This volume in the American Antiquarian Cookbook Collection, published in New York in 1830, is a new version of a famous recipe collection previously published in London by William Kitchiner, adapted specifically for use by the American public.
Dr. William Kitchiner’s The Cook’s Oracle was an enormous best-seller upon publication in London in 1824, and the author developed an international reputation based on his eccentricities and the extravagance of his writing. Unlike most food writers of the day, he cooked the food himself, washed up afterward, and performed all the household tasks he wrote about. He traveled around with a “portable cabinet of taste,” a folding box containing all of his unique mustards and sauces, and he was well known for his invention of the popular Wow-Wow sauce. No wonder that an anonymous American “medical gentleman” (as asserted on the title page of this edition) chose to adapt Kitchiner’s English cookbook for American kitchens. In addition to over 600 recipes that run the full gamut of nineteenth century cookery, the book includes information about etiquette, dinner invitations, weights and measures (one of the first attempts to standardize cookbook measurements), carving, marketing advice, and techniques of boiling, baking, roasting, frying, and broiling. This edition of The Cook’s Oracle was reproduced by permission from the volume in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. Founded in 1812 by Isaiah Thomas, a Revolutionary War patriot and successful printer and publisher, the society is a research library documenting the lives of Americans from the colonial era through 1876. The society collects, preserves, and makes available as complete a record as possible of the printed materials from the early American experience. The cookbook collection comprises approximately 1,100 volumes.
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