Mrs Beeton Published
The 25th of December 1861 AD
Long after today’s celebrity chefs and their irritating pretensions to invention are forgotten, the name of Mrs Beeton will still remain high in the pantheon of British cooks. And this in spite of her own relative inexperience of practical cookery – she died aged just 28 - and her famous book being concerned with much more than the kitchen.
Isabella Beeton’s husband was a publisher, and she wrote or rather compiled articles on cookery and other domestic skills for him that proved very successful in The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine. These formed the basis of Beeton’s Book of Household Management, first published in book form on December 25 1861 (it was not until later that the Mrs Beeton’s version of the title was introduced) by her husband’s Bouverie Street firm in the City of London .
Many of the recipes, it seems, were plagiarised from Eliza Acton and other such pioneers; but their organisation, the clarity with which all ingredients were listed, and their comprehensiveness were down to Isabella Beeton, her philosophy neatly summarised by her famous words: “A place for everything and everything in its place”.
The book covered the roles of various members of the household, masters and servants; and was a godsend for the aspiring middle classes in Victorian Britain, to which Hatch End resident Mrs Beeton firmly belonged. Before the decade was out the tome had sold more than two million copies.
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