Morning reading – Cottage Industry by William Cobbett. In which Cobbett, publisher of The Porcupine and The Political Register, explains the skills (and costs) necessary to run a household: brewing beer, baking bread, planting 3000 rods of cabbages and swedish turnips, keeping a cow, and so on. He really hates on “the villainous root” (potatoes) as well as on watered-down, non-nutritious beer and the Malt Tax which made it difficult for people to brew beer at home. Part of the hate on potatoes is because they’re inefficient and costly – you have to make a fire 3 times a day to boil them – while for the same cost (according to Cobbett) you could spend half a day and one fire baking a bushel of bread to last an entire week.
I like when Cobbett works up a good rant.
And what is there worthy of the name of plague, or trouble, in all this? Here is no dirt, no filth, no rubbish, no litter, no slop. And, pray, what can be pleasanter to behold? Talk, indeed, of your pantomimes and gaudy shows; your processions and installations and coronations! Give me, for a beautiful sight, a neat and smart woman, heating her oven and setting in her bread! And, if the bustle does make the sign of labor glisten on her brow, where is the man that would not kiss that off, rather than lick the plaster from the cheek of a duchess.