Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The Compleat Housewife

Chawton House Library has published a new edition of The Compleat Housewife by Elizabeth Smith. It is a transcription of the 15th edition first published in 1753 with the frontispiece and original title page in facsimile; also, some of the fold-out table settings in the original book have been reproduced as the end-papers. The Compleat Housewife was first published in 1727 and it was the first cookbook available in the US when it was published there in 1742. It famously contains the first known recipe for ketchup, which was then a condiment using anchovies and was inspired by oriental condiments such as soy and oyster sauce.

Copies of the book are available from Chawton House Library and, shortly, online from the website for £18.00. It is a beautifully bound hardback book that will transport readers to life in the eighteenth century. It is also the first in a series of reprints from the Library's collection that will focus on the domestic aspects of life in the eighteenth century and the profits will go directly to the Chawton House Library acquisitions fund.


  1. Brilliant!

    I have a small collection of 18th /early 19th century cookery books and am finding them increasingly expensive to buy. I will be glad to add this book to my collection. Are there any plan to release othres- from the Library's collection?

  2. At the moment we are planning to add to the imprint with a conduct manual, a fashion, or dress, book and maybe a midwifery manual. The Library does have an excellent collection of cookery books and household manuals and should our series of reprints be succesful I'm sure we will add others.