New American Cookery, or Female Companion

Published in 1805 by "An American Lady," this volume in the American Antiquarian Cookbook Collection has been called the second American cookbook, after American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, the entire text of which is included in this book. It is the first cookbook published in New York.

The first half of the text of New American Cookery, or Female Companion is a word-for-word reprint of the first American cookbook, Amelia Simmons’s American Cookery, although it eliminates her prefaces. This type of plagiarism was common practice in early cookbook publishing, and Simmons was a popular target. The book eliminates the confusing substitution of “f” for “s” that makes so many colonial-era documents such as American Cookery difficult to read. But even in the short decade since publication of Amelia Simmons’s work, local cooks were expanding their culinary practice and developing more sophistication in the kitchen.


The little volume is twice the size of Simmons’s book because it contains quite a few new recipes—for making cheese, many different kinds of wine, soups, hashes, fricassees, stews, and broiled meats and fish. The anonymous author’s new preface bemoans the abstruse style of European cookbooks, their complicated, sometimes contradictory directions, and the difficulty of procuring many of the ingredients that make them impossible to use in America. Thus, she notes that she has taken great care to render the recipes easy to understand and practical to make.


This edition of New American Cookery, or Female Companion 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.

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