Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Encyclopaedia of Practical Cookery

 Theodore Francis Garrett - The Encyclopaedia of Practical Cookery (1892)

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Not my discovery - this is from Atlas Obscura but they didn't provide links where you can download the whole thing.  (The book was apparently issued unbound at least sometimes so there are also two and four volumes versions of the entire work.)  I've posted a few cookbooks before but this stands out for its sheer size and almost obsessive detail.  There's a fairly elaborate recipe for a beverage for an invalid that after all the work it says to give them only a teaspoon at a time.  There are numerous descriptions of devices, both complex and simple, for various cooking tasks.  The fish section distinguishes consomme, chowder, broth, gravy, pudding, "essence", stew and several types of soup.  It even gets into topics of purely historical interest such as garum (the notorious Roman fish sauce).  And of course among everything else the ones that sound like oddities today - Goose's Giblets Stewed with Apples, Rice Gruel, Ship's Biscuits.

This set is referenced many times by food historians but oddly I can find practically no information on Garrett, not even his dates.  There are passing references to other works but not titles - the few others with his name appear to be drawn from this encyclopaedia.  There's a wedding reference that gives somebody with this name born in 1845 and married to Mary Jane Evans in 1875.  The dates fit so let's go with this as probable.

There was a somewhat sarcastic but generally approving review in the July 30, 1898 Punch.  I've included an image at the bottom.