Kathleen Ferguson was born in 1875, in Limerick. She was fluent in both English and Irish and by 1900, she had gained first-degree honors in the Dublin School of Cookery. She taught cookery to a class of nearly 200 students in the Presentation Convent, Bagenalstown, Carlow where she was described in the Nationalist and Leinster Times as having ‘high qualifications and unremitting energy’.

kathleen ferguson

Advert in the WestmeathIndependent, July 13, 1901

In 1901, she was living in a boarding house in Catherine Place, Limerick, and was described in the census of that year as a ‘Lady Cookery Organizer’.

Kathleen Ferguson published multiple educational and advice books aimed at children between 1900 and 1908.

The titles included ‘Hints on good manners for the use of children’, ‘Sick room cookery with notes on sick nursing’, Elementary lessons in laundry work’ and ‘Catechism of domestic sciences. For the use of children’.

Kathleen Ferguson’s Tips

Her book ‘Lessons on Cookery and Housewifery’ contained advertisements from local Limerick businesses Matterson’s and Shaw’s bacon factories and Geary’s biscuit factory.  It included recipes such as how to boil a pig’s head, how to stuff sheep’s heart, and how to make a soda plum cake.

The following are a sample of instructions from Kathleen Ferguson’s “Lessons in Cookery and Housewifery for the use of Children, Book I” published in 1901 by Athlone Printing Works.

To Make Tea.
  1. Have the kettle boiling;
  2. Heat the teapot;
  3. Allow one teaspoon of tea for every person and one for the teapot;
  4. Pour boiling water on the tea and draw it from 3 to 5 minutes, never longer.
To Make Coffee.
  1. Have the kettle boiling;
  2. Allow one tablespoonful of coffee to every person;
  3. Heat the coffee grains very thoroughly before pouring on boiling water;
  4. Pour boiling water on the coffee and infuse for 15 minutes, but never boil it;
  5. Serve boiled milk with coffee.
How To Scrub.

Use hot water, soap, flannel, and a scrubbing brush. Damp the boards all over, rub soap on the brush, and scrub well with the grain of the wood to remove dirt; rinse away the soap and dry the boards.

NOTE- Sand sometimes is used instead of soap when the boards are used very much for preparing food, such as pastry boards.

How To Set A Fire.

Remove all ashes from the grate and blacklead it; Place a few cinders at the bottom of the grate, over them some newspaper rolled in balls, then sticks crossed, and over all coal, lightly placed, so as to allow air to pass freely.

How To Make A Bed.
  1. Remove all the bedclothes; put them on two chairs, not on the floor;
  2. Turn the mattress every day, once a week turn the palliasse;
  3. Dust the frame of the bed;
  4. Put on the under blanket and under sheet and tuck them in;
  5. Put on the bolster, then the over sheet and other blankets and tuck them in; turn back the sheet;
  6. Lastly, put on the quilt which must not be tucked in, and then put on the pillows.

NOTE – Keep the name on the sheets always at the top, and always keep the under sheet under, and the over sheet over.

How To Wash And Care Saucepans.
  1. All saucepans must be washed inside and out, and the lids also inside and outside;
  2. Greasy saucepans must be washed with hot water and soda;
  3. Saucepans used for milk porridge, etc., are more easily washed if cold water is put into them and boiled up on the fire;
  4. White-lined saucepans can be cleaned quite easily by using broken eggshell and salt;
  5. The frying pan must be washed inside and outside with soda and hot water when fish or onions, etc., have been fried, but when only bacon has been fried the pan should be well wiped over with clean paper as it will not burn so quickly when next used.

NOTE – Always wash saucepans as soon as possible after use; never leave them dirty overnight; always put water and a little soda into them immediately they are finished if they cannot be washed at once; leave the lids off to let the air to them when dry.