We often think on how stressed and rushed our lives are, and the pressures on women to have a career and raise a family and to be “someone” , and yet if we really think about our lifestyle – we are incredibly lucky to be born into an age where our lives have been made incredibly easy in some ways in comparison to those of our ancestors.
I’ve been sitting here reflecting on this today as I thumbed through the tattered remains of one of my Great Grandmothers recipe books. – Most of the pages are long gone and those that are left are torn, and some hand written recipes have printed recipe clippings glued on top of them but this recipe glued to the inside cover really bought to light the fact that my life is really a bit of a doddle compared to that of my Grandmother and Great Grandmother.
In case you cant read it – the recipe is actually instructions on Laundering Linen Collars .
To Launder Linen Collars ( in reply to M.H. “N.I..,” 28/3/31) – The collars must be steeped, washed, boiled, rinsed, blued and quite dry before starching. Dip into cold water starch, squeeze out, and rub the starch well into the folds of the linen. Roll up in a clean dry cloth. Rub with a dry rag before ironing to remove any starch which, lying on the surface would make brown specks when ironed. Stretch the machine stitching to pull out creases and iron the wrong side lightly. Iron right side heavily to make linen as smooth and glossy as possible; then iron right and wrong side alternately till dry. Them with a damp rag rub evenly all over the right side. Put linen on a hard surface, and polish with a hot clean polishing iron.
Curl and air or the polish will pass away. The best time for ironing is about two hours after the starching. The top edge of the colour should be next to the ironer, so that any fullness can be pushed down to the bottom of the collar, Borax improves the starch very much. The following is an excellent recipe for cold water starch; 1 tablespoon white starch, 1/2 pint cold water, 4 drops turpentine, 1/2 teaspoonful borax ( dissolved) . Put starch into a clean basin, add very little cold water, mix with the fingers till free from lumps, add the turpentine which mixes more easily than if added later, pour in remainder of water and, lastly dissolved borax. The borax is dissolved in a tablespoonful of water ( boiling) If not properly dissolved it is apt to make yellow marks.. If making a larger quantity, only two drops of turpentine should be added to each succeeding pint of cold water .
My, haven’t we come a long way in the 80 years since this was written. Times were simpler in many ways but each generation has its own trials to suffer, and I for one am glad Starched Linen Collars aren’t one of the trials of my life.