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

With the arrival of the printing press in the 16th and 17th ages, numerous books were published on how to control households and prepare food. In Holland and England opposition became between the respectable individuals regarding who can prepare the most extravagant banquet. By the 1660s, cookery had evolved to a skill form and good cooks were in demand. Most of them published their own books detailing their recipes in competition making use of their rivals. Several books have now been translated and are available online.

By the 19th century, the Victorian preoccupation for domestic respectability caused the emergence of cookery publishing in its modern form. While eclipsed in reputation and respect by Isabella Beeton, the first modern cookery writer and compiler of recipes for the house was Eliza Acton. Her pioneering cook book, Modern Cookery for Private Families published in 1845, was targeted at the domestic reader as opposed to the professional cook or chef. This was immensely important, establishing the format for contemporary writing about cookery. It introduced the now-universal practice of record the ingredients and recommended preparing instances with each recipe. It included the first menu for Brussels sprouts. Modern cooking Delia Smith called Acton “the best author of recipes in the English language.” Modern Cookery long lasted Acton, outstanding in print till 1914 and accessible now in facsimile.

Acton’s work was a significant influence on Isabella Beeton, who printed Mrs Beeton’s Book of Home Management in 24 regular pieces between 1857 and 1861. This was helpful tips to owning a Victorian house, with advice on fashion, kid care, pet husbandry, poisons, the administration of servants, science, faith, and industrialism. Of the 1,112 pages, around 900 covered recipes. Many were created with coloured engravings. It is stated that many of the recipes were plagiarised from early in the day authors such as Acton, however the Beetons never claimed that the book’s contents were original. It had been supposed as a dependable guide for the aspirant center classes.

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