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Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management
The book best known as Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, also published as Mrs Beeton's Cookery Book, is an extensive guide to running a household in Victorian Britain, edited by Isabella Beeton and first published as a book in 1861. Previously published in parts, it initially and briefly bore the title Beeton's Book of Household Management, as one of the series of guide-books published by her husband, Samuel Beeton. The recipes were highly structured, in contrast to those in earlier cookbooks. It was illustrated with many monochrome and colour plates.
Although Mrs Beeton died in 1865, the book continued to be a best-seller. The first editions after her death contained an obituary notice, but later editions did not, allowing readers to imagine that every word was written by an experienced Mrs Beeton personally. The personal significance of a "Mrs Beeton" found expression in one of Arthur Conan Doyle's novels of 1899, where a character declares: "Mrs Beeton must have been the finest housekeeper in the world, therefore Mr. Beeton must have been the happiest and most comfortable man".Many of the recipes were copied from the most successful cookery books of the day, including Eliza Acton's Modern Cookery for Private Families (first published in 1845), Elizabeth Raffald's The Experienced English Housekeeper (originally published in 1769), Marie-Antoine Carême's Le Pâtissier royal parisien (1815), Hannah Glasse's The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy (1747), Maria Eliza Rundell's A New System of Domestic Cookery (1806), and the works of Charles Elmé Francatelli (1805-1876). This practice of Mrs Beeton's has in modern times repeatedly been described as plagiarism.
The book expanded steadily in length, until by 1907 it reached 74 chapters and over 2000 pages. Nearly two million copies were sold by 1868, and as of 2016 it remained in print. Between 1875 and 1914 it was probably the most often-consulted cookery book. Mrs Beeton has been compared on the strength of the book with modern "domestic goddesses" like Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith.
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