A new system of domestic cookery : formed upon principles of economy, and adapted to the use of private families
- In Collections
Feeding America: the Historic American Cookbook Project
- Copyright Status
- No Copyright
- Material Type
- xx, 284 pages
The introductory texts reproduced here were written by the original Feeding America team to contextualize the books that were selected for inclusion as part of the 2001 digitization project.
A New System of Domestic Cookery, Formed Upon Principles of Economy, and Adapted to the Use of Private Families.
By a Lady.
Philadelphia: Bejamin C. Buzby, 1807.
Of the British cookery authors prior to the 19th century, perhaps the most influential in colonial America were Eliza Smith, Susannah Carter, and most especially Hannah Glass. But by the time Americans began publishing their own cookbooks late in the 18th century, these English works were too old-fashioned and not really adapted to American conditions.
It was at this point that the works of Elizabeth Raffald and especially Mrs. Rundell began to be popular. The success of Mrs. Rundell's work is attested to by the at least 67 English and 15 American imprints between the first British of about 1806 and the last American in 1844 and last British in 1846. The English publisher John Murray issued the work, with varying titles, not always credited to Mrs. Rundell, and in various forms. It was a mainstay for the publishing firm for many years.
The American publishing history is as difficult to unravel as is the English. In America, it was issued under varying titles (A New System of Domestic Cookery, Formed upon Principles of Economy and adapted to the Use of Private Families; Domestic Cookery, and The Experienced American Housekeeper). Sometimes it was attributed to "A Lady"; sometimes to Mrs. Rundell (with varying spellings of her name) and sometimes, simply anonymous.
Whatever the edition, however, it is a fascinating and important cookbook. This is the first American imprint. It has almost no attempt at American adaptation, but it is well written and contains an enormous number of recipes. The book was written by Mrs. Rundell to teach her married daughters the art of household management and of cookery.
The amount of work involved in cooking some of the recipes is astounding. See for example, the recipe for Pig's Cheek for Boiling: "Cut off the snout and clean the head; divide it, take out the eyes and the brains, and sprinkling the head with salt, let it drain twenty four hours. Salt it with common salt and saltpetre. Let it lie eight or ten days, if to be dressed without stewing with peas; but less, if to be dressed with peas; and it must be washed first, and then simmered till all is tender."
On the other hand, some of the dessert recipes could be followed today, e.g., Black Caps: "Halve and coar some fine large apples: put them in a shallow pan: strew white sugar over, and bake them. Boil a glass of wine, the same of water, and sweeten it for the sauce."
One can find here hundreds of recipes, complicated and simple, from Alder wine, white, very to Yorkshire Pudding. Many classic English dishes appear: Almond Cheesecakes, Stewed Brisket of Beef, Bread Pudding, Bubble and Squeak, Biscuits, Plum Pudding, Kidney Pudding, Raspberry Vinegar, Rhubarb Tart, Tea Cakes, Marmalade, Pound Cake, Seed Cake, Gingerbread, Curry Chicken, Fricasee of Chicken, Meat Pies, Floating Island, Flummery, Hotchpot, Indian Pickle, Lemonade, Venison Pasty, and Syllabub.
These English recipes helped form America's culinary traditions and many are still part of our repertoire.