Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt Book

Designed As a Supplement to Her Treatise on Domestic Economy

Published in New York in 1846, this volume in the American Antiquarian Cookbook Collection by Catharine Esther Beecher, one of the most prominent and respected authors of the 19th century, was the first of her many works that had a major impact on American life and society, and especially the role of women. This popular cookbook included detailed instructions designed to make life easier for housewives. It simultaneously raised the work of women in the house to a new art form.

Published in 1846 in New York, Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt Book was written by Catharine Esther Beecher, one of the most influential women writers and social activists of her time. This best-selling cookbook had over 25 printings, and it included detailed recipes that were created to make life easier and improved for the average housewife, simultaneously celebrating women’s work as an art form. The “original” recipes have all been tested by respected housewives and include directions for royal crumpets, sassafras jelly, rice griddle cakes, codfish relish, mutton hash, and mock turtle soup, as well as practical advice for setting the table, butchering a pig, handling the issue of alcohol in the home, and basting techniques. Throughout the book, Beecher emphasizes that a variety of healthy, nutritious foods should be provided for optimal family well-being. With the original receipts and useful and practical information provided in Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt Book, it is no surprise that Beecher became one of the most influential writers and social activists of her time. She continues to be studied and valued today.

 

This edition of Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt Book was reproduced by permission from the volume in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. Founded in 1812 by Isaiah Thomas, a Revolutionary War patriot and successful printer and publisher, the society is a research library documenting the lives of Americans from the colonial era through 1876. The society collects, preserves, and makes available as complete a record as possible of the printed materials from the early American experience. The cookbook collection comprises approximately 1,100 volumes.

About the Author

Catharine Esther Beecher was one of the most influential social reformers of her time, and she practically invented the science of home economics. Beecher did not support women's suffrage. She believed that a woman's domain was home and duty to family and that through this work, as opposed to active political involvement, women could influence society with feminine values. She actively promoted education specifically for women, as well as home economics for housewives. Beecher was a prolific writer and, among other works, wrote Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt-Book, and with her sister Harriet Beecher Stowe, The American Woman's Home.

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