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The British Housewife

By Patrick Dillon | Published in 2003 
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The British  Housewife: Cookery Books, Cooking and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain
Gilly Lehmann
Prospect Books  566pp 
ISBN: 0 903018 04 8

If the Prospect Books computer was stolen, food history would take years to recover. The latest offering from this specialist publisher is Gilly Lehmann’s absorbing investigation into eighteenth-century cookery books, which she uses not only to reveal the what, how and when of Georgian eating, but as the starting-point for a more wide-ranging social study. Who wrote cookbooks and who bought them? What did they learn from them? This is a history of aspiration as much as of reality. We eat junk food while watching celebrity chefs on TV; eighteenth-century households might admire French cuisine on the page, but their habits could be very different.

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