The Frugal Housewife Or, Complete Woman Cook

Published in Boston in 1772, this volume in the American Antiquarian Cookbook Collection by an influential cookery author is entirely British in origin, but it was the first cookbook printed in America and the only one published from 1742 to 1796. 

The Frugal Housewife, or Complete Woman Cook was the only cookbook published in the United States during the 50-year period before publication of American Cookery by Amelia Simmons—the first truly American cookbook. Originally published in the United Kingdom, Susannah Carter’s work was hugely successful, and after achieving best-seller status in that market, it was published for an American audience. Again, it was well-received, this time by colonial housewives. The first American printing actually included plates engraved by Paul Revere. The Frugal Housewife contains a fascinating array of recipes including: Baked Indian Pudding, Eel Pie, Peach Sweetmeats, Maple Beer, Method of Destroying the Putrid Smell which Meat Acquires during Hot Weather, and Spruce Beer out of Shed Spruce. The cookbook and author Carter are credited with influencing author Amelia Simmons, who wrote the first American-specific cookbook, but the The Frugal Housewife, or Complete Woman Cook is historically significant in its own worth as well for its recipes, social information, and time period when it was published. Later US editions included some Americanization for New World ingredients and methods.


This edition of The Frugal Housewife, or Complete Woman Cook 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. 

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