Saturday, December 3, 2011

Who Says You Can't Teach An Old Dog?

I don't know how I survived all these years without knowing some fundamental information about the art of being a hausfrau. Strangely, I have learned many household hints in recent years, since my retirement. When I was a teen, I didn't have the opportunity to study home economics in secondary school. In fact, before I began high school, my family moved from the city to the first suburb in Ontario. There, the much coveted free choice course option was "agriculture".

***Note to self - Write a blog about city kid deposited into high school agriculture class for four years.

After you've read this, some of you might say, "everyone knows those things". Don't judge me as inept. I was a career woman and busy mom. I dealt with household problems in other ways. Usually, my way was fast, ineffective, messy or costly. So now, sit back and learn...or just laugh at me for my lack of knowledge.

Visiting my relatives recently taught me two things. Firstly, I learned how to fold socks properly...yes, there is a correct way. Secondly, I finally discovered how to stir anything that might threaten to stick to the bottom of a pot. Allow me to share.

As I was attempting to cram twelve balls of socks into my suitcase, my cousin's wife said, "Let me show you a good way to fold socks. It will take less room." I believe I've seen her method someplace before, but since I'm spacially and geometrically challenged, I have never been able to figure it out.

Step One - Lay the two socks from a pair atop one another. This assumes that you've found a matched set after doing the laundry. Fold the toes of the socks up once past the heel, toward the top, but not the whole way.


As you can see, this method can be used with any colour of socks. Thickness does not make that much difference either. Just remember, unlike the gray pair above, both socks must have heels and tops directly matching. Once you have accomplished this challenging task, move on.

Step Two - Take the rim of the outer sock and fold it down until you get past the toes. It should look like this, perfectly flat and take up hardly any space when you are done. Simple. This allows the socks to be placed in neat, colour coded piles in drawers and luggage.


I can't believe that all these years, I've folded the tops all the way over to the end and created huge space wasting sock balls. On the other hand, my method is fast and works wonderfully well when you need weapons for impending sock fights.

The other thing I learned is actually quite simple. As my tante was stirring wine sauce which was heating on the stove, she said "Do you know about using metal spoons?" The puzzled look on my face must have given away my lack of culinary expertise and utensil knowledge because she immediately elaborated.

"If you use a metal spoon instead of a wooden or other type when stirring things like puddings, you are better able to feel the bottom of the pot so that you can tell when it's thickening or starting to stick." Brilliant. And here I've been burning white sauces among other things for forty years. I guess it helps too if you keep stirring and don't wander off someplace, forgetting that you have something sensitive on the stove.

As an extra tip, I have included this youtube video of a method for folding sheets. It is very useful and clever. No more lumps and bumps? No more tossing a wad of sheets into the closet? No more giant mounds of fabric? Has anyone besides this person been able to master the technique? I haven't. Oh wait. Perhaps that's just because it's not a "woman's job".

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