“UNIVERSALLY ACKNOWLEDGED TO BE THE BEST COOK BOOK EVER WRITTEN”: MRS. BEETON’S HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT, 1869, WITH COLOR PLATES
BEETON, Isabella. Book of Household Management. London: Ward, Lock, and Tyler, 1869. Very thick octavo, contemporary three-quarter brown calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, marbled boards, endpapers and edges.
“New Edition,” revised and enlarged, wonderfully illustrated with numerous chromolithographed plates.
First published in 1861, Beeton's Household Management was "an immediate bestseller and went into many editions well into the 20th century" (Craig 8). Its popularity "rested on its quality, especially the combination of clear structure and precise detail. Recipes, for example, were arranged alphabetically in sections, with ingredients, prices, weights, and cooking times all precisely stated, on the basis of tests carried out by the author in her own kitchen. The book's style moved easily between detailed instructions and neat aphorisms… For Isabella Beeton, a people's 'way of taking their meals, as well as their way of treating women' were marks of civilization. Dining well 'implies both the will and the skill to reduce to order, and surround with idealisms and grace, the more material conditions of human existence'. That will and skill she showed in large measure" (DNB). "As the compiler of what is universally acknowledged to be the best cookbook ever written, she will continue to be read as avidly into the 21st century as she has been in the 19th and 20th" (Quayle, 247). Small bookseller's ticket; gift inscription dated year of publication.
Scattered foxing to text and plates, light wear to original binding, gilt spine bright and lovely. A handsome copy.