Contemporary recipes and preparing advice
from Modern Cookery for Private Individuals by Eliza Acton (London: Longmans, Natural, Reader, and Dyer, 1871. p.48.)

With the arrival of the making press in the 16th and 17th generations, numerous books were written on the best way to handle families and make food. In Holland and England competition became between the respectable families concerning who can prepare the most lavish banquet. By the 1660s, cookery had evolved to an art sort and good cooks were in demand. Many of them printed their own books explaining their recipes in opposition with their rivals. Several books have been translated and are available online.

By the 19th century, the Victorian preoccupation for domestic respectability brought about the emergence of cookery writing in their modern form. While eclipsed in popularity and respect by Isabella Beeton, the initial contemporary cookery writer and compiler of recipes for the home was Eliza Acton. Her pioneering cookbook, Modern Cookery for Personal People published in 1845, was directed at the domestic audience as opposed to the qualified cook or chef. This is hugely important, establishing the structure for contemporary authoring cookery. It presented the now-universal practice of listing the materials and recommended cooking occasions with each recipe. It involved the first formula for Brussels sprouts. Modern cook Delia Jones named Acton “the most effective writer of recipes in the English language.” Contemporary Cookery extended survived Acton, outstanding on the net till 1914 and available more recently in facsimile.

Acton’s work was a significant impact on Isabella Beeton, who published Mrs Beeton’s Book of Family Administration in 24 monthly components between 1857 and 1861. This was a guide to owning a Victorian house, with suggestions about fashion, kid care, pet husbandry, poisons, the management of servants, research, religion, and industrialism. Of the 1,112 pages, over 900 covered recipes. Most were explained with coloured engravings. It’s said that many of the recipes were plagiarised from early in the day writers such as for example Acton, however the Beetons never stated that the book’s articles were original. It had been supposed as a trusted manual for the aspirant middle classes.

The National cook Fannie Farmer (1857–1915) printed in 1896 her famous function The Boston Cooking College Cookbook which covered some 1,849 recipes.