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Are You Living an Even-Threaded Life?

A Simple Life Lesson from a 1903 Cookbook:
Do You Have True Refinement?

Today’s Simple Living Tip comes from Marion Harland’s Complete Cook Book - Copyright 1903. This passage was written over 100 years ago, but the lesson is timeless.

“True refinement - the kind that does not shrink or go to pieces under the roughest processes of the mangle we know as daily living - is “even-threaded” and consistent throughout.

I called the other day upon a woman who has never been rich, but always refined. She is now poor. She can never be common. Her lunch hour was earlier than I had supposed, and my call infringed upon it. She and her daughter were at table.

“You shall not go,” she insisted; “I can give you a cup of hot tea and little else besides ‘bread and cheese and kisses.’ The welcome must make up the rest.”

The cheese had been melted upon buttered toast, cut by a tin “shape” into scalloped ovals; it was golden brown in color, crisp to the teeth, savory to the palate. The tea was scalding and fresh and fragrant; for meat we had three Hamburg steaks, garnished with celery-tops. They were accompanied by an apple-and-celery salad, treated on the table to a French dressing; wafery slices of brown bread and butter went with it. Afterwards we had Albert biscuits and a second cup of tea - and nothing else. Beyond the laughing remark prefacing the frugal meal, the hostess offered no apology. She lived in this style every day, affecting nothing and hiding nothing. A gentlewoman in grain, if she had sat down to three meals a day alone, she would have breakfasted, lunched and dined - not merely “fed.” Luxury was beyond her reach - elegance never.

Simplicity need not be homely. Neatness is not a synonym for bareness. A certain degree of beauty and grace is almost a Christian duty.”

- from the cookbook Marion Marland’s Complete Cook Book, copyright 1903
This excerpt is from the chapter entitled “Even-Threaded Living”

How about you? Do you keep your inner dignity and grace no matter your circumstances? Do you celebrate daily life with a deep appreciation for all the abundance that you already have in your life?

Let’s all remember Marion Marland’s friend. If we find ourselves complaining about our finances, tempted to hide our authentic selves, allowing ourselves to feel inferior or shamed somehow, or even just shuffling through our daily lives while waiting for better circumstances to appear, then remember your inner dignity and grace, your true refinement. It is always with you and it allows you to determine that you will deeply enjoy your daily life without apology and with no need for explanations. Marion Marland calls it “even-threaded living.”

It's that simple.


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