Book Review: The Good Life on a Budget

The Good Life on a Budget: Delicious, fun and timeless tips for tough times
Jaqueline Mitchell, compiler
Osprey Publishing, 2011 (191 pp.)

If you like old housekeeping guides and cookbooks as much as I do, you will love The Good Life on a Budget, compiled by Jaqueline Mitchell (Osprey Publishing, 2011). It’s a compilation of housekeeping tips from booklets published in Britain in the 1950s, with still-great advice on everything from cheap but delicious food, mending clothes, keeping things clean around the house and crafts.

Tasty tisanes (herbal teas), homemade weather vanes, how to make chutneys and preserves, and even a few wartime recipes like Mock Sausage – these are just a few of the things you’ll find here. I’ve already copied out a few of the recipes for preserves because I’ve been meaning to make jam for some time now – and this may inspire me to actually, you know, do that.

Aside from the jam recipes, the other 1950s tips that particularly interest me in this book are those on how to darn holes in sweaters. I have a couple of beautiful old-ish wool sweaters that have some small but irksome holes in them (and aren’t holes in sweaters always irksome). The Good Life on a Budget has a guide that makes darning look do-able even for me, who is so Not Handy with the mending.

There are also wonderful illustrations, some in color, featuring the original booklets and some old advertisements, too. I especially like the poster that announces “Green Vegetables Keep You Fit” that shows a cartoon elephant hoisting a little cabbage.

I really enjoyed this book and if you like retro advice and tips that stand the test of time, I think that you will, too.

Many many thanks to the folks at Osprey Publishing who were kind enough to send The Good Life on a Budget to me (the opinions are, of course, my own – I have to say that, even though you know that already).

*****
It would be delightful if you would join me over on my new Facebook fan page (the widget is over on the sidebar, you just need to click ‘Like’)! I will try and make that page fun, too. Maybe I can give you some darning tips – once I’ve tackled my desperate forest green cardigan, that is!

I haven’t forgotten about another Etiquette Mystery, by the way. That’s coming soon, I promise.

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Good Life on a Budget

  1. In England the general sales tax just went up to 20%. The heating/electric people decided they want more money so we've been delegated to pay them nearly 300US$ a month more than we were already paying based on what they think we might use (they'll deign to give us back some of our money next summer if they miscalculated our usage this winter). Add the cost of petrol (which is now over 2US$ a litre which pushes the cost of food and everything transported to the shops through the roof) and budget has become our new favorite word!My husband who works in an office has several work shirts with holes in the arms from wear. I told him I could iron a patch on the inside and he gave me one of his, 'Over my dead body' looks. He'll just buy a new shirt…out of the food budget. His idea of budget and my idea of budget aren't quite the same. I wonder how many people will divorce this year after failing to agree on a budget. Hopefully I won't be one of them.

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