Friday 12 June 2015

My fave reads: Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management - 1902 New Edition

There is something so wonderful about old books. The musty scent of the paper, how their history is etched into their worn leather and I often wonder about the various hands that have turned their pages through time, many of which I suppose are long gone today. Kindles and ipad just don't carry that kind of history, that's for sure. So when a friend of mine recently gave me this new edition of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management from the year 1902, you can imagine how humbled I was. Here's a glimpse into the world of Mrs Beeton ...

Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management - New Edition 1902

She had inherited it from her mother-in-law and wanted to find it a good home. I've always wanted to have a good read of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, but I never thought I'd own one as fine as this. 

Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management - New Edition 1902

Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management - How to lay a table for 16

 Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management was a guide to all aspects of running a household in Victorian Britain. The author Isabella Beeton was just 21 when she began work on this book, and she became the most famous cookery writer in British history. Sadly died at the tender age of 28 from Puerperal fever, just a week after giving birth to her fourth child.

Isabella Beeton 1836 - 1865

The book was was first published in 1861 and although she died in 1865, the book continued, and it still remains in print today. This edition is HUGE and contains such a vast amount! You can see the size in the last picture. In the new edition it also includes recipes with vibrant colour pull-outs (most of which won't be gracing my kitchen surfaces anytime soon, lets be honest) ...

Aspic jelly recipe

While many of it's chapters might have little relevance today, it's a wonderful insight into victorian domestic life. The book contains a wealth of practical recipes for jams, sauces, soups, sweets, cakes, beverages, bread and so much more. But there are also diagrams for laying tables, making decorations, writing menus, housewife duties, servants duties, how to butcher animals, how to wash clothes, and even how to restore the 'apparently drowned!'


It's just a wonderful book, and you can still hear Mrs Beetons voice talking to you from the page. If you should ever come across one I highly recommend you indulge yourself.

JM x

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