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

With the development of the printing push in the 16th and 17th centuries, numerous books were published on how to handle families and prepare food. In Holland and Britain opposition became between the noble people concerning who could make probably the most lavish banquet. By the 1660s, cookery had evolved to an art form and excellent chefs were in demand. Most of them printed their particular publications explaining their recipes in competition using their rivals. Several publications have now been translated and are available online.

By the 19th century, the Victorian preoccupation for domestic respectability brought about the emergence of cookery writing in its modern form. Though eclipsed in reputation and regard by Isabella Beeton, the first contemporary cookery writer and compiler of recipes for the home 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 is immensely powerful, establishing the structure for contemporary authoring cookery. It presented the now-universal practice of record the ingredients and suggested cooking occasions with each recipe. It included the first menu for Brussels sprouts. Contemporary chef Delia Jones named Acton “the most effective author of recipes in the English language.” Contemporary Cookery extended lasted Acton, remaining in publications till 1914 and available now in facsimile.

Acton’s work was an essential effect on Isabella Beeton, who printed Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management in 24 monthly pieces between 1857 and 1861. This is helpful tips to running a Victorian home, with advice on fashion, kid care, animal husbandry, poisons, the administration of servants, science, faith, and industrialism. Of the 1,112 pages, over 900 covered recipes. Most were illustrated with shaded engravings. It is said that most of the recipes were plagiarised from earlier in the day writers such as for instance Acton, but the Beetons never stated that the book’s contents were original. It was supposed as a trusted information for the aspirant center classes.

The American cook Fannie Farmer (1857–1915) published in 1896 her popular function The Boston Cooking School Cookbook which contained some 1,849 recipes.