Welcome to Mrs Beeton Book Of Household Management. As Mrs Beeton’s book is the main topic of conversation on the blog in 2018, we thought it was only right that we dedicated a post to who Mrs Beeton was and how she changed the world of home cooking for many people around the world.
You’re probably thinking that it’s an exaggeration, but she did truly change the way of cooking. Without the inspiration of Mrs Beeton and her book of household management, we would never have all these celebrity chefs that we fell in love with. It’s hard to imagine a life before Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver. Plus Mrs Beeton is such a long time ago, that it was the original inspiration behind Julia Childs and Betty Crocker.
I doubt we also would have the food bloggers that we have today, without one woman leading the way in the beginning. Which is rather ironic considering Mrs Beeton herself could not cook!
Who Was Mrs Beeton?
Isabella Mary Beeton was born on the 14th of March 1836 in London and died 6th February 1865. She was known most as Mrs Beeton and for her book of household management. She was an English journalist.
It was just a year after her wedding in 1857 that she started working with her husband on his magazine. Not only did she work in the cookery section, but she also translated French fiction. Her knowledge for French is probably the reason why a big proportion of her famous cookbook included both English & French recipe terminology.
Isabella Beeton died of puerperal fever in 1865 at the tender age of 28. It has also been suggested many times over the years that Mrs Beeton died of syphilis that her husband passed onto her after having sex with a prostitute, but this fact has never been proved.
Isabella Beeton gave birth to 4 children. Tragically this included 2 that died in infancy and she also suffered several miscarriages.
Mrs Beeton – Book Of Household Management
Mrs Beeton aka Isabella Beeton, was just 21 years old when she started working on her book of household management. It was originally meant to be a 24-part series to be published in her husband Samuel’s magazine called The English Woman’s Domestic Magazine.
Here are some interesting facts about Mrs Beetons Book of Household Management:
- The first in Mrs Beetons series was published in 1859. Two years later in 1861 the series were made into a complete big book called Mrs Beeton Book Of Household Management.
- The target audience was the mistress, housekeeper, butler, cook, mum, niece, aunt, sister, grandma and any woman that looked after their own home or as a gift to those that did.
- The Mrs Beeton cookbook was used for accuracy during the food scenes on the TV show Downton Abbey.
- The Mrs Beeton books have gone beyond the UK and were most successful in the US with a baking version during the early 1960s and 1970s.
- Mrs Beeton Book of Household Management has been reproduced many times over the years and us at RecipeThis.com have the 1969 British version.
- It included extensive information about how to run your own household, with exquisite information about when to clean your house, how to clean your house and so much more.
- It was originally published in Mrs Beetons husbands name in 1861 under the company name S O Beeton Publishing.
- Mrs Beeton Book of Household Management was an enormous success selling 60,000 copies in its first year and by year 7 it had sold just short of 2 million copies.
- The rights to Mrs Beetons book was sold to Ward, Lock & Tyler for the small sum of £3250 after her husband got into financial difficulty after her death.
- Due to the time since her death the book is now free of copyright and has many versions now available for sale.
- Due to the revisions of Mrs Beeton Book of Household Management it has remained in the public eye for more than 150 years.
- Mrs Beeton Book of Household Management is more than 2000 pages with 74 different chapters. Though the most famous part of it is the recipe section.
- There are more than 2000 recipes dedicated to English cooking. It also includes French versions where possible along with a full section dedicated to international cooking.
- Many of the recipes that appear in Mrs Beeton Book of Household Management were contributed from upper class local women, that were often friends of Mrs Beeton.
The emphasis on the book is very much about a woman being given the material in order to produce amazing food at home for her husband. It would equal the quality of food that her husband would get if he went to dinner at a restaurant and would be expected to be of this quality on a regular basis.
It was also a popular wedding gift and this was still the case back in the 1970s and early 1980s.
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A wonderful thing about the book is that it appealed to all classes of people. It was perfect if you were a working-class family thanks to its war time budget meals but also appeared to the middle and upper class that loved the dinner party food.
Mrs Beeton – Plagiarism
Mrs Beeton Book of Household Management was famous for its copying. It is a known fact that Mrs Beeton took approximately 20% of the best recipes of its generation from cookbooks and added them into her own magazine column that eventually made its way into her book.
Mrs Beeton couldn’t cook and she wanted people to have access to one amazing cookbook that was the best of the best.
Even though many recipes were copied, each recipe was tested and double tested by her assistants.
This is probably why it is such a successful cookery book as its like one big round up of recipes. Even though she copied other people’s recipes, the majority of these original recipe authors were credited later on for their work and wouldn’t have been as successful if they hadn’t had the exposure that the Mrs Beeton books brought them.
Other recipes in the Mrs Beeton cookbook were contributed by readers that had written into her magazine column.
New York Times once said Mrs Beeton only plagiarised the best!
Though many people have been happier that Mrs Beeton was the best of the best of the generation as it meant the quality of the recipes was the best.
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