Historical Cooking Books: A Shilling Cookery for the People by Alexis Soyer (1854) – 37 in a series

Archive.org has a host of old cookery books (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. I happened across a few in my Pinterest feed and gone completely down the rabbit hole in this treasure trove of information. Sure some ideas might be out of date, but you never know what you might find when you explore these books. I’ll be sharing more books as I find them in the coming weeks. –Douglas

What might you find in these old cookbooks? What special recipes have been handed down to you? Share in the Comments!

Historical Cooking Books: A Shilling Cookery for the People by Alexis Soyer (1854) – 37 in a series

A Shilling Cookery for the People 0000

A Shilling Cookery for the People 0008

Available in PDF, Text, JPG formats, and more


In the course of a long and laborious career, entirely de voted, both in study and practice, to the preparation of the food of man in a manner most conducive to his health,—I have published two works on Modem Cookery, both of a different character, namely, * The Gastronomic Regenerator? adapted for the higher class of epicures; the second, for the easy middle class, under the title of the * Modem Housewife? The success of both I gratefully acknowledge as having far exceeded my expectations.

While actively employed, under the authority of governments in a mission to Ireland, in the year of the famine, 1847, it struck me that my services would be more useful to the million than confining them, as I had hitherto done, to the wealthy few. I immediately set to work, but soon found out my error, that I was merely acquainted with the manners and ways of living of the above two classes of society, for whom I had previously catered.

Perceiving that it would be impossible to cure a disease with out first arriving at its cause and origin, I found that the only course I had to pursue was to visit personally the abodes, and learn the manners of those to whom I was about to address myself, and thereby get acquainted with their wants.

My readers will easily perceive that, whilst semi-buried in my fashionable culinary sanctorum at the Reform Club, surrounded by the ilite of society, who daily honoured me with their visits in that lounge of good cheer, I could not gain, through the stone walls of that massive edifice, the slightest knowledge of Cottage life.

Determined to carry out my long thought of project, I cheer fully bade adieu to my wealthy employers, leaving them in a most thriving condition, regretting only my fair visitors; and, like a joyful pilgrim of the olden time, I set forth on my journey, visiting on my route every kind of philanthropic and other use ful institution, but more especially the domains of that indus trial class, the backbone of every free country—the People,—to whom for the present I bid farewell, leaving them in the hands of ma chbre Hortense, who will relate to them, with her usual affability, the result of my visits through the United Kingdom.

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† Available from the LA Public Library

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