Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mid Century Housewife: Before There Was Martha (Stewart) there was Ida (Bailey Allen)

Wow!!! How fast does time fly. It seems like it was this month that I started my Housewife posts! But lo and behold it has been over a month now since I did the first post.

Well, as promised here is another post in the series.

Today, I was online sorting through and organizing all of the blogs I follow through Bloglovin. I separated them into categories including a baking category. You would be surprised how many baking and cooking blogs I follow. While doing this I came upon THIS post on a vintage recipe for biscuits. Of course I had to check it out! In the post the blogger, Libby (from the blog Cooking With Libby), talks about her husband being in the military and how he loves to pick up vintage cookbooks for her when he's away. He bought her a cookbook by Ida Bailey Allen on his last trip. Libby did a little wikipedia search on Ida Allen and  found out that Ida was the premier domestic goddess of the 1930's and 1940's

A vintage Martha Stewart!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes!!!!!!  I don't know if I ever told you all this but I have a home making crush on Martha Stewart. I have since around 2005 (after prison...oops) when I decided I wanted to cook my first Thanksgiving dinner and picked up a Thanksgiving issue of Martha Stewart Living. That's all it took...

Born in 1885 and residing in Connecticut and New York (just like my adored Martha), Ida was definitely her generations Martha. She didn't just cook, she was a specialist in nutrition and formal eating. She was editor of Good Housekeeping Magazine and was featured in countless other women's magazines. People wrote to her from all across the country to seek her advice on cooking and homemaking.  She did many lectures about cooking during WWII and even had a radio show in the 1940's called Ms. Allen and the Chef. From that show a club was started called National Radio Home-maker's Club. This was a club that joined women together with a common thread...Homemaking...

She was said to have tons of influence on housewives to be the perfect hostesses and homemakers. She had so much influence over housewives of the day that in the forward of her book Ida Bailey Allen's Modern Cookbook 2500 Recipes she says (I'm is a copy of an article about the book) that once during Christmas she mentioned that little ones might love to see their mothers wearing festive red clothing during the holidays. That every woman that could, should wear a red dress on Christmas...What do you think happened? Women across the country were seen donning fashionable red Christmas dresses that Christmas!

She had dozens of endorsements including Coca Cola and Royal Baking Powder.

Ms. Allen wrote countless cookbooks that focused on things ranging from nutrition, to meals on a budget to the most fashionable dishes of the day. How fun is that?!?!?!

I even listened to an old radio show from the 40's that she appeared on!!!

Here is a pic I found of her in her kitchen.

Aren't the similarities between Ida and Martha uncanny?

Unfortunately, Ida was widowed three times and passed away in 1973 at the age of 88.

I really am loving all of the new things I'm learning this year. This was a fun post to research and read about!

If you come upon a Ida Bailey Allen cookbook in your vintage pursuits be sure to snag it. I'm going on Ebay now to see if I can find one!!!


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  1. Wow. So interesting. Thanks!

  2. Very interesting post! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  3. Ida is awesome (and so is this post)! I've been collecting vintage cookbooks for a good long time now and really got into studying more on some of the prominent names in the field of cookery of the 1900s-50s a few years back. Ida was one that I spent time researching and getting to know better. She really sounds like she a domestic goddess after my own heart and like someone I would have loved to have learned at the knee of while growing up (or anytime).


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