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Mrs Beeton's Everyday Cookery and Housekeeping Book: A Practical and Useful Guide for All Mistresses and Servants

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'As with the commander of an army, or the leader of any enterprise, so it is with the mistress of a house.' A founding text of Victorian middle-class identity, Household Management is today one of the great unread classics. Over a thousand pages long, and written when its author was only 22, it offered highly authoritative advice on subjects as diverse as fashion, child-ca 'As with the commander of an army, or the leader of any enterprise, so it is with the mistress of a house.' A founding text of Victorian middle-class identity, Household Management is today one of the great unread classics. Over a thousand pages long, and written when its author was only 22, it offered highly authoritative advice on subjects as diverse as fashion, child-care, animal husbandry, poisons, and the management of servants. To the modern reader expecting stuffy moralizing and watery vegetables, Beeton's book is a revelation: it ranges widely across the foods of Europe and beyond, actively embracing new food stuffs and techniques, mixing domestic advice with discussions of science, religion, class, industrialism and gender roles. Alternately fashionable and frugal, anxious and blusteringly self-confident, Household Management highlights the concerns of the ever-expanding Victorian middle-class at a key moment in its history. The abridged edition does justice to its high status as a cookery book, while also suggesting ways of approaching this massive, hybrid text as a significant document of social and cultural history.


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'As with the commander of an army, or the leader of any enterprise, so it is with the mistress of a house.' A founding text of Victorian middle-class identity, Household Management is today one of the great unread classics. Over a thousand pages long, and written when its author was only 22, it offered highly authoritative advice on subjects as diverse as fashion, child-ca 'As with the commander of an army, or the leader of any enterprise, so it is with the mistress of a house.' A founding text of Victorian middle-class identity, Household Management is today one of the great unread classics. Over a thousand pages long, and written when its author was only 22, it offered highly authoritative advice on subjects as diverse as fashion, child-care, animal husbandry, poisons, and the management of servants. To the modern reader expecting stuffy moralizing and watery vegetables, Beeton's book is a revelation: it ranges widely across the foods of Europe and beyond, actively embracing new food stuffs and techniques, mixing domestic advice with discussions of science, religion, class, industrialism and gender roles. Alternately fashionable and frugal, anxious and blusteringly self-confident, Household Management highlights the concerns of the ever-expanding Victorian middle-class at a key moment in its history. The abridged edition does justice to its high status as a cookery book, while also suggesting ways of approaching this massive, hybrid text as a significant document of social and cultural history.

30 review for Mrs Beeton's Everyday Cookery and Housekeeping Book: A Practical and Useful Guide for All Mistresses and Servants

  1. 5 out of 5

    Whitaker

    THIS REVIEW IS SOLELY FOR CELEBRITY DEATH MATCH From his vantage point on a hill, Napoleon surveys the carnage going on between French and Russian troops below. Suddenly, to his astonishment, he sees a woman wandering around amid the fighting soldiers. She seems to be carrying a large kettle of soup. “Sacre bleu! Qu’est qu'elle fait là-bas?” [Good lord, what is she doing there?] “Lieutenant! Saisissez cette femme, et l’emmenez ici!” [Lieutenant! Seize that woman, and bring her here!] The trusty li THIS REVIEW IS SOLELY FOR CELEBRITY DEATH MATCH From his vantage point on a hill, Napoleon surveys the carnage going on between French and Russian troops below. Suddenly, to his astonishment, he sees a woman wandering around amid the fighting soldiers. She seems to be carrying a large kettle of soup. “Sacre bleu! Qu’est qu'elle fait là-bas?” [Good lord, what is she doing there?] “Lieutenant! Saisissez cette femme, et l’emmenez ici!” [Lieutenant! Seize that woman, and bring her here!] The trusty lieutenant trundles off to execute Napoleon’s order. Meanwhile, cannon balls land perilously close to the French emperor who seems unperturbed by the danger. In short order, the woman, dressed in black crinoline and still carrying a kettle, is dragged in a not too gentlemanly fashion by the lieutenant up the hill. “Vous! C’est quoi cette histoire la? Vous pensiez à vous mêler dans mes affaires ?” [You! What is this nonsense? Do you think to interfere in my affairs?] “Well, whoever you are, I most certainly don’t answer to frogs. I’ll have you take me back to London this minute, sir, or my name isn’t Mrs Beeton!” “Ah, ah, ah, C’est donc une espionne anglaise. Et qu’est qu’il y a dans la marmite ?” [Ah, ah, ah ! An English spy. And what is in the kettle?] Napoleon leans over to sample the soup. He tips the liquid into his mouth, swirls it around his palate, and spits it out. “Pah ! C’est de la merde, ça !” [Pah ! It’s shit, that !] Mrs Beeton reels back in shock. “You filthy beast! How rude! That, sir, is Kale Brose, made from half an ox-head or cow-heel, a teacupful of toasted oatmeal, salt to taste, 2 handfuls of greens, and 3 quarts of water. I will have you know that this is a Scotch broth and is recognised for excellence and wholesomeness as a very close second place to the bouillon, or common soup of France." She lifts the kettle and throws it at Napoleon, braining him on the head. Unfortunately, the shock causes his horse to rear up, and both it and its late rider come down hard on Mrs Beeton. She struggles out from under the beast, but just as she frees herself, a stray bullet from the Russian troops, destined originally for Napoleon, strikes her right between her eyes. As Mrs Beeton falls back dead, a muhzik* [Russian peasant] ambles by to scoop up the ox-head. “вкусный!” [Delicious!] he exclaims. In the distance, Pierre, examining the scene through his new-fangled telescope mutters to himself, “Ah, history! The march of history is indeed based more on coincidence and circumstance than the works of great men… and women.” He scribbles his comment in notebook, shaking his head sadly.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    For the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament, Mary Poppins (32) versus Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management (16) [Breakfast at the Banks's. MR BANKS eats his toast with an irritated expression] MR BANKS: Winifred? MRS BANKS: Yes dear? MR BANKS: Don't you sometimes think that Mary Poppins is a little too, how shall I put it, magical? MRS BANKS: Yes dear. MR BANKS: Then don't you think we should do something about it? MRS BANKS: Yes dear. MR BANKS: Well, what are we going to do then? MRS BANKS: Don For the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament, Mary Poppins (32) versus Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management (16) [Breakfast at the Banks's. MR BANKS eats his toast with an irritated expression] MR BANKS: Winifred? MRS BANKS: Yes dear? MR BANKS: Don't you sometimes think that Mary Poppins is a little too, how shall I put it, magical? MRS BANKS: Yes dear. MR BANKS: Then don't you think we should do something about it? MRS BANKS: Yes dear. MR BANKS: Well, what are we going to do then? MRS BANKS: Don't worry, dear, I've engaged a new nanny to help her. She's not magical at all. I'm sure you'll like her very much. MR BANKS [deflated]: Oh. Good. [JANE and MICHAEL rush in, followed by MARY POPPINS and MRS BEETON] MRS BANKS: And here she is. Children, you have a big day ahead of you. Michael, have you taken your cod-liver oil? MICHAEL [truculent scowl]: No. I don't like it. MARY POPPINS: Now, Michael, remember what I always say. A spoonful of sugar... [She has taken out a spoonful of white sugar. Michael eyes it disgustedly] MRS BEETON: Ah, Mary, I think Michael might prefer some unrefined cane sugar, with just the smallest hint of vanilla. We tried it last night and he said it was a vast improvement. Here we are... [She takes out a second spoonful. Michael swallows it avidly, followed by the cod-liver oil. MARY looks surprised] MRS BEETON: But we must hurry, mustn't we? There was that tea-party we were going to attend... [The scene rapidly flips to a tea party on UNCLE ALBERT's ceiling. MARY pours out the tea. JANE takes a sip and is visibly unimpressed] BERT: What's wrong, Jane? JANE: Where do I start? This is Earl Grey, and not my favourite brand either. The tea-pot hasn't been warmed. And the milk is off. [UNCLE ALBERT, BERT and MARY look helpless. MRS BEETON reaches into her handbag] MRS BEETON: As it happens, I do have a little Darjeeling here and a bottle of fresh milk. Please let me help. [She tips out the offending tea, expertly makes a fresh pot and pours out new cups for everyone. JANE gazes at her with shining eyes, while MARY tries hard to seem unconcerned. The children drink their tea contentedly] MARY POPPINS: I'm terribly sorry, we must go. You're visiting your father's bank. CHILDREN: Awwww, already? [The scene flips again to the street in front of Saint Paul's Cathedral. The BIRD WOMAN is selling bags of crumbs] BIRD WOMAN: Feed the birds! Tuppence a bag! MICHAEL: Can I buy one? [MRS BEETON bends down, picks up a stray crumb and examines it carefully] MRS BEETON: Well, this is simply monstrous! Cheap, stale, white bread, I'm sure it's giving those poor sparrows stomache-aches. And tuppence a bag must be at least a 1000% markup. MICHAEL: But I want to feed the birds! MRS BEETON: Fortunately, I came prepared. [She reaches into her bag again] The loaf I baked this morning, for a total cost of one ha'penny, was enough to make a bag for you [she gives one to MICHAEL], Jane, [one for JANE], your father [one for MR BANKS] and even one for this kind gentleman here [she hands one to THE OLDER MR DAWES, who has just joined them]. [Everyone feeds the birds, who can't get enough of the delicious bread] THE OLDER MR DAWES [to MICHAEL]: So what brings you here, young fellow? MICHAEL: I'd like to invest my tuppence in your bank, sir. THE OLDER MR DAWES: Would you indeed! MICHAEL: Yes, I would! Then I'll be part of... railways through Africa! Dams across the Nile! JANE [whispers to MICHAEL]: The ships! Tell him about the ships! MICHAEL: Fleets of ocean greyhounds! Plantations of ripening tea! JANE: Darjeeling, of course. MICHAEL: All for tuppence, prudently, carefully, invested in the... THE OLDER MR DAWES: You seem to have a good head on your shoulders, young fellow. It must come from your father. MICHAEL: No, from Mrs... [JANE kicks him], I mean, yes sir. Father's taught us all about finance. It's very interesting. THE OLDER MR DAWES: Has he now? That reminds me, Banks, there's a place coming up on the Board. Perhaps we should talk about it. MR BANKS: I'd be honoured, sir. THE OLDER MR DAWES: Well, don't just stand there! Do come in [he ushers them into the bank], Banks, your two charming children, this delightful lady here [he gives a courtly bow to MRS BEETON], and, ah, wasn't there another member of the party? [He looks around, surprised, but MARY POPPINS has unaccountably disappeared]

  3. 5 out of 5

    Maryana Pinchuk

    This book has everything you need to know in order to make it as a Victorian head-of-household! * Instructive Eurocentric narratives of progress/throwing shade at "the Orientals" (because they invented everything before Europeans did, but of course they did it all wrong) * A helpful tabular account of the average yearly wages for your domestics (spoiler: the highest paid woman servant still got paid less than all the manservants except the pageboy and the stableboy!) * "General observations on the This book has everything you need to know in order to make it as a Victorian head-of-household! * Instructive Eurocentric narratives of progress/throwing shade at "the Orientals" (because they invented everything before Europeans did, but of course they did it all wrong) * A helpful tabular account of the average yearly wages for your domestics (spoiler: the highest paid woman servant still got paid less than all the manservants except the pageboy and the stableboy!) * "General observations on the history of quadrupeds" * Forcemeat recipes * "Invalid cooking" But fear not, ladies who are reading this and feeling faint at all the knowledge and responsibility held herein, for "such are the onerous duties which enter into the position of the mistress of a house, and such are, happily, with a slight but continued attention, of by no means difficult performance."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kavita

    Just out of curiosity, I picked up Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, a handbook for women to deal with daily life in and outside the home. Mrs. Beeton was a star in the 1860s and this book was insanely popular for decades since the writing. It held true for several decades but now it seems severely outdated. Nevertheless, there are some interesting recipes. There are some interesting insights into the times and Beeton appears to be slightly more progressive than you would expect. Except Just out of curiosity, I picked up Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, a handbook for women to deal with daily life in and outside the home. Mrs. Beeton was a star in the 1860s and this book was insanely popular for decades since the writing. It held true for several decades but now it seems severely outdated. Nevertheless, there are some interesting recipes. There are some interesting insights into the times and Beeton appears to be slightly more progressive than you would expect. Except when she is being racist and talking through her hat. It is not a dinner at which sits the aboriginal Australian, who gnaws his bone half bare and then flings it behind to his squaw. And the native of Terra-del-Fuego does not dine when he gets his morsel of red clay. Dining is the privilege of civilization. The rank which a people occupy in the grand scale may be measured by their way of taking their meals, as well as by their way of treating their women. Wow! What a fount of wisdom! But I am being unfair. This was a one-off and she mostly concentrates on actual useful stuff. You get a real feeling of the way people valued their possessions more in those days. Advice such as mending bedsheets and cleaning combs would simply be laughed off today. But it's really not a bad advice considering things were expensive and keeping things mended and reusing them led to much less wastage. The recipes were interesting, especially with respect to how and what people ate. It was amusing to see how the roles of servants were described in relation to dinners. I didn't find much that was vegetarian, so I basically skimmed over these parts. Other than food, Beeton also gives advice on how to handle illnesses, rearing children, duties of servants, keeping finances, and legal options open to women. There is a lot of genuinely useful information, but there are times when I wonder if Beeton had been smoking something illegal. This was especially true in the medical section of her book. With regards to whooping cough, she claims: THIS is purely a spasmodic disease, and is only infectious through the faculty of imitation, a habit that all children are remarkably apt to fall into; and even where adults have contracted hooping-cough, it has been from the same cause, and is as readily accounted for, on the principle of imitation, as that the gaping of one person will excite or predispose a whole party to follow the same spasmodic example. If any one associates for a few days with a person who stammers badly, he will find, when released from his company, that the sequence of his articulation and the fluency of his speech are, for a time, gone; and it will be a matter of constant vigilance, and some difficulty, to overcome the evil of so short an association. The manner in which a number of school-girls will, one after another, fall into a fit on beholding one of their number attacked with epilepsy, must be familiar to many. These several facts lead us to a juster notion of how to treat this spasmodic disease. Every effort should, therefore, be directed, mentally and physically, to break the chain of nervous action, on which the continuance of the cough depends. This amounts to quackery and very dangerous. I hope people did not take this stupid advice! She also advocates bleeding and makes some extremely funny observations on how to do it. I should hope women just consulted the doctor instead of following Beeton's foolhardy advice. The book, as a whole, depicted life in the 1860s pretty completely. If one manages to read through the entire thing, everything from making fires to financial investments were pretty thoroughly clear. It's really a valuable book from that aspect. But hopelessly outdated, sadly.

  5. 5 out of 5

    notgettingenough

    A Celebrity Deathmatch review. Mrs B vs War and Peace. Me: They’ve announced the draw for the fight tonight.You’ve got Leo. Mrs B: Tolstoy? That – that – that – Me: Vegetarian? Mrs B: Exactly. That vapid wimpy, let’s not be killing animals, I eat to live Russian borscht swiller. Well, pluck me dead and – And, yes, saute some shallots gently in butter, add some white wine and – Mrs B hastily collects herself. Ha. You know he hates the sight of blood. He won’t even turn up at the ring. Who do I get ne A Celebrity Deathmatch review. Mrs B vs War and Peace. Me: They’ve announced the draw for the fight tonight.You’ve got Leo. Mrs B: Tolstoy? That – that – that – Me: Vegetarian? Mrs B: Exactly. That vapid wimpy, let’s not be killing animals, I eat to live Russian borscht swiller. Well, pluck me dead and – And, yes, saute some shallots gently in butter, add some white wine and – Mrs B hastily collects herself. Ha. You know he hates the sight of blood. He won’t even turn up at the ring. Who do I get next?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    [image error] In The Awakening we are prompted to sympathize with Edna Pontellier, who feels unfulfilled, a piece of property her husband owns. At one point in the book, Edna steps over a servant, a “quadroon,” and I thought, “What about her life?” In more books than you would suppose, the servants, the lower classes, are presented so fleetingly, they become invisible. One of fascinating aspects of The Remains of the Day--both the book and film-- was how fully the lives of the servants were depict [image error] In The Awakening we are prompted to sympathize with Edna Pontellier, who feels unfulfilled, a piece of property her husband owns. At one point in the book, Edna steps over a servant, a “quadroon,” and I thought, “What about her life?” In more books than you would suppose, the servants, the lower classes, are presented so fleetingly, they become invisible. One of fascinating aspects of The Remains of the Day--both the book and film-- was how fully the lives of the servants were depicted. Underneath the whole hierarchy of power and etiquette above, the servants create their own hegemony and lives—lives that are rich with desires and disappointments. This has little to do with the book at hand, Mrs. Isabella Mary Beeton’s The Book of Household Management, except that, like Remains of the Day it explores codes of conduct, albeit in a very practical manner. Here, though, Beeton focuses on the upper class and lays out—in very prescriptive terms—just how a young woman should manage her household (circa Victorian England). The book is fascinating. The other day, when I was reviewing Frances Burney’s Evelina, I described how Evelina embarrasses herself at a ball, by declining the first gentleman who asks her to dance and then accepting a second dance invitation, from a different man. We can tell—from the dialogue—she’s broken some rule, but it’s not really explained. Beeton provides the background: In private parties, a lady is not to refuse the invitation of a gentleman to dance, unless she be previously engaged. The hostess must be supposed to have asked to her house only those persons whom she knows to be perfectly respectable and of unblemished character, as well as pretty equal in position; and thus, to decline the offer of any gentleman present, would be a tacit reflection on the master and mistress of the house. The section on the duties of the mistress of the house are engrossing and provide a wealth of background to the rules of etiquette often unexplained in much of British 18th & 19th century fiction. I learned that, as a blonde, I should wear pastels, as darker colors would overwhelm a fair complexion. Then, I should rise early, before the servants, to set an example and get the household affairs underway. Following breakfast, and after making sure the children are groomed and the household is in order, I may—without guilt—indulge in some harmless pleasures such as light literature, music and other “elegant arts.” By then, four hours will have elapsed, and it will be time for the luncheon, which should be a light meal, though its “solidity” depends on the amount of exercise I take and how late dinner will be served. Following luncheon, I make my morning calls. This part baffled me. First, why are calls in the afternoon called “morning calls,” and if all the ladies are making these calls, who in the hell is home to receive their guests? Ah well, having made my morning calls, the “next great event of the day” is “The Dinner.” And tonight, I will be having guests, having sent out invitations—correctly worded—three weeks ago. I’ve given much thought to the seating arrangements as “to form a due admixture of talkers and listeners.” The half hour before dinner is a moment of great stress. The way in which I conduct myself through this ordeal will mean I either pass with “flying colours, or, lose many of [my:] laurels.” During this time, I’m in agony—worrying about my guests arriving on time and whether the domestics and, most of all, the cook have done their best. However, I show no agitation, but engage in “light and cheerful topics of conversation” so that my guests are at ease. …You get the point, and though this opening section provides directions for nearly any duty or occasion a the mistress of the house might encounter, it’s really only a small portion of the book. Beeton’s book—over 1,000 pages long—is insanely comprehensive. Following the detailed description of the Mistress’s duties, chapters on each servant are provided, followed by a few hundred pages on cooking. Beeton not only provides recipes but gives us lengthy histories of, perhaps, “the fish” as well as comments on its appearance, and all the ways we might prepare it. The book ends with pronouncements on the care and feeding of children and a section on the legal ramifications of husbands, wives, and their households. For those interested in literature of this time period it is a treasure-trove, and Beeton’s tone throughout is engaged and practical. Post script: I just read that Beeton started writing this book when she was 21 and then died, after completing it, when she was 28.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    REVIEW FOR Celebrity Death Match Review Elimination Tournament ONLY Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management (16) versus War and Peace (17) Setting - Mud Wrestling Ring on a pontoon in the middle of a lake. Mrs B faces the forces of both leaders of Le Grande Armee and Hussars and spoons them generous portions of... (From page 133) - "USEFUL SOUP FOR BENEVOLENT PURPOSES: Ingredients - an ox-cheek; any pieces of trimmings of beef, which may be bought very cheaply (say 4 lbs); a few bones; any pot- REVIEW FOR Celebrity Death Match Review Elimination Tournament ONLY Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management (16) versus War and Peace (17) Setting - Mud Wrestling Ring on a pontoon in the middle of a lake. Mrs B faces the forces of both leaders of Le Grande Armee and Hussars and spoons them generous portions of... (From page 133) - "USEFUL SOUP FOR BENEVOLENT PURPOSES: Ingredients - an ox-cheek; any pieces of trimmings of beef, which may be bought very cheaply (say 4 lbs); a few bones; any pot-liquor the larder may furnish, 1/4 peck of onions; 6 leeks; a large bunch of herbs; 1/2 lb celery, carrots, turnips, coarse brown sugar; 1/2 pt beer; 4 lbs rice or barley; salt, pepper and 10 gallons of water" With the added ingredient of monks hood. She is adept at adapting to situation. Mrs B wins [clean] hands down!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    For the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament, Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management (16) versus War and Peace (17) - Count Tolstoy, to what do I owe the pleasure of this unexpected visit? - Mrs Beeton, admit defeat. Your goose is cooked. - What, already? Let me check the thermometer... no, still well under 180 degrees, so I'm relieved to see you are mistaken. But that reminds me, I must put on the potatoes and beans. I apologise, I'd love to chat, but this is a rather busy moment. Could you For the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament, Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management (16) versus War and Peace (17) - Count Tolstoy, to what do I owe the pleasure of this unexpected visit? - Mrs Beeton, admit defeat. Your goose is cooked. - What, already? Let me check the thermometer... no, still well under 180 degrees, so I'm relieved to see you are mistaken. But that reminds me, I must put on the potatoes and beans. I apologise, I'd love to chat, but this is a rather busy moment. Could you pass me the salt? No, not that box, the sea salt, it's down at the bottom near the back. Oh, I'm sorry you banged your head. I must find a better place to put it. - Yes, of course, sit down by all means. How dreadful, you suddenly look quite faint. Perhaps it's a little too hot in here, but, as they say, if you can't stand the heat... MATCH POINT MRS BEETON

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vicki

    Wow, Where have I been? I totally knew nothing about Mrs. Beeton. Now that I have read this I am so impressed with the capabilities of the Regency and Victorian woman. Those that from everything I have read in novels were stay in bed late and ring a bell for tea, were actually hotel managers and supervisors in their own right. The processes that hiring a well-staffed house was amazing to read about. The details on the pay of the servants, the running of a house, and managing a full estate in acc Wow, Where have I been? I totally knew nothing about Mrs. Beeton. Now that I have read this I am so impressed with the capabilities of the Regency and Victorian woman. Those that from everything I have read in novels were stay in bed late and ring a bell for tea, were actually hotel managers and supervisors in their own right. The processes that hiring a well-staffed house was amazing to read about. The details on the pay of the servants, the running of a house, and managing a full estate in acceptable and correct fashion was amazing. Recipes were handed down and passed along on some of the old foods we hear about in those books of old. I was just taken completely with this book. This book is a keeper!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bec

    My grandmother brought all of her grandchildren (who all happen to be girls) a copy of this book, so that we would have no excuse for an untidy house or going hungry. All it made me do was research getting servants.

  11. 4 out of 5

    notgettingenough

    Celebrity Death Match review vs M. Poppins. ‘You have to admit you’re a bit light weight aren’t you? It’s going to take more than a spoonful of sugar to win this competition, you understand. I mean look at what Heart of Darkness is doing to Pooh and 1984 to Alice. You kiddy characters who think life’s all about honey and sweet things…we’re going to have to cook up something pretty good to take on the heavyweights here. It’s a pity, of course, that we aren’t meeting in the final.’ Isabella and Mary w Celebrity Death Match review vs M. Poppins. ‘You have to admit you’re a bit light weight aren’t you? It’s going to take more than a spoonful of sugar to win this competition, you understand. I mean look at what Heart of Darkness is doing to Pooh and 1984 to Alice. You kiddy characters who think life’s all about honey and sweet things…we’re going to have to cook up something pretty good to take on the heavyweights here. It’s a pity, of course, that we aren’t meeting in the final.’ Isabella and Mary were having tea and scones while discussing this rather miserable turn of events. ‘But we have to deal with how things are. We have to deal with reality. That’s what counts now. We aren’t in a pretend story where umbrellas can do magical things. Look at you, for heaven’s sake. You are just a character. I’m a real person. Even your movie didn’t get made again and, well, it was so old-fashioned. Flat as a tack. My books are three-dimensional. You LIVE my books….they have taste and smell. Face the facts, Mary. There is a natural order of things. You can’t beat a governess – you are just a nanny. But I can. I’m the one who wrote the book, after all.’ ‘Yes, I see what you mean,’ Mary agrees. ‘So, you know what you have to do now?’ ‘Yes,’ says Mary, ‘I think I do.’ She wipes her rather buttery fingers and opens up her umbrella. ‘Pop out? And not pop back in?’ ‘You’re a team player, Mary. When I win, I will be winning for all of us.’ Mary only faintly catches this, she is drifting far, far away.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Zombaby Cera

    It's completely astounding how much involvement went into running a victorian household of good standing. Thank goodness for modern conveniences and lower standards! *lolz*

  13. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn Wood

    Isabella Mary Beeton had a short and in some ways tragic life dieing a month short of her 29th birthday from syphilis contracted from her philandering husband. Isabella was well educated, a linguist and musician. She was also unconventional and strong minded perhaps the result of her upbringing. Her father died when she was four leaving her mother with four children of whom she was the eldest. Her mother remarried, Henry Dorling, a widower who also had four children and they then had 13 more. Isa Isabella Mary Beeton had a short and in some ways tragic life dieing a month short of her 29th birthday from syphilis contracted from her philandering husband. Isabella was well educated, a linguist and musician. She was also unconventional and strong minded perhaps the result of her upbringing. Her father died when she was four leaving her mother with four children of whom she was the eldest. Her mother remarried, Henry Dorling, a widower who also had four children and they then had 13 more. Isabella was the eldest of the 21 siblings (step, full and half) and between being educated in Germany and time with relatives played her part in keeping order. Apparently her mother once asked her husband what the noise was. “That” he replied, “is your children and my children fighting our children”. Even by Victorian standards the family was huge and to cope Henry rented the grandstand at Epsom racecourse, it was built to accommodate 5,000 spectators and provided a spacious home. Isabella worked, as a piano teacher, translator and for a baker where she made pastries. She was a young woman determined to succeed living at a time when that was unusual. Aged 20 she married Samuel Orchart Beeton a publican and publisher. Sam had brilliant idea but was a poor businessman. One of his ideas was a monthly magazine “The English Women's Domestic Magazine” for which Isabella wrote articles on cooking and household management. These articles led to "Beeton's Book of Household Management." Published in parts between 1859 and 1861 and in that year when she was 25 as a single volume. It has become fashionable in some quarters to suggest that Isabella was a society airhead who’d never boiled an egg and I hope that I’ve given enough biographical detail to disprove both contentions. She was a brilliant journalist and knew how to network. Her book contains hints and tips based on her own experience as the eldest of 21 and mother of 4 (sadly 2 died). She never claimed to have created all the recipes and in the preface to her first book thanks all who shared their “Formulas”. This is surely enough to disprove the other criticism that she was a plagiarist. The book is a fascinating time capsule of a bygone age, its mores and thoughts. I find the cookery section invaluable. Many of the recipes have stood the test of time – potted shrimps for example. Others work but one needs to adjust for two things – 1) modern ovens are different and 2) some of the grand recipes were probably forced out of chefs by their society employers and there are a few “Deliberate” mistakes especially on cooking times. A proficient cook will know when there’s a spoiler and adjust accordingly. When in doubt I reach for Mrs Beeton. When I lack inspiration I turn to Isabella. When I just want a lighthearted read that may stimulate new culinary delights, but can be guaranteed to amuse and inform for hours on end Mrs. Beeton’s book of Household Management always pleases. I could not be without it and cannot recommend it highly enough. It's a joy that keeps giving, a joy without end!

  14. 4 out of 5

    John Lewis

    A remarkable classic and fantastic insight into Victorian life through the auspices of the kitchen - Isabella Beeton, often mistaken for a much older woman, was merely 22 when she compiled her seminal tome of good recipes, seasonal produce and practical advice for the everyday running of the home and the caring of the ill and infirm. Despite it's age; Household Management is still a go to book today for remedial action, and although the methods and even ingredients are by today's standards somew A remarkable classic and fantastic insight into Victorian life through the auspices of the kitchen - Isabella Beeton, often mistaken for a much older woman, was merely 22 when she compiled her seminal tome of good recipes, seasonal produce and practical advice for the everyday running of the home and the caring of the ill and infirm. Despite it's age; Household Management is still a go to book today for remedial action, and although the methods and even ingredients are by today's standards somewhat dated, many can still find a use for the work on a practical sense. The true beauty of the work however lies in it's sociological aspects; the book delves keenly into the running of a middle class Victorian household but is not solely for the well-off, indeed the book contains information on money saving and economy cookery as well. The work is both traditional ('First catch your hare') and modern all at the same time; the book was written in response to rapidly changing social mechanics, a new breed of people was becoming mainstream, neither obscenely rich nor destitute. The book offers us to look back at a time that was evolving and perhaps glimpse a semblance of the world around us today in the print we hold before us.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    I thoroughly enjoyed this tome (no other description will do). This book is eminently approachable, one can either read it sequentially, or mine for data at will. At times the book leaves a faint taste of admonition, but nevertheless, I would heartily recommend this book to cookbook collectors and lovers of history, alike. The window through which readers gaze upon this slice of life is captivating and sure to please the "Upstairs, Downstairs" crowd, et al.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Whew! This was a long book. Although much of the information contained in it is archaic and sometimes outright dangerous, it does lend an interesting look into 19th century English home making and home-doctoring. The portion that provides guidance on domestic help, dress for the household, and organization was fascinating. The recipes were sometimes gross, as in to make applesauce, the cook needs to use brown gravy as a base. Finally, the section in home doctoring was sometimes laughable (Tootha Whew! This was a long book. Although much of the information contained in it is archaic and sometimes outright dangerous, it does lend an interesting look into 19th century English home making and home-doctoring. The portion that provides guidance on domestic help, dress for the household, and organization was fascinating. The recipes were sometimes gross, as in to make applesauce, the cook needs to use brown gravy as a base. Finally, the section in home doctoring was sometimes laughable (Toothache? Smoke a pipe with caraway seeds.) Though this is a huge book, it was an education into “a simpler time.”

  17. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Ferguson

    In audio, it is just over 52 hours long, and shows the strength of Librivox, in that it can create non-commercialisable works like these. I gave it up, having listened to about half, because it is extremely long. I enjoyed the social history elements of it, and skipped most of the the recipes to listen to them, but the pure commitment is too much for me right now. I have Alton Brown’s cookbooks to get through, and am thinking of recording one of Soyer’s and they are more amusing. Beeton did not In audio, it is just over 52 hours long, and shows the strength of Librivox, in that it can create non-commercialisable works like these. I gave it up, having listened to about half, because it is extremely long. I enjoyed the social history elements of it, and skipped most of the the recipes to listen to them, but the pure commitment is too much for me right now. I have Alton Brown’s cookbooks to get through, and am thinking of recording one of Soyer’s and they are more amusing. Beeton did not cook much, and compiled her recipes untested. For example I really doubt one should cook macaroni for 30 minutes before cutting it into rings and then cooking it again for 15 minutes. its stronger recipes, indeed most of its recipes, are stolen wholesale from other books I’ve read. I’m a vegetarian, and even the vegetable soups in the book have a roasted meat stock base. That’s not an objection to the quality of the book: just a note that I’m outside its core audience. Beeton feels that strong spices are only used when ingredients are poor. I disagree: strong spices are used when recipes have little fat in them, because the flavour needs to be more concentrated to carry. Her food is deliberately blander than it needs to be, or has more cream in it than is technically sane.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Loads of culinary history in here; Mrs B had done her homework and then some. More soups than you can shake a stick at but loads of vegetable history in there; she gives the back story on each and every vegetable. Really, it is an interesting super-quick read and one to keep referring to for the recipes, to contrast with today's versions. Loads of culinary history in here; Mrs B had done her homework and then some. More soups than you can shake a stick at but loads of vegetable history in there; she gives the back story on each and every vegetable. Really, it is an interesting super-quick read and one to keep referring to for the recipes, to contrast with today's versions.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    As a woman and a medical professional, this book made me laugh sometimes in some of the practices and recommendations given by Mrs Beeton. Keeping windows closed at night, and also not allowing adults to sleep in the same room as babies, because babies suck all the oxygen, was astonishing. I was horrified as some of recipes and foods eaten, and also amazed and envious at others. As a top seller during it's day, I can see a lot of households trying to live as Mrs Beeton recommended, as people do toda As a woman and a medical professional, this book made me laugh sometimes in some of the practices and recommendations given by Mrs Beeton. Keeping windows closed at night, and also not allowing adults to sleep in the same room as babies, because babies suck all the oxygen, was astonishing. I was horrified as some of recipes and foods eaten, and also amazed and envious at others. As a top seller during it's day, I can see a lot of households trying to live as Mrs Beeton recommended, as people do today, by others.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Scott J.

    An interesting way of approaching an epoch -- through advice meant to be purely practical. A modern day (sort of) version of Virgil's Georgics? We read: pastoral splendor. He meant: particulars of animal husbandry. Beeton's text is sort of the same thing. She meant: how to manage your footmen & butlers, prepare meals for invalids, host a 9-course dinner for 80 guests, etc. We read: hilarious Victorian novelty from cover to cover. An interesting way of approaching an epoch -- through advice meant to be purely practical. A modern day (sort of) version of Virgil's Georgics? We read: pastoral splendor. He meant: particulars of animal husbandry. Beeton's text is sort of the same thing. She meant: how to manage your footmen & butlers, prepare meals for invalids, host a 9-course dinner for 80 guests, etc. We read: hilarious Victorian novelty from cover to cover.

  21. 5 out of 5

    John Howson

    I am not exactly sure what I came across that inclined me to purchase a copy of Mrs Beeton, but I think it was a piece that said she was often mischaracterised in the past. It is certainly not my type of book, I sort of remember copies of Mrs Beeton knocking around during my childhood. Having looked up her life history I was fascinated and purchased the book. She was one of 21 children, and one of a number of children that ran wild at Epsom race course, given free roam of the rooms to live in du I am not exactly sure what I came across that inclined me to purchase a copy of Mrs Beeton, but I think it was a piece that said she was often mischaracterised in the past. It is certainly not my type of book, I sort of remember copies of Mrs Beeton knocking around during my childhood. Having looked up her life history I was fascinated and purchased the book. She was one of 21 children, and one of a number of children that ran wild at Epsom race course, given free roam of the rooms to live in during off season when there was not enough room at home. She finished her education in Germany, so she was by no means an ordinary Victorian lady. What is more Mrs Beeton was an editor in London working with her husband and regularly commuted to work. She died at 28 from puerperal fever, probably caused by the lack of hygiene of either the midwife or doctor (they clearly had not read Mrs Beeton). I have been tackling Household Management like it was a novel just reading from the beginning. Mrs Beeton's own voice is clear throughout it despite the fact that the book is a compilation of different material taken from elsewhere. Her interest in Natural History and wonder at the natural world comes through clear, her love of animals (despite her determined carnivorous habits) and strong belief that they should be treated properly. Her belief that other people should be treated with respect and dignity and the belief of leading from the front by example. In food she strongly believes in an educated approach - i.e. understanding something about what you are eating and its origins and traditional uses. There is a sort of spirituality and non-judgementalism about Mrs Beeton too, she spends several pages musing at how wonderfully a fish is adapted to its environment. She sees helping those less well off as obligatory and not just something one should do. She embraces the recipes of other parts of the world and other traditions. She is clearly open minded and liberal in her approach to life. What a shame the world lost such a talent at such a young age, millions of copies of her book were sold with very little benefit to the Beeton family as her husband sold the rights after her death. I am invigorated by the thought that a very modern type of thinking can be found in one of the pillars of Victoriana.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jasmin

    Read this while desperately sick with a cold. Almost tempted to use the "cold cure" listed at the back. However, if I can find people to eat it with me I will be making the Fig Pudding for Christmas. I got it for researching the era and have spent a lot of time looking at words and usages that are unfamiliar to us now, which is deeply interesting. I also appreciated the information on the payment of servants and the various bits and bobs about the downstairs staff as well. At times the Victorian Read this while desperately sick with a cold. Almost tempted to use the "cold cure" listed at the back. However, if I can find people to eat it with me I will be making the Fig Pudding for Christmas. I got it for researching the era and have spent a lot of time looking at words and usages that are unfamiliar to us now, which is deeply interesting. I also appreciated the information on the payment of servants and the various bits and bobs about the downstairs staff as well. At times the Victorian need to bring up God every other word gets annoying, also the areas that talk in ways that are straight up racist are hard to read but a good reminder of the times.

  23. 5 out of 5

    LelaineMarie

    The ultimate Victorian reference book (1,100+ pages) for the housewife or "Housekeeper." Homemade shampoo, the recipe for Spotted Baby, or how to get those pesky diapers clean. Its all here. Makes us thankful to be here and now.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Janine

    Pretty Cool! I got this out of the library because I read Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley, and she referenced this book! Wow - I'm going to look to buy this just to have in my bookcase at home!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Mitchell

    I think it is a good insight of Victorian era life. Isabella Beeton was the household guru during her time and her book informs new Victorian housewives how to manage their own home. Some recipes look good but others I won't touch with a ten foot pole.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Annette McIntyre

    Mrs Beeton gathered recipes and how to do things from reader suggestions to her husband's newspaper and this book was published from those suggestions. A fascinating look into how to run a household at different levels of society and a plethora of wonderful recipes.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alvaro

    A recipe book This is basically a recipe book with some other tips most of them oudated. It easy to read and a selection of the most interesting pages is a recommendation.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Espresso

    This book was enjoyable, though in many ways outdated and irrelevant to today's American society. It was an interesting trip into history. it also has many recipes for my family to try.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Originally written during the Victorian era, this book details everything it took to run a household back then. Perfect for history buffs.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    All a person needs to know

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