Being judged by the state of your pickles

Whilst doing some research about chutneys and pickles I’ve just come across this by Mrs Beeton:

“Nothing shows more, perhaps, the difference between a thrifty housewife and a lady to whom these desirable epithets may not be honestly applied, than the appearance of their respective store-closets. The former is able, the moment anything is wanted, to put her hand on it at once; no time is lost, no vexation incurred, no dish spoilt for the want of ‘just a little something’. The latter, on the contrary, hunts all over the cupboard for the ketchup the cook requires, or the pickle her husband thinks he should like a little of with his cold roast beef or mutton chop…. We strenuously advise all…to label all their various pickles and store sauces…  It will occupy a little time at first, but there will be economy of it in the long run.”

Well what a load of old twaddle.  Even by Mrs B’s own standards.

It’s not that I have a problem with labelling. That’s very useful, of course, to avoid mistaking a pickle for a curd. But honest to goodness I doubt that anyone should be so judged by the neatness or otherwise of their kitchen cupboards.

Be organised by all means. But, Mrs Beeton, please relax.


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