a study in Victorian cookery

photos: m&j

When we purchased this 19th century antique recipe book from a dealer in the UK, we had no idea what an absolute treasure we were acquiring. We like to imagine this well-used guide to the cookery of the day as something often referred to and notated by the likes of Mrs. Patmore from the fictional Downton Abbey. And though its story may be somewhat less dramatic (though we did recently hear back from the antiques seller that it was a part of the estate of an artist who had belonged to The Bloomsbury Set), it’s impossible to imagine there isn’t a story – and, likely, quite a good one. From the study of highbrow to lowbrow penmanship in the plethora of entries to the almost perfect browning and spotting on the pages to the fanciful recipes (blancmange, anyone?) themselves, time has most certainly turned this once utilitarian handbook into a gastronomic work of art!

11 Comments »

  1. maggie said

    I am in lust. what a gem.

    • Admittedly a great find. Had to shoot it fast before it disintegrated into thin air. Will bring on set next time we work together, so you can play with it …

      • maggie said

        my heart just skipped two beats

  2. What beautiful handwriting! Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong century! :) Would you be so kind to share the soda bread recipe?

    • Oops… I meant soda cake. Must have had bread on the mind.

    • Yes – It is so lovely, isn’t it – wrong century, indeed! I am on vacation now and away from the book. But when I get home I will shoot a photo of that soda cake page for you … My pleasure!

  3. Judy Westwood said

    Oh this is priceless.
    Blancmange is just like our flan or creme brulee. Every
    time I order either in a restaurant my husband (who is English) says…”oh, Blancmange” I also spot a Christmas pudding recipe ! I will have to go over what you have photographed with a magnifying glass. Great fun !

    • Judy – knew you would love this one – it really is such a gem! I will be happy to shoot some clearer pictures of the recipe assortment when I get back from vacation and a shoot in LA in a couple of weeks … Look forward to hearing your take on some of the more obscure items. Sounds like you may be whipping up some blancmange at home soon!

  4. oh, is that ever to die for. absolutely stunning!

  5. Nani said

    Uau. That’s a treasure. Beautiful pictures.

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