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ACTON, Eliza.

Modern Cookery, in all its Branches:

reduced to a System of Easy Practice, for the Use of Private Families. In a series of practical receipts, which have been strictly tested and are given with the most minute exactness,

London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1845 Stock Code: 132125
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First edition, with the advertisements dated January 1845. Modern Cookery established Eliza Acton as the first of the modern cookery writers. This first edition is notably uncommon with just six copies traced institutionally worldwide, four of which are held in the UK.

This copy has the appealing signs of use, with a number of recipes checked in the margins, a couple of corners previously folded to mark the page, and the female ownership inscription of Mrs S. A. Walker, dated 1862, to the front free endpaper and title page, with her address given.

Acton's "meticulous research for the work made it an immediate and lasting success running into several editions, and was the standard work on the subject until the end of the century" (ODNB). The eminently useful book is written "with great charm and clarity, but what marked the book as innovative was her original plan of listing, very exactly, the ingredients, the time taken, and possible pitfalls for the inexperienced cook. This was a completely new format, all other books on the subject being far less exact in their instructions" (ibid.).

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Sextodecimo, pp. 683. Original tan fine combed cloth, neatly rebacked with the original spine panel laid down, title in gilt to the spine within frame surrounded by game birds, a boar's head, and a creel of fish, blind panels to the boards, endpapers renewed, excepting the original front free endpaper with near contemporary ownership inscription retained.


With the half-title. Woodcut illustrations to the text.


Spine and board edges skilfully repaired. Cloth lightly soiled, light browning to the text, occasional small cookery stains, short closed tear to fore edge of pp. 597-8, overall a very good copy.


Bitting p.2.; Cagle 538; Oxford p. 175.


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