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Mrs Beeton's Book Of Household Management

The Basics

The "Book of Household Management" that was published in 1861 under the name of Isabella Beeton was an instant bestseller. Although it offers a wealth of information on matters relating to domestic economy, with advice on first aid and the duties of the wet-nurse among its supremely practical resources, it is known in most people’s minds as the Bible of all English cookbooks.

mrs beeton silhouette
Mrs Beeton herself, who died at the age of 28, was not the roly-poly, rosy-cheeked cook of popular imagination, and her role in the compilation of the book was more editor than cookery writer. Nonetheless, these are recipes that form the basis of the national repertoire, from stocks that must be simmered for half a day to suet puddings that require steaming for almost as long.

Chefs still occupy a prominent place in our culture, although these days they ply their trade on TV. We may fool ourselves that we are more hands-on domestic cooks than we really are, but the desire to know the ropes still runs strong in us, as was made clear by the popularity of Delia Smith’s back-to-basics series, How To Cook.