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November 20 , 2008

The Virginia Housewife


This is considered by some to be the first truly American cookbook and by all to be the first regional American cookbook. This work is still in print and still forms the basis of traditional Virginia cooking. It has been praised by many culinary authorities both for its delineation of authentic Virginia foods and its careful attention to detail. Upon its first appearance in 1824 it was an immediate success and it was republished at least nineteen times before the outbreak of the Civil War. In addition, copies appeared in the late nineteenth century and modern Southern authors aften reference it. Karen Hess, wrote, "The most influential American cookbook of the 19th century was The Virginia Housewife ... There are those who regard it as the finest book ever to have come out of the American kitchen, and a case may be made for considering it to be the earliest full-blown American cookbook. [it] may be said to document the cookery of the early days of our republic."

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The Virginia Housewife

Charming guide, published in 1824, offers directions for making rabbit soup, beef steak pie, fried calf's feet, shoulder of mutton with celery sauce, leg of pork with pease pudding, pickled oysters, tansey pudding, plum cakes and other culinary treats. Also, household hints for cleaning silver, drying herbs, more.

– Search for "The Classic Cook's Historic Recipes" (in quotes) to find other classic collections of period recipes and cookery from across various periods. –

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