Need help with your curtain corners? Take a look and let's get started ...
Ask Happy Homemaker!
Let me know if you want help cleaning house today. Do you have supplies or should I pick up anything before I get coffee and doughnuts?
Can I fix dinner for you and your family afterward? I'll do everything, including clean-up ...
I really will, but do you think anyone ever takes me up on my offer?
Dear Happy Homemaker,
I prepare economical though really quite lovely meals for my family on a daily basis. Of course I do. It's my job.
My great grandmother never allowed her daughters in the kitchen, so Great Aunt Pearl used to say. Something about food being too hard to come by just to be burnt up by bumbling, foolish daughters (there were four). Truth or not, Aunt Pearl is dead, so I'm hard pressed to confirm the tale.
My question is about training both my son and daughter to cook. Sure, food is very expensive today, and I no more want it wasted than Great Grandma Katarina did. But I really need a break in the kitchen. Besides, isn't it good for today's children to understand how to run the house?
Yes, children should be trained in all aspects of household management! A friend raised her boys and girls from early age to do everything. The daughters learned to run the lawn mower and the sons the washer and vacuum cleaner. And, naturellement, vice versa.
Get your little ones to help out in the home with simple chores:
Setting the table, folding clothes, dusting and polishing the furniture,
washing dishes, salad prep, tidying their rooms (a given), alphabetizing
the family library, detailing the family wagon, and the list goes on ...
Then, increase their responsibilities in La Cucina. Careful supervision is important. When dicing carrots, we don't wish precious little digits to be part of the menu. A hasty foray into chefdom without all one's parts would surely be counterproductive, don't you agree? Teach the proper and safe use of the kitchen range. Start your offspring off with making coffee, boiling eggs, preparing toast and churning dairy-fresh butter. Have them serve you and their daddy breakfast in bed. You will be rewarded with your just deserts (not "desserts" - that's on the dinner menu) and your children will learn the value of competence and servitude to those stronger than they.
Let me know when you're ready for the next step. We'll do lunch.
Hope this helps!
Dear and Gentle Readers,
Truly, we are living in difficult economic times. Many folk from our international audience inquire how they might stretch the food dollar, peso, deutsche mark, piaster, rupee, balboa, franc, sol, taka, rand, cordoba....
You may substitute what you must, according to what is available in your locale, on your mesa, in your Andes, on your plain, upon your plateau, in your junk ...
CHICKEN BONE POTAGE
Three largish handfuls of chicken bones
(or bones of yak, turtledove, dodo,
goat, kiwi, eel, etc.)
Multiple cloves of garlic
Broken, discards of dry lasagna
Garden herbes, or select verbiage
from your dictionary
Water (boil to purify if you inhabit
that part of the world where
Boil bones (of whatever) till gristle (cartilaginous,
tendinous, fibrous matter) falls off.
Discard bones (or freeze for a truly economical
future meal). Retain the C/T/F matter. Set aside.
Boil up the broth and add lasagna pieces. Cook till
al dente. Do not remove from broth.
Add all vegetables to piping hot broth that has been
removed from camp fire or range or whatever cooking
method is popular in your little corner of the globe.
Allow veggies to soften up a bit, if it pleases you. Garnish potage with a dollop of sour cream, or yougurt, or goat cheese, or bread crumbs (aka poor man's grated parmesan cheese), etc.
Dear and Gentle Readers:
I am quaffing my third bowl of potage as I write (multitasking at its most adroit); it is superb! I failed to add to the list of ingredients grated carrot, olive oil, tomato paste (optional), salt and pepper to taste. Gee, It's all new now! If you have some dried out scraps of French bread on hand, it soaks up the broth right nicely.
Some call this Garbage Soup but I call it MAGNIFIQUE!
Here we go again - don't forget to add the "meat substitute" that was set aside!
Dear Happy Homemaker,
Loved the soup. Is it all right to add actual chicken meat if we're feeling a little bit flush one week when shopping? Or would that go counter to the poverty principle?
Hope this helps!
A cock (left) and hen (right) roosting together
Conservation status Domesticated Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Aves Order: Galliformes Family: Phasianidae Genus: Gallus Species: G. gallus Binomial name Gallus gallus
Gallus gallus domesticus
The Chicken (Gallus gallus, sometimes G. gallus domesticus) is a domesticatedfowl likely descended from the wild Indian and southeast AsianRed Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) and the related Grey Junglefowl (G. sonneratii). Traditionally it has been widely accepted that the chicken was descended solely from the former, as hybrids of both wild types tended toward sterility; but recent genetic work has revealed that the genotype for yellow skin present in the domestic fowl is not present in what is otherwise its closest kin, the Red Junglefowl. It is deemed most likely, then, that the yellow skin trait in domestic birds originated in the Grey Junglefowl. 
The chicken is one of the most common and widespread domestic animals. With a population of more than 24 billion in 2003,  there are more chickens in the world than any other bird. Humans keep chickens primarily as a source of food, with both their meat and their eggs consumed.
Dear Happy Homemaker,
My home is quite small and much of the furniture I own is outsize. Most pieces are in fairly good condition, but the living room/dining room is too cramped. The traffic lanes are very narrow and it seems we have to walk sideways to get from here to there. The sofa is overstuffed (so is my husband, which doesn't help in the least) and the huge dining room table has got to go. It seats twelve and the chairs are really heavy.
We have a little money for different furniture.
Your thoughts are appreciated.
Furniture that serves a dual purpose and can be compacted is the ticket. Your "new" pieces need not be brand new. To find a used piece that works may take a little foot work, but be patient. It's out there.
I would suggest a scaled-down sofa in a neutral and/or muted shade of fabric to avoid its standing out visually (avoid bold, garish florals!). Perhaps you can find an upholstered chair that complements the sofa in design and color and yet is comfortable and truly functional. Due to limited floor space, you want all seating arrangements to be smart but absolutely well utilized.
As to your dining arragements: if you wish to retain the function of your dining area but will use it only occasionally for entertaining, I suggest that you purchase a drop leaf table of suitable size. When not in use, the collapsed table may be placed against a wall, quite out of the way. And chairs: there are some very nice folding dining room chairs that can be stored away when not in use.
If it is possible for you to scale your furniture properly to the room's dimensions and make it more functional, then the room will open up, as it were, obtaining a more spacious feel. That's icing on the cake.
Hope this helps!
Dear Happy Homemaker,
Thank you for your tour de force CHICKEN BONE POTAGE!
I like to add allspice to my chicken soup for a piquant touch.
Allspice, also called Jamaica pepper,"Kurundu" Myrtle pepper, pimento  , or newspice, is a spice which is the dried unripe fruit of the Pimenta dioica plant. The name "allspice" was coined by the English, who thought it combined the flavour of several aromatic spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Contents[ hide ]
Allspice is not, as is mistakenly believed by some people who have only come across it in ground form, a mixture of spices. Rather, it is the dried fruit of the Pimenta dioica plant. The fruit is picked when it is green and unripe and traditionally dried in the sun. When dry the fruits are brown and resemble large brown peppercorns.
Allspice is most commonly sold as whole dried fruits or as a powder. The whole fruits have a longer shelf-life than the powdered product and produce a more aromatic product when freshly ground before use. Fresh leaves are also used where available: they are similar in texture to bay leaves and are thus infused during cooking and then removed before serving. Unlike bay leaves, they lose much flavour when dried and stored. The leaves and wood are often used for smoking meats where allspice is a local crop. Allspice can also be found in essential oil form.
Allspice is one of the most important ingredients of Caribbean cuisine. It is used in Caribbean jerk seasoning (the wood is used to smoke jerk in Jamaica, although the spice is a good substitute), in mole sauces, and in pickling; it is also an ingredient in commercial sausage preparations and curry powders. Allspice is also indispensable in Middle Eastern cuisine, particularly in the Levant where it is used to flavor a variety of stews and meat dishes. In Palestinian cuisine, for example, many main dishes call for allspice as the sole spice added for flavoring. In America, it is used mostly in desserts, but it's also responsible for giving Cincinnati-style chili its distinctive aroma and flavor as well. Allspice is commonly used in Great Britain and appears in many dishes, including in cakes. Even in many countries where allspice is not very popular in the household, such as Germany, it is used in large amounts by commercial sausage makers. Allspice is also a main flavor used in barbecue sauces. 
Allspice has also been used as a deodorant; 18th century Russian soldiers would put allspice in their boots.  Volatile oils found in the plant contain eugenol, a weak antimicrobial agent (Yaniv, Sohara et al. 2005). Folklore also suggests that allspice provides relief for digestive problems. 
Thank you for that requisite splash of saveur! I just tried it - excellent!
May I reschedule my cleaning time from today to tomorrow afternoon? I regret the inconvenience, but I'm stuck on a job that's way over my head.
I need a longer ladder and am having difficulty locating one.