A Look at the Portuguese World

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Bride's book

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It was a compulsory work for marriageable young women, written by Laura Santos.

Recently when I did some cleaning rediscover two books that belonged to my mother and that in her youth was almost obligatory reading for anyone who was going to get marry, the famous "bridal school." I delighted while I was also horrified by some of the chapters that discuss the concept of modern woman who received a kind of manual that taught her among other things how a bride should behave, the kind of outfit that must have the post-marriage life, how to please her husband, the care of the children, advice in how to take out the various types of stains of clothing (which I truly find useful), the decoration of the home, which is an appropriate table service , how to fix a closet, how to clean the house, what kind of plants are suitable in a residence and of course this "little nothings that make a good cook" accompanied by recipes (some wich seem to be very tasty, I must confess). In one of the pages she even says that "not only a woman has to be a perfect housewife, economic, neat and skilful. You should also welcome people in your home, both your friends, as friends of your husband "unquote, referring to the subchapter of the presentations. Now, maybe this give you an idea of the level of excellence expected of a young married woman to the point of being necessary to publish a book to help her in this herculean task of the management of a Portuguese home (and yes I am being ironic if you have not noticed!). And do not think that it was an anachronistic concept from that time, "bridal schools" had ... and still has a wide audience in our country, because by doing a quick search on the internet I found a 2007 edition and not only, as a curiosity it should be noted that the author, Laura Santos, on behalf of books and other publications on Portuguese cuisine and handcrafts she built a publishing empire that still remains today.
After leafing through this "brides school" I could not help but reflect on the role of Portuguese women in society from the 60s and early 70s of how these young women were confined to an ideal of perfect housewives and not desperate, wonder womens, very well-dressed and with a constant smile on their face, on a conservative society that allowed them to work, or travel only with written permission of the husband or the father in the case they were single. I just have one more thing to add on this matter, hurray the revolution of April 25th! Happy reading!

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