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Contemporary recipes and preparing assistance
from Contemporary Cookery for Personal Families by Eliza Acton (London: Longmans, Natural, Audience, and Dyer, 1871. p.48.)

With the development of the printing push in the 16th and 17th centuries, numerous books were prepared on the best way to control households and prepare food. In Holland and England competition grew between the respectable individuals as to who can prepare the absolute most extravagant banquet. By the 1660s, cookery had advanced to an art form sort and good cooks were in demand. Most of them printed their own books describing their recipes in competition with their rivals. A number of these books have now been translated and can be found online.

By the 19th century, the Victorian preoccupation for domestic respectability caused the emergence of cookery writing in their contemporary form. While eclipsed in celebrity and respect by Isabella Beeton, the first contemporary cookery author and compiler of recipes for the home was Eliza Acton. Her pioneering cook book, Modern Cookery for Individual Individuals printed in 1845, was directed at the domestic reader as opposed to the professional cook or chef. This is greatly powerful, establishing the format for modern writing about cookery. It introduced the now-universal practice of record the elements and recommended cooking occasions with each recipe. It involved the initial recipe for Brussels sprouts. Contemporary cooking Delia Smith named Acton “the very best writer of recipes in the British language.” Modern Cookery extended lasted Acton, outstanding in print till 1914 and accessible now in facsimile.

Acton’s work was a significant impact on Isabella Beeton, who published Mrs Beeton’s Book of House Management in 24 regular elements between 1857 and 1861. This was a guide to owning a Victorian home, with advice on fashion, child treatment, animal husbandry, poisons, the administration of servants, science, faith, and industrialism. Of the 1,112 pages, around 900 contained recipes. Many were illustrated with coloured engravings. It’s said that many of the recipes were plagiarised from earlier writers such as for instance Acton, but the Beetons never said that the book’s contents were original. It was supposed as a trusted manual for the aspirant center classes.

The American cook Fannie Farmer (1857–1915) printed in 1896 her famous function The Boston Preparing School Cook book which included some 1,849 recipes.