Meats, Marriage, and Mrs. Hassleback’s Hot Topics: Studies in Crap Presents 70’s Home Economics Busy Work


Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets. He does this for one reason: Knowledge is power.

The Teacher’s Aide Volume 2
Homemaking Research Laboratories, Tony, Wisconsin
Date: 1978
Discovered at: Thrift Store
Sample crossword and “Word Jumble” clues:
Page 24, “A variety meat. It is found in the mouth. _____ (plural)”
Page 53, “Homemaking courses teach skills in ______ing.

Cooked up by the Homemaking Research Laboratories in the most fancy-pants city in all of Wisconsin, The Teacher’s Aide Volume 2 provides the home economics teachers of Jimmy Carter’s America with puzzles, tests and bulletin-board ideas, all residing right in that home-ec sweet spot where meat meets marriage to become goofy busywork.

For the HRC, learning comes down to filling in blanks. Try plugging the knowledge holes in the memorable activity below, the ancient Shaolin “Winding Path Puzzle on Meats”:

4. An example of a variety meat. They flop near the eyes of the pig.______
7. The _____ comes from along the loin. There are only two in each animal.
11. ______ is similar to frankfurters but contains garlic.

(My guess at the answers: “ears,” “tenderloin,” and “an Italian.”)

Other exercises include crosswords, “word jumbles” and thematic word searches such as “Understanding Yourself and Others” and “Looking Toward Marriage.” (Research remains inconclusive on the iompact of premarital word-search completion lowers divorce rates.)

Here’s some stumpers from a “Test on Table Etiquette”:

6. If the food at a dinner does not appeal to you, you should
a. refuse the food and explain why.
b. take some food but refuse to taste it.
c. take some food and attempt to eat some of it.

19. If you made the mistake of putting something too hot in your mouth
a. remove the food completely
b. take a drink of water.
c. open your mouth and exhale.

While many of these exercises were concocted by pointy-headed elites in the Tony, Wisconsin, labs, the tried-and-tested best ones were sent in by real home-ec teachers out laboring in the field. Here are some bulletin board suggestions:

A Benton, Louisiana, instructor compares marriage to a dogfight:

Dorothy Jean Harp of the Oklahoma State Department of Vo-Tech combines the excitement of floor covering with cutting-edge rotary-dial technology.

Shocking Detail:
Melody Hasselback of Olivet, Michigan, uses her “Discussion vs. Facts” activity to get students responding to controversial topics. For each, they must select one of three positions: “1. Pro — those who favor the topic. 2. Con — those who are against it.”

Her final choice: “3) Self — those who may express their own thoughts and feelings.”

Hasselbacks’ Hot Topics:

  • Premarital sex
  • Working mother – has adverse effect on child
  • A girl should pay her own way
  • Divorce – the only solution to a poor marriage
  • Employed youths who live at home should pay room and board
  • One person in the household should have control of the money
  • Spend your money. Let government take care of you in your old age.
  • It is more important for a boy than a girl to train for a career/vocation.
  • Abortion
  • Keep the illegitimate baby

Pray tell, Mrs. Hasselback, just what it means to answer “self” to “abortion”?


Unbelievable clues from the crossword “What Home Economics Offers”:

41 Down: “As the _____ of women improves, new areas of employment open up.”
3 Across: Future Homemakers of America (abbr.)
7 Across: “If you are ____ you may be interested in becoming an interior decorator.”

[The Crap Archivist lives in Kansas City, where he originates his on-line Studies for the Voice‘s sister paper, The Pitch.]