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Modern Cookery for Private Families

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An unabridged reprint of Miss Acton's great book, first published in 1845 and added to by the author ten years later. This reprint is of the expanded edition and includes all the splendid engravings of the original.

For those who do not know this work there is a treat in store, not only because of the variety and elegance of the hundreds of recipes, but also because of their simplicity. This was the first recipe book to give a list of ingredients and a time for cooking each recipe (an entirely original idea of Eliza Acton's). For those lucky enough to possess a precious original edition, here is a copy that can be used in the kitchen.

Eliza Acton's receipts show English cookery at its very best, before the over-elaboration of late Victorianism overtook it. She was writing for small families, so quantities in the recipes hardly need to be altered, and her insistence throughout on the very best and most wholesome ingredients is in accord with our thinking today. She tested all the dishes herself; on the rare occasions where they were not, she says so and gives her sources. Her personality shows strongly all through the book; she was precise, orderly, very observant and mistress of an inestimable prose style, so she can be read for pleasure as well as use.

Very little is known about her life. Elizabeth Ray has done some original research, fleshed out the somewhat shadowy profile we have had of her up to now, and corrected some earlier misconceptions about her.

Published: Jun 1, 2016