The Virginia Housewife: Or Methodical Cook [NOOK Book]

Overview

America's first regional cookbook preserves the best of nineteenth century cookery.

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The Virginia Housewife: Or Methodical Cook

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Overview

America's first regional cookbook preserves the best of nineteenth century cookery.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Introduction The Virginia Housewife: or, Methodical Cook By Mary Randolph Baltimore: Plaskitt, Fite, 1838 (1838) 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. The recipes in The Virginia House-Wife are simply splendid. It contains a number of Southern specialties, some appearing in print for the first time: Ochra Soup, Catfish Soup, Barbecued Shote ("This is the name given in the southern states to a fat young hog"), Curry of Catfish, Ochra and Tomatoes; Gumbo ("A West India Dish"), Chicken Pudding ("A Favourite Virginia Dish"), Field Peas, Apoquiniminc Cakes (a form of beaten biscuits). Clearly we are in the South. But Mrs. Randolph knew about much more than Southern cooking; she includes recipes from England, France, Spain, the East Indies, the West Indies and New England (Dough Nuts - A Yankee Cake), among others. Her Spanish dishes are most intriguing: Gaspacho, Ropa Vieja and Ollo. We find polenta, vermicelli, macaroni and curry. We find recipes for corning, for fricando and fricassee, for haricot and matelote and salmagundi; we have a-la-modes, a-la-daubes and a-la-cremes. We learn how to caveach fish and to pitchcock eels. Mrs.Randolph tells us how to pickle several dozen items, including oysters, sturgeon, lemons, onions, nasturtiums, radish pods, English walnuts, peppers, green nectarines and asparagus. Anyone who doubts that early Americans savored salads and vegetables need only look at what Mrs. Randolph offers. There are recipes for artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, French beans, Jerusalem artichokes, lima beans, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, peas, peppers, potatoes, potato pumpkin, red beet roots, salsify, savoy cabbage, sea kale, sorrel, spinach, sprouts and young greens, squash, sweet potatoes, turnips, turnip tops, winter squash, onions, and tomatoes. Indeed, Mrs. Randolph has seventeen recipes using tomatoes in the various editions of her cookbook. This provides further evidence to correct the misinformation that Americans did not use tomatoes prior to the mid-nineteenth century. We should mention Mrs. Randolph's wondrous ice-cream recipes. There are twenty-two flavors, plus variations, including black walnut, pineapple, quince, peach, pear, chocolate, citron and almond.

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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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940026196067
  • Publisher: Plaskitt, Fite
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Digitized from 1838 volume
  • File size: 249 KB

Meet the Author

Mary Randolph earned her law degree from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of The Executor's Guide: Settling Your Loved One's Estate or Trust, 8 Ways to Avoid Probate, Every Dog's Legal Guide: A Must-Have Book for Your Owner, and Deeds for California Real Estate. She is also a coauthor of the legal manual for Quicken WillMaker Plus. She has been a guest on The Today Show and has been interviewed by many publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and more. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

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Read an Excerpt

PREFACE. THE difficulties I encountered when I first entered on the duties of a housekeeping life, from the want of books sufficiently clear and concise to impart knowledge to a Tyro, compelled me to study the subject, and by actual experiment to reduce every thing in the culinary line, to proper weights and measures. This method I found not only to diminish the necessary attention and labour, but to be also economical: for, when the ingredients employed' were given in just proportions,' the article made was always equally good. The government of a family, bears a Lilliputian resemblance to the government of a nation. The contents' of the Treasury must be known, and great care taken to keep the expenditures from being equal to the receipts. A regular system must be introduced into each department, which may be modified until matured, and should then pass into an inviolable law. The grand arcanum of management lies in three simple rules: "Let every thing be done at a proper time, keep every thing in its proper place, and put every thing to its proper use." If the mistress of a family, will every morning examine minutely the different departments of her household, she must detect errors in their infant state, when they can be corrected with ease; but a few days' growth gives them gigantic strength: and disorder, with all her attendant evils, are introduced. Early rising is also essential to the good government of a family. A late breakfast deranges the whole business of the day, and throws a portion of it on the next, which opens the door for confusion to enter. The greater part of the following receipts have been written from memory, where they were impressed by long continued practice. Should they prove serviceable to the young inexperienced housekeeper, it will add greatly to that gratification which an extensive circulation of the work will be likely to confer. M. RANDOLPH. Washington, January, 1831.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Calf's head, a delicacy or common fare?

    If you like cooking offal over an open kitchen hearth, than this is the cook book for you!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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