6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Modern Cookery for Private Families (Classic Voices in Food) (Hardcover)
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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.