It seems that even in the 18th and 19th Centuries, the world of cookery books was dominated by celebrity chefs, when cooks employed by royalty or those who ran famous eating houses were the main beneficiaries of the boom in the publishing of cookbooks. There was also a rise in the number of vegetarian cookbooks published during the 19th Century and the writers of those were often already known too. Mrs Bowdich for example, who published ‘New Vegetarian Recipes’ in 1892, was the owner of a vegetarian restaurant on Gray’s Inn Road in London.
To celebrate all this, the Keats House Museum in London has been showing an exhibition of the period’s celebrity cookbooks, from the collection at the Guildhall Library. This coming weekend is the last chance to see the exhibition as it closes on 26th February.
This is a recipe from one of the featured books ‘The Complete Confectioner’ by Frederick Nutt, and what I love about this is the instruction to include carraway seeds, ‘as many as you think proper’!
Judges Biscuits by Frederick Nutt, 1819
Take six eggs and break them into copper pan, yolks and whites together, whisk them well for above five minutes, mix half a pound of powdered sugar with the eggs, and whisk them for ten minutes, put as many carraway seeds as you think proper, and half a pound of sifted flour, mix it well with a wooden spoon, and put three papers on your plates; then take a spoon and drop them on papers about the size of a crown-piece, sift some powdered sugar over them, let them be rather thick in the middle, and the oven rather sharp, and when they come out, cut them off the paper while hot.
Regency ‘Celebrity’ Cookbooks
Keats House Museum
until 26th February 2012
Keats Grove, Hampstead, London NW3 2RR UK