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Modern Cookery for Private Families (Classic Voices in Food) [Illustrated] [Hardcover]

Eliza Acton
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
RRP: £16.99
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Book Description

4 April 2011 Classic Voices in Food
This important new series rediscovers the original heroes of cookery. Reissuing texts that for decades have been available only to collectors of old books, each title has been redesigned giving the original text an updated yet timeless look for today's reader. These classic voices convey the flavour of their times and yet are astonishingly relevant to the modern reader. With two more titles to follow in September, this series will establish itself as an exciting new source of reference and inspiration for all food lovers. First published in 1845, Eliza Acton's book was a precursor of Mrs Beeton, and is considered by many to be the better book. This lost masterpiece sets out the principles of modern domestic cookery and its 34 chapters offer a wealth of timeless recipes for every conceivable food and occasion. With instructions on basic techniques ranging from frying fish to roasting meat and poultry and simple recipes such as Cucumber Soup, Spiced Beef, Venetian Fritters and Compote of Peaches, this book is packed with wisdom, experience, common sense and delights!

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Frequently Bought Together

Modern Cookery for Private Families (Classic Voices in Food) + The Gentle Art of Cookery (Classic Voices in Food) + Simple French Cooking for English Homes (Classic Voices in Food)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Quadrille Publishing Ltd (4 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844009599
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844009596
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 243,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Eliza Acton's domestic masterpiece on cookery predates even the indefatigable Mrs Beeton, and many consider it to be the better book
--The Bookseller, February 18, 2011

True Foodies will love the Classic Voices in Food Series --Homes & Gardens, June 1, 2011

A jauntily retro orange and burgundy edition from Quadrille is a reminder of just how good Acton was
--Sunday Telegraph {Stella}, May 8, 2011

About the Author

Elizabeth 'Eliza' Acton (1799 -1859) was an English poet and cook. Elizabeth Ray studied at the London School of Economics and was a social worker in London and Kent for many years. Always interested in domestic and social history, she has written several cookery books and a biography of Alexis Soyer, as well as contributing to such magazines as Homes and Gardens and writing a food column for the Sunday Telegraph. She is the widow of the wine writer Cyril Ray, which whom she wrote Wine with Food.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic cookery. 10 April 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Eliza Acton was born in 1799 - Modern Cookery for Private Families was published in 1845 and had an immediate and enduring success. Modern Cookery is a classic cookery book and Acton was, at all times, a practical cook. She often provides several versions of a dish - one economical or common (cheaper) and one `superlative' version if you really want to make a splash. A doorstop of a book it provided a Victorian housewife with everything she would need to instruct her cook or cook for herself.

In her 1855 preface Acton encourages economy and healthy eating and abhors waste. Much like some modern cooks do today she praises fresh, unadulterated food which actually gives quite a modern sound to her writing. She states that healthy eating is available to all and tries to encourage the right mode of cooking. Obviously there are a few things which need adjusting such as cooking times for vegetables - boiling peas for 25 minutes would more likely give you a form of mushy peas!

Modern Cookery is a brilliant piece of social history (she doesn't go into any sort of household management like Mrs Beeton because this is a straight-forward cookery book) and a really enjoyable read as well as being quite a useful cookery book (if you have a bit of time). There is a useful conversion chart at the front of the book for weights, volumes and oven temperatures which helps with some of the antiquated advice.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars off the Beeton track 10 April 2011
By R. A. Caton TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is fantastic. Apparently it was the source for a lot of Mrs Beeton's book, and the text here is the 1855 revision of the 1845 original (covered with what would appears to be a mid 1930's cloth cover style!). This book differs from a modern book in many ways... apart from the use of Imperial measurements (bushels? pecks?) Eliza was writing before the advent of Gas cookery, so there is a good deal of reference to the type of coal/wood (in one case paper... when cooking with "a conjuror") fire. Another mark of the text's age is an obsession with baking your own bread (with or without yeast).... because in 1845, good bread was hard to come by, with bakers using adulterated ingredients to maximise profit to the great detriment of the purchasers health. A list of the muck used to make ingredients go further at this time would make your hair curl.....
Eliza is extremely helpful in listing both the recipes (spelt "receipts" throughout) and observations as to what happened when the recipe was used... this could be done to great advantage in the present day! She is thorough in describing the BASICS. Know your building blocks! Build your foundations right (providing plain fare for a modest table) and you can then try the more advanced stuff. She even has a word for those who habitually work by guess in the realm of measurements; while acknowledging that some folks can "wing it" she points out that far more can't and that one should be very VERY familar with the appearance of the right quantities before dispensing with the scales.
I feel inspired by it; there is good sound advice for the amateur and practised cook here albeit preserved in a slightly archaic, Dickensian way of speaking. (after all, Oliver Twist was only 5 years in print whan this little tome appeared!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Cookery 30 Mar 2011
By Mr. B. W. Haynes VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book gives an interesting overview of cooking in the past making compelling reading.

Written originally at the end of the life of Eliza, this newly edited copy opens the door on how things were done many years before the days of Mrs. Beeton. Obviously many of the receipts are not to todays taste, but many others are, in particular the delightfull bread and pudding receipts.

Here, I must own up to being a fan of Eliza for many years and having several copies of her writings and recipes, some taken from the original, but many that have been "brought up to date" and in the proccess losing the original strength of her writing.

Although having had this copy for only a few days it has led to some interesting cookery experiments in our home kitchen, mostly succesful, though interpreting some of the original instructions was not easy.

I find that avoiding any comparison with Mrs. Beeton, this book is an ideal companion for anyone who is serious about basic British cookery.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great foodie gift 1 April 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is a facsimile of the original publication and the binding reflects this. It is a sizeable tome with a nice vintage cloth cover and a ribbon bookmark.
I collect old cook books, both originals and reprints (whether 'modernised' or not) and this sits nicely in the collection as it is very comprehensive and provides an authentic voice from a bygone era. It is fascinating to see what has changed in cooking - we've phased out calves' foot jelly - and how much remains the same - we have always, it seems, strived for the perfect gravy. I was intrigued to note how often cayenne pepper and mace were used in everyday dishes and how flavoursome food had to be.
Be warned, however, that this is most definitely not the sort of book you should buy someone as their first foray into cooking. The volume is too big to lie flat on a worktop, the print is tiny and there are very few illustrations. Where pictures do appear they are black and white and more likely to be of the raw ingredients (a bowl of eggs or a live hare) than of the finished dish. Measurements are imperial and cooking temperatures imprecise (a 'medium heat' or 'gentle fire', for example).
If you already know what a 'receipt' or 'catsup' constitutes, and you read your cook books from cover to cover like a novel, then this is the book for you or a gift for a like-minded foodie friend. If, however, you expect full page colour photos of the finished dish, weigh your ingredients to the gram and demand nano-second precise cooking times, for the sake of your nerves give this one a miss!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Lovely quality sort-of rare book delivered quickly. Thank-you.
Published 2 months ago by The Lone Ranger
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Quality product with excellent customer service
Published 2 months ago by Mr. M. J. Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars My eating history all in one book
The very battered copy I have had all my life finally gave up the ghost some time ago; what a joy to find this and be able to recreate all my old favourites. Read more
Published 5 months ago by L Stewart
5.0 out of 5 stars past cookery
I found this book both interesting and full of information you don't get in normal cookbooks, and I've already made the xmas pudding for this yr using the 1864 recipr.
Published 21 months ago by Peter J Wood
4.0 out of 5 stars A foodies book
This is one for a hardcore foodie. If you want to research traditional recipes and techniques, this book is great. Scant detail on method. Little relevance to modern cooking. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Syd
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for history-loving foodies
This really is a great glimpse into an entirely different world. It's not a cookbook to be dipped into, you find yourself looking for a recipe and then reading the next 30 pages as... Read more
Published on 18 Oct 2012 by captive8122@hotmail.com
4.0 out of 5 stars History and practical cookery advice in a large and unwieldy volume -...
The Chinese printed six hundred and thirty odd pages are bound in hardcover in a hideous shade of orange. Read more
Published on 3 Oct 2012 by G. Wake
5.0 out of 5 stars huge... but wonderfull !!!
2 1/4 inches thick x 9 x 6, and full to the brim with recipes - even if they list the method 1st and the ingredients 2nd !!! Read more
Published on 3 Oct 2012 by ste&shir
4.0 out of 5 stars Cook It!
A strange title... but the actual book is perfunctory, well laid out and has a number of new and interesting recipes. Read more
Published on 23 Aug 2012 by P. Keeling
5.0 out of 5 stars insight to another world
I've lusted after an original of this for years, but could never afford it. This is a straight facsimile reprint, with all the graphics, and as near as I can aspire to at a very... Read more
Published on 14 July 2012 by LDB
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