The Compleat Housewife
Or, Accomplish'd Gentlewoman's Companion
By Eliza Smith
Originally published in London in 1727, The Compleat Housewife was the first cookbook printed in the United States. William Parks, a Virginia printer, printed and sold the cookbook believing there would be a strong market for it among Virginia housewives who wanted to keep up with the latest London fashions—the book was a best-seller there. Parks did make some attempt to Americanize it, deleting certain recipes “the ingredients or material for which are not to be had in this country,” but for the most part, the book was not adjusted to American kitchens. Even so, it became the first cookery best seller in the New World, and Parks’s major book publication.
This edition of The Compleat Housewife 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 life 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 includes approximately 1,100 volumes.
About the Author
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