|Abstract or Summary
- Since the management of family meals has been a major task
in most homes throughout the United States and because of its importance
to family members, this study was undertaken to examine
the management practices used by homemakers in preparing and
A questionnaire, developed by the researcher with the assistance
of the Home Management Department staff was sent to 300
homemakers in the Willamette Valley of Oregon randomly selected
from telephone directories. A total of 136 questionnaires were
returned, 105 of which were coded and analyzed. Thirty-one questionnaires
were omitted from the study either because they were
incomplete or received too late to tabulate.
All homemakers reported they lived with their husbands except
one who was a widow. Homemakers ranged in age from 20 to over
60 years; however 81 were under 50 years of age. Seventy-six
families in the sample had children living at home and the average
number of children in these families was 2.5.
Eighty percent of the homemakers and their husbands had completed
12 years of school. Twelve percent of the homemakers and 20
percent of the husbands had completed four years of college, and over
40 percent of the homemakers and their husbands had received some
post high school education.
Thirty-four percent of the homemakers were employed full time
and seven percent had part-time employment. Full-time homemakers
composed 58 percent of the group. Eighty-eight percent of the employed
homemakers did not have preschool age children at home.
Thirty percent of the husbands were employed as skilled laborers,
17 percent as professionals, and 14 percent in farming and
related occupations. Ten percent of the husbands were either retired
or attending college.
Findings from this study show that about 90 percent of the
families eat the evening meal together, about 60 percent eat breakfast
together, and less than 30 percent eat the noon meal together during
the week. Families ate more meals together on Sunday than any other
day of the week. Families had a set hour for mealtimes during the
week, but the weekend mealtimes tended to be flexible.
When meals were eaten away from home, 37 percent of the families dined at restaurants and 25 percent dined with relatives.
Husbands and older children often carried sack lunches and ate in
cafeterias. All families members indicated eating with friends.
Most homemakers felt it was important for family members to
eat meals together. The main reasons given by homemakers for
eating meals together were convenience, companionship, and communication.
Few families viewed television regularly during mealtime,
Most meals were served in the kitchen; however 57 percent of
the homemakers had more than one room where meals could be served.
Seventy percent of the homemakers entertained guests at least
once a month, Most homemakers entertained four to six guests for a
meal at one time; however about one-fourth of the homemakers entertained
15 to 30 guests on holidays and family get-togethers.
Homemakers were responsible for about 90 percent of the meal
preparation and estimated spending an average of 11 hours and 56
minutes per week on food preparation. More time was spent preparing
the evening meal than any other meal, and more time was
spent on meal preparation on the weekend than during the week.
About 70 percent of the homemakers used country-style service
in which food was placed in serving bowls and passed around the table
for the evening meal and 40 percent used plate service for the morning
meal. Plate service was not used for evening and guest meals,
The results indicate that most homemakers in this study do not
use any type of table covering regularly. Paper napkins are used
regularly by homemakers on both weekdays and weekends.
Homemakers did the major food shopping for the family, usually
on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. Over half of the homemakers
reported shopping once a week. Other homemakers shopped several
times during the week, every two weeks, or monthly.
Most homemakers enjoyed preparing meals. While many homemakers
did not like help preparing meals, they wanted help with table
setting and clean up.