When I was a very young child in Cuba, we had domestic "help" who cooked, cleaned and generally took care of the business of running the household. That "household" consisted of our two parents, five daughters and a son and various staff. We lived in a large (semi-mansion-size) home with eight bedrooms, two kitchens and a courtyard.
All of that abruptly changed when our family had to leave Cuba in early 1961. Take a group of five girls, raised in privilege and suddenly plunge them into another world where they had to struggle and pitch in to help keep up with the daily chores.
It was a bit traumatizing. My parents, to their credit, never spoke much about our former life. That was in the past. "This is our new reality."
And so we managed as best we could to learn the skills we formerly took for granted. We worked hard to learn the new life skills that were required of us - the cooking and cleaning and general running of a household.
Not only were we expected to clean our new home, but it had to be "Cuban clean." That means perfectly spotless and spelling of PineSol. (I am still missing this particular skill. I think it skips a generation, but that's not important right now.)
There are things that, to this day, still elude me. I confess I'm never really sure how to get certain stains out of my laundry. And a chore list? I must have one somewhere around here....
I do make a regular menu list, but I'm always kind of flying by the seat of my pants. What I need is Home-Ec 101. If only someone, somewhere would write a book!
Meet my friend, Heather Solos. She not only wrote the book, she is the brains behind the very popular and informative website, Home-Ec 101. (Go there. Bookmark it. Thank me later.)
I had the privilege of meeting Heather in Texas last year when we were both part of the Cooking With the Troops team in San Antonio. We all immediately fell in love with her and embraced her as an honorary Cuban. She quickly became an integral part of Team Cubanaso. ;-)
This woman seriously knows how to do everything. (I'm not kidding about this.) She is amazing. Last year when we were struggling with an ant problem, the first person I contacted was Heather. She knew exactly what to do. And it worked! Read all about that right here.
I was so excited to receive my very own (autographed!) copy. I quickly turned to Chapter Eleven - Laundry: The World's Most Thankless Chore and read it as if my life depended on it. (So that's how you pre-treat stains!)
I promise you will enjoy this book immensely. It should be a staple in everyone's home. Speaking of staples, she covers just exactly what you should have in your kitchen in Chapter 18. (Get this book!)
Or maybe you could win it...
Heather has graciously offered to host this week's giveaway: An autographed(!) copy of her fabulous book (which everyone totally should have!) Home-Ec 101, Skills for Everyday Living.
1) To enter this drawing, please leave a comment on this post and answer one or both of the following questions:
- What household skill are you particularly good at?
- Where do you still struggle?
To enter this drawing for Heather's must-have book, please leave your comment on this post and I'll choose a winner on Friday, March 30th, 2011 at 8pm PST.
Would it be an over-share to tell you that I may or may not have found some pertinent information I needed under the heading: Dealing with Tub Funk? ;-)