Sanderson, J. M., of the Franklin House

Titles by this author
The complete cook : plain and practical directions for cooking and housekeeping, with upwards of seven hundred receipts : consisting of directions ...

James Sanderson was the proprietor and chef of the Franklin House Hotel on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. A landmark of its day, its image was preserved by the American painter John Rubens Smith (1775 - 1849), who painted it in 1844. The Complete Cook was first published in Philadelphia in 1843. Later editions were published with The Complete Confectioner by Eleanor Parkinson, and sold together as one book (as in this 1864 edition). As the title page explains, Sanderson was responsible for additions and alterations, but not the original authorship, which was apparently English. Sanderson remarks in his Preface to the American Edition, "We are not the author . . . the author, whoever he is, is certainly a proficient in his business; and, although making no pretensions to a literary character, has laid down his rules and precepts in a clear and concise manner." Sanderson's contribution to the English cookbook can be seen throughout, in small additions that make the book a wonderful combination of American and English cooking. In recipe number 158, "Boiling," he states, "There is a method of boiling meat without allowing it to touch or come in contact with the water. This plan, which is little followed in America, has been strongly recommended." In recipe number 629, "Pumpkin and Squash Pie," he gives an American Pumpkin Pie recipe alongside an English one. He also gives a recipe for preparing terrapin, a domestic substitute for sea turtle, and credits a local Philadelphia caterer, Elizabeth Rubicam - notably the best terrapin cook in Philadelphia - for the recipe.


  • Sanderson, James M., The Complete Cook: Plain and Practical Directions for Cooking and Housekeeping, with Upwards of Seven Hundred Receipts: Consisting of Directions for the Choice of meat and Poultry . . . and with General Directions for Making Wines. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1864.
  • Weaver, William Woys, Thirty-Five Receipts from "The Larder Invaded." Philadelphia: The Winchell Company of Philadelphia, 1986.
  • website: [BROKEN LINK] consulted on June 10, 2003. (The Library of Congress American Treasures Permanent Exhibition website, where Smith's painting, "Sanderson's Franklin House" can be viewed on-line.)

Written by Anne-Marie Rachman