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Modern Cookery for Private Families (Classic Voices in Food) Hardcover – Illustrated, 4 Apr 2011


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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: 13.8 x 5.6 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Charliecat on 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Caton on 10 April 2011
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 By Scheherazade VINE VOICE on 20 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First published in 1845, Modern Cookery for Private Families is a pretty unique read! Re-issued as part of the Classic Voices in Food series, Eliza Acton's kitchen handbook offers an insight into the methods of historical cookery. At 32 chapters, and 636 pages, this is a hefty tome -- but it's packed with interesting recipes (along with some very strange ones!), common sense, and practical advice. It's also pretty exhaustive, covering everything from fish to sauces, cakes, preserves, vegetables and meat, with a quick look at "foreign" foods, and methods of cooking.

What is perhaps worth pointing out is that this isn't your average modern cook book -- it contains only a few line drawings (none of the glossy photography we've become used to!), and the text is small and fairly dense. I love that the re-issue has remained true to the spirit of the original, though, and that the editor hasn't attempted to modernise the format to appeal to the contemporary reader. It might take a bit of getting used to, but it's definetly worth the effort. Saying that, I imagine this book will primarily be of interest to historians and foodies, but there is a great deal of sound advice that could benefit the 21st century family cook. If you're even remotely interested in cookery, have a look at this book -- it's a truly fascinating experience!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mart TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Eliza Acton is credited as writing one of the first cook books for the general reader, and a major influence in Mrs Beeton's `Book of Household Management' (aka `Mrs Beeton's Cookbook'), and modern day culinary writers such as Delia Smith have also acknowledged the importance of Eliza's `Modern Cookery' book.

This compact 6 x 9 inch 600 page hardback facsimile style reproduction of the book is a goldmine of information, as well as providing a vast array of recipes it gives an insight into the way of life in the 1800's. There are no glossy photos, just black and white illustrations, and the writing is small so it's a reference book in today's terms, but it's a book that maybe some of today's chefs could learn from.

The book is divided into 32 chapters, covering the different types of animal meats (illustrations show where the different cuts are on the animal - beef sirloin, brisket, veal loin, fillet etc) as well as preserves, pickles, cakes, sauces, salads and much, much more.

This is an extremely easy to read book, written in an endearingly old fashioned way while remaining concise and informative. It's perfectly relevant to today's modern kitchen, and I consider it a valuable and very usable companion for the everyday home cook.
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