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Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management Abridged edition (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – Abridged, 12 Jun 2008
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Mrs Beeton was the Delia Smith of her day. Vastly popular in its time, her great Book of Household Management is scarcely read nowadays in its original form (no offence, Delia). This is a pity, since as a result a distorted picture of the author and her work persists, as an oppressive Victorian materfamilias with a decidedly bossy attitude and a tendency to boil vegetables to a grey pulp. The truth, as Nicola Humble demonstrates in her abridgement of the work for the Oxford press, is quite different. Isabella Beeton was in many ways an unusual person. One of 21 children, she lived for part of her childhood in the grandstand at Epsom racecourse, married Sam Beeton, an ambitious young publisher, worked hard as a journalist and translator, and died of puerperal fever (not, sadly, such an unusual fate in her time) at the age of 28. The Book of Household Management grew out of her own sense, as a new bride, of the lack of such a work of instruction and guidance for young women faced with the daunting business of running a home. It is largely a compilation rather than an original work. Its originality lies in its organisation and purpose; its quality arises from the clarity and decisiveness of Beeton's writing. Behind the period details, there is a wealth of common sense.
Nicola Humble provides a scholarly introduction and notes. Gesturing towards academic fashions, she describes the many facets of the book in terms of modes of discourse--which is perhaps a highfalutin way of pointing out the remarkable range of subject matter and the variety of Beeton's sources. The notes entertainingly combine theoretical commentary with often deadpan remarks on the recipes ("Rock biscuits: so-called for their appearance, not their texture"). The recipes themselves are the principal victims of the abridgement, for Nicola Humble's main aim is to present the book as a kind of exhaustive self-portrait of the expanding and aspirational Victorian middle classes. The representative selection that remains, however, are enough to make this a welcome reissue of a fascinating and important book. --Robin Davidson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The recipes are excellent and there are all sorts of tips that help me save money, time and temper. (Sandi Toksvig, Daily Express)
sold out in Central London book shops within weeks (Red, August 2000)
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Top Customer Reviews
I have a hard-copy facsimile of the original and it's great - but I wish I had a searchable, electronic edition. This isn't it.
Do not waste your money on the kindle edition.
For those that have never heard of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household management the book "does what it says on the cover". Providing a huge number of recipes (over 1,350 in this version), approximately 200 pages cover other household management areas such as "Dinners and Dining"; "Bills of Fare"; "Domestic Servants" ("Duties of the": "Butler"; "Footman"; "Valet"; "Nursemaid" and many others); "The Rearing etc,. of Children"; "The Doctor" and "Legal Memoranda".
The book is full of annecdotes about the various ingredients and articles used, which compliment the style very well. There are 13 articles of the "General Observations of" variety, including "Quadrupeds", "The Sheep and Lamb" and "Game". Most articles and recipes are indexed by paragraph number rather than page number but this is ideal because there can be more than one entry on a page and it means that you can more easily find the exact place you require.
Due to the use of imperial measurements throughout the book it is not the ideal cookbook for the modern chef without knowledge of how to convert to or from Metric measurements (if you've got an Android phone, for example, you'll find a number of conversion apps available). Also, although prices for dishes are given they are, of course, in the imperial currency accurate to the time of the origainal publication date (1861) which although not of much practical use today provides an interesting historical aspect.
Don't expect advice on how to use a wok or traditional Indian cooking, this is a book about Victorian English food and everyday tips for that era. An excellent addition to any kitchen shelf or historical collection, just make sure you have dual scale scales (or the conversions available).
Read The Book of Household Managemen for it's historical value rather than for it's practical information and it will be an adventure.
The Book of Household Management
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good service from seller - would recommend. unfortunately cannot comment on content as it is a Christmas present.Published 7 months ago by Lynne C.
My wife didn't appreciate me giving thsd on our anniversary but now she loves itPublished 8 months ago by OriginalNeilly
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