatoes may still figure on the menu.

* * *

Still trying to conserve the 3 per cent., the housewife notes that when such vegetables as carrots, swedes, mushrooms and spinach are cooked in steam, they lose water, salts and other soluble materials. The rate and extent of this loss increases as the temperature is raised.

Another interesting point is that a large piece of vegetable loses less in proportion than a small piece. There-fore the housewife who cooks her cauliflower whole retains an infinitesimal amount of salts more than the careful cauliflower-cleaner who cuts her vegetable into small and easily inspected pieces—or perhaps cauliflower, owing to its branching nature, is not a good example of cooking in bulk.

* * *

The salt-chaser will be very careful to remove her vegetables from further loss in water as soon as they are cooked.

She will be glad to know that fresh vegetables, when soaked in cold water, lose only negligible amounts of salts, but she will be horrified at the thought that dried legumes (peas and haricot beans) lose from 5 to 50 per cent, of their more soluble contents in eight hours. She will make a vow never to soak her peas for eight hours, and will gloat over the percentages of salts she has saved for her family in the past by always using the water.

* * *

According to these experiments, then, the housewife need not worry over her method of cooking vegetables.

An interesting point in the report regarding green vegetables, is that the outer leaves, usually discarded, contain more salts than the inner leaves. So now you know the reason why white butterfly caterpillars, slugs and snails eat the outer leaves first.

* * *

Flowers For Decorating.

The warmth, of summer days affects cut flowers. They wilt, they droop, and the housewife finds herself raiding the garden afresh every day or so. She may even decide to have no page 60
(Rly. Publicity photo.) A pipe organ brought to New Zealand in 1828—one of the many rare exhibits in the Alexander Museum, Wanganui.

(Rly. Publicity photo.)
A pipe organ brought to New Zealand in 1828—one of the many rare exhibits in the Alexander Museum, Wanganui.

flowers about until the hot days are over. Her rooms will cry out for the delicate coolness of flowers. A knowledge of the correct treatment for cut flowers will enable her to satisfy herself and her home.

When cutting dahlia blooms, the garden should be raided in the early morning and a good length of stem secured. Dip the stalks in boiling water for several minutes. Other flowers which benefit from having stalks dipped in boiling water are asters, roses, sunflowers and poppies (all varieties).

A useful treatment for such flowers as chrysanthemums, perennial phlox, celosia and salvia, is to recut the stems under water. Foliage of all kinds may also be treated in this way. The foliage should then be left lying in water for a short time before arranging.

Shrubs should have the stems bruised before arranging.

* * *

Sending Flowers by Post.

Sweet peas require special care. Cut them when the dew is off them and allow them to stand in water in a dark room for several hours. Wrap small bunches in thin wax tissue paper, and pack closely, but not too tightly in a strong cardboard or light wooden box.

For all flowers, boxes should be shallow, holding only two layers of flowers. The flowers, not full-blown, should be gathered early and stood in water for four hours. The “packing” in the box should consist of wax tissue paper, and not of cotton wool which takes moisture from the flowers. See that the flowers are packed firmly, as too much shaking in transit will ruin them.

* * *

Health Hints For The Hair.

Never irritate the skin and set up inflammation which harms the hair.

Move the scalp, not the fingers.

Wash the hair in soft water.

Massage tonic lotion into the hair daily.

Use a little shampoo, lather well and rinse well.

* * *

Raisin Biscuits.

1 cup raisins, chopped, 6ozs. butter, 2 cups flour, ½ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking power, little milk.

Cream butter and sugar. Add milk, then other ingredients. Roll fairly thin. (No. 5, about quarter hour).

These biscuits require to be buttered.

* * *

Reda Biscuits.

8 ozs. butter, 4 ozs. sugar, 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 egg, pinch salt.

Cream butter and sugar, add egg, then flour and powder, and roll out as for shortbread. Cut into rounds and cook until light brown.

Fasten two together with jam and ice top. Decorate with chopped nuts.

* * *


3 eggs, 3 tablespoons flour, 1 teacup milk.

Beat whites and yolks separately. Make batter with yolks, flour and milk. Stand for an hour or two. Fold in stiffly beaten whites just before using the mixture.

* * *

Mock Cream.

½ cup milk, 1 dessertspoon cornflour. Cook and then cool. Then add quarter cup sugar and 1 oz. butter beaten to a cream. Whip until mixture is beautifully light. Flavour to taste.