Modern Cookery for Private Families


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ISBN-13 (Hardback): 9781781798911
Price (Hardback): £45.00 / $55.00
ISBN (eBook): 9781781798904
Price (eBook): Individual £45.00 / $55.00 Institutional: £45.00 / $55.00
Publication 01/06/1993
Pages 544  Hardback 234mm x 154mm
Readership: General public; cookery historians; social historians
Illustrations: Many engravings


Eliza Acton

Edited by

Elizabeth Ray

Modern Cookery for Private Families was first published in 1845. Eliza Acton expanded it ten years later, enlarging a number of sections and adding an interesting chapter on foreign and Jewish cookery. This reprint is of the expanded edition and includes all the splendid engravings of the original.

Hers was one of the first cookery books specially written for the small household and she made sure that it was clear and easy to use. No one before her had thought of adding a list of ingredients, with the time taken to cook them, at the end of each recipe. Her instructions are always elegant, straightforward and concise. So anyone who wants to cook from it 175 years later will find that Modern Cookery for Private Families presents no problems. Here they will see the very best of English cookery untainted by the over-elaboration of late 19th-century taste. Creating simple dishes to perfection was her aim – and she succeeded admirably. Indeed, Eliza Acton’s cookery is very much in accord with present-day ideas about food: good ingredients, cooked to preserve their taste and texture and served at just the right temperature. Many of her recipes for preserving and cake-making are familiar today. The revival of interest in classic English cookery, already under way, will be much assisted by this unabridged reprint. An Introduction by Elizabeth Ray, who has made a special study of the author, adds some substance to Miss Acton’s shadowy personal life.

Series: Southover Press Historic Cookery and Housekeeping

About the Author

Eliza Acton
19th Century Poet and Cook

Elizabeth ‘Eliza’ Acton (1799 -1859) was an English poet and cook who produced one of the country’s first cookbooks aimed at the domestic reader rather than the professional cook or chef, Modern Cookery for Private Families. In this book she introduced the now-universal practice of listing the ingredients and suggested cooking times with each recipe. Isabella Beeton’s bestselling Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1861) was closely modeled on it.

About the Volume Editor

Elizabeth Ray
Food Writer

Elizabeth Ray studied at the London School of Economics and was a social worker in London and Kent for many years. She has always been interested in domestic and social history, and has written several cookery books and a biography of Alexis Soyer, as well as contributing to such magazines as Homes and Gardens and À La Carte and writing a food column for The Sunday Telegraph. Elizabeth Ray is the widow of wine writer Cyril Ray (with whom she wrote Wine with Food).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Introduction v-vii
Elizabeth Ray
Preface 1-3

Introductory Chapters 4-20

1. Soups 21-57
2. Fish 58-88
3. Dishes of Shellfish 89-95
4. Gravies 96-104
5. Sauces 105-127
6. Cold Sauces and Salads 128-137
7. Store Sauces 138-146
8. Forcemeats 147-154
9. Boiling and Roasting 155-168
10. Beef 169-187
11. Veal 188-206
12. Mutton 207-217
13. Pork 218-230
14. Poultry 231-244
15. Game 245-256
16. Curries and Potted Meats 257-265
17. Vegetables 266-293
18. Pastry 294-318
19. Souffles and Omlets 319-332
20. Boiled Puddings 333-354
21. Baked Puddings 355-370
22. Eggs and Milk. 371-377
23. Sweet Dishes, or Entremets. 378-409
24. Preserves 410-439
25. Pickles 440-446
26. Cakes 447-464
27. Confectionary 465-469
28. Dessert Dishes 470-476
29. Syrups and Liqueurs 477-484
30. Coffee and Chocolate 485-490
31. Bread 491-498
32. Foreign and Jewish Cookery 499-512

End Matter

Vocabulary of Terms 513
Index 514-544


The greatest cookery book in our language.
Elizabeth David