“Authority Based on Actual Tests”

Lynda Gene Rymond created “Authority Based on Actual Tests” from the Modern Priscilla Cook Book (1924). Please click here to read.

About the poem and the process of composing it, Lynda Gene writes:

My grandmother’s battered copy of the Modern Priscilla Cook Book is stuffed with newspaper clippings of recipes, homemaking tips, and a column on coping with husbands suffering from war trauma. The book is a potent relic, especially given my grandmother’s early death from the combined effects of anorexia and domestic violence. For this poem, I selected the opening pages of the book, which make the case for a more scientific approach to the home kitchen in a formal, even lecturing tone. I pared away with a sharp eye, looking for lines that open a small compressed window from those times, in which women’s lives were so diminished and constrained, to our times, in which many women continue to bear intense domestic responsibility in addition to other roles.