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Archive for Saturday, September 23, 2000

Husband’s meddling in household chores not reason to divorce

September 23, 2000

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Dear Ann: I am enclosing a copy of an article that appeared in the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer on March 28, 1969. I saved it back then and came across it recently. Keep in mind, this was 31 years ago. I thought you might get a kick out of it and want to share it with your readers. M.R., Raleigh, N.C.

Dear Raleigh: I did and I shall. Thank you. Here it is:

"After 13 years of marriage, London housewife Doreen Baker said she couldn't go on living with a man who did all the cooking, cleaning and shopping. She tried to get a divorce from 58-year-old Frederick Baker, charging him with refusing to allow her 'the status of a normal housewife.' That was cruelty, she claimed.

Her lawyer told Judge Stanley Rees that Mrs. Baker, 41, was allowed only once in her married life to go shopping on her own. When she returned home, her husband examined all her purchases and found three things he did not approve of:

1. She had bought a shopping bag for 4 cents, although there was a good one at home she could have used.

2. She had bought a brand of flour that cost 5 cents more than the kind Baker always bought when he did the shopping.

3. She had gone to the butcher's shop 'on the wrong day' and bought unsatisfactory meat.

What probably made it more difficult for her to bear, the judge said, was that Baker was correct on all three points.

The judge turned down Mrs. Baker's request for a divorce, ruling that although her husband may have been 'irritating and tactless,' he was never cruel. The judge added that Baker had written to his wife, telling her if she came home, he would share the housework with her."

Dear Readers: This is Ann talking. Times certainly have changed.

Dear Ann: This is not a major problem, but it has been bothering me for 25 years. My mother-in-law has a great deal of respect for you, Ann, so I hope you can help me out. She won't listen to anyone else. Believe me, I've tried.

No one in my husband's family refrigerates their jars of mayonnaise even after the jars are opened. The mayonnaise is kept in the pantry until it is finished. Please be aware that we live in an area where the temperature outside can reach 107 degrees. What I can't understand is why none of them ever get sick. Can it be that they are just lucky? My mother-in-law says her mother used to do it, so maybe the whole family has built up some kind of immunity.

Do you have any idea why this is so? Baffled in Bakersfield, Calif.

Dear Bakersfield: Your question intrigued me, so my office contacted the Association for Dressing and Sauces in Atlanta. Believe it or not, we were told commercial mayonnaise CAN be stored at room temperature (although temperatures of 107 degrees would be too hot). The eggs are pasteurized, and the acidity content is high enough to kill most bacteria. Refrigeration is recommended, however, to retain the container's original flavor. Kraft Foods strongly recommends refrigerating mayonnaise after opening the jar to ensure good quality and to minimize the risk of contamination.

So, if your mother-in-law insists on leaving her mayo in the pantry, she probably won't get sick from it. I, however, will keep my mayo in the fridge, just to be safe.

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