- The purpose of this study was to examine the meal management
practices used in the homes of selected home economics graduates.
A total of 296 questionnaires were mailed to Oregon State University
home economics graduates for the years 1945, 1950, 1955, and 1960.
Forty-nine percent (146) of the questionnaires were returned. Of
these, 140 questionnaires were tabulated and analyzed.
Findings from this study show that over three-fifths of the homemakers
and the children age five or under ate all meals at home.
Nearly three-fifths of the husbands and the children age six and above
ate all meals at home except the weekday noon meal. Forty percent
of the families ate breakfast together as a family every day, six percent
ate the noon meal together, and 81 percent ate the evening meal
together every day. Meals appeared to be on a more routine time
schedule during the week than on weekends.
The dining room table and the kitchen table were the more popular areas in the home for serving family meals. Eighty-eight percent
of the homemakers felt it was important or very important for all
family members to eat together as often as possible.
The homemaker carried the major responsibility for preparing
the breakfast, noon, and evening meals. However, other family members
assisted. The meal time tasks with which the homemakers
received the most help were setting the table, clearing the table,
washing the dishes, and serving the food. The daughters helped most
with meal time tasks.
Homemakers spent more time preparing the evening meal than
the other two meals, and they spent more time preparing the breakfast
than the noon meal. They also spent more time preparing all meals on
the weekend than on weekdays. The majority of the homemakers spent
30 minutes or less preparing the breakfast and noon meals and 60
minutes or less preparing the evening meal.
Apartment or blue-plate service was the most popular service
for the breakfast and noon meals. For the evening meal, country or
American service was used most often. Only nine percent of the
homemakers used a tray regularly for meal service, and only two
percent used a cart regularly.
Sixty-two percent of the homemakers purchased their groceries
for a definite period of time and then planned their meals, while 17
percent planned their menus before purchasing their groceries.
All of the homemakers owned a refrigerator. All except two indicated owning and using a range. Over 60 percent owned a toaster,
a freezer, a dishwasher, an electric fry pan, a blender, and an
electric mixer with stand. Eighty-six percent of the homemakers used
paper napkins regularly on weekdays, while none used cloth napkins
regularly on weekdays. Fabric table cloths were more popular with
the homemakers than were plastic ones. Ninety-four percent of the
homemakers occasionally used paper plates and cups. They were used
for picnics or outdoor meals, some daily meals, and for guest meals.
The majority of the homemakers, 71 percent, said that they did
enjoy cooking, particularly for special occasions. Though nearly half
said they liked to serve meals in a creative way, 68 percent used a
simple, basic type of service due to limited time.
The homemakers in 91 percent of the homes were the major food
shoppers. Thirty-four percent of the families usually shopped for food
once per week, while 39 percent made a major shopping trip and additional
trips as needed. Fifty-six percent of the homemakers shopped
on Thursday or Friday. Over 60 percent of the homemakers never
had completely prepared dinners or foods such as pizza and fried
chicken delivered to their homes. However, dairy products were
delivered regularly to 49 percent of the homes.
Fifty-seven percent of the homemakers invited guests for meals
once or twice a month, and over half usually entertained from three to
six guests at a time for meals. When asked about having guests help
with meal preparation and cleanup, 36 percent of the homemakers preferred no help from guests, while 27 percent said they enjoyed help,
and nine percent did not object to help.
Chi-square tests were used to test for relationships between
types of meal service and selected demographic factors and between
methods of meal planning and selected demographic factors. Significant
relationships were found between the type of meal service used
and the employment status of the homemaker, the number of children,
the income of the family, and the age of the homemaker. Significant
relationships were also found between the method of planning meals
and the age of the homemaker.
The results of these tests showed that apartment or blue-plate
service was used most frequently for the weekday breakfast meal by
full-time homemakers and least frequently by homemakers employed
part time. As the number of children in the family increased, the use
of apartment or blue-plate service for this meal decreased.
Apartment or blue-plate service was used most frequently for the
weekday noon meal by full-time homemakers and least frequently by
homemakers employed full time. As the level of income increased up
to $20,000, the use of apartment or blue-plate service for the weekday
noon meal decreased. A larger percentage of the younger homemakers
used apartment or blue-plate service for the weekday noon meal. The
youngest and the oldest homemakers in this study, rather than those in
the middle age group, planned their meals after groceries were purchased
rather than before groceries were purchased.