Modern Cookery, for Private Families, Reduced to a System of Easy Practice in a Series of Carefully Tested Receipts, in which the Principles of Baron Liebig and other Eminent Writers have been as much as Possible Applied and Explained ... Newly Revised and Much Enlarged Edition.

London: Woodfall and Kinder for Longman, Green, and Co., 1875.

8vo (175 x 113mm), pp. [i]-xlvii, [1 (blank)], [1]-643, [1 (blank)], [1]-32 (publisher’s catalogue dated November 1874); engraved frontispiece and 7 engraved plates, all by H. Adlard, wood-engraved illustrations in the text; some light spotting and marking, half-title foxed; contemporary [?German] full pigskin, boards with blind-ruled borders, spine gilt in compartments, gilt morocco lettering-piece in one, comb-marbled endpapers, all edges sprinkled; rubbed, upper hinge cracked, otherwise a very good copy, retaining the half-title and catalogue; provenance: stencilled [?pressmark] label on upper pastedown – B. Schmitt (cancelled booklabel on upper pastedown) – loosely-inserted German-language bookseller’s description – Christopher Hogwood.


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New edition. The schoolteacher, poet, and cookery writer Eliza Acton (1799-1859) published a number of poems as a young woman, and ‘[i]n 1837 [...] [h]er publishers, Longmans, suggested she should write something more practical than poetry so, for the next few years, she applied herself to meticulous research for the work by which she is best known: Modern Cookery for Private Families, first published in 1845. This was an immediate and lasting success running into several editions, and was the standard work on the subject until the end of the century, establishing Eliza Acton as the first of the modern cookery writers. She wrote with great charm and clarity, but what marked the book as innovative was her original plan of listing, very exactly, the ingredients, the time taken, and possible pitfalls for the inexperienced cook. This was a completely new format, all other books on the subject being far less exact in their instructions. This became the standard way of writing cookery books, except that Eliza Acton's summary of ingredients followed the recipe, whereas it is now more usually at the beginning. [...] The descriptions and asides in the writing show clearly that she knew her subject well, and she wrote that the recipes “were all proved under our own roof, and under our own personal supervision”’ (ODNB).

Cf. Bitting p. 2 (London: 1859 ed.); Simon, BG, 23 (London: 1874 ed).

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