Isabella Beeton, 1836-1865

Biographical note

Isabella Mary Mayson, usually known as Mrs Beeton, was the author of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management and is the most famous cookery writer in British history.

On a visit to London she was introduced to Samuel Orchard Beeton, a publisher of books and popular magazines, and on July 10, 1856 they were married. She began to write articles on cooking and household management for her husband's publications and between 1859 and 1861 she wrote a monthly supplement to The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine. The supplements were subsequently published in October 1861 as a single volume entitled The Book of Household Management Comprising information for the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-Maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and Under House-Maids, Lady’s-Maid, Maid-of-all-Work, Laundry-Maid, Nurse and Nurse-Maid, Monthly Wet and Sick Nurses, etc. etc. – also Sanitary, Medical, & Legal Memoranda: with a History of the Origin, Properties, and Uses of all Things Connected with Home Life and Comfort.

The book (usually referred to as Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management) was essentially a guide to running a Victorian household. It contained advice on fashion, child-care, animal husbandry, poisons, the management of servants, science, religion, industrialism and a very large number of recipes (it is often called Mrs Beeton's Cookbook). Of the 1,112 pages over 900 contained recipes. Most of the recipes were illustrated with coloured engravings and it was the first book to show recipes in a format that is still used today.

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