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The Country Housewife's Family Companion

by William Ellis

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William Ellis lived and farmed at Little Gaddesden in Hertfordshire, although he was originally a London brewer. (His only other book on domestic economy was indeed about brewing.) He wrote several books of husbandry - and was famous enough to be visited by the Swedish traveller Per KaIm, who was shocked to find that Hertfordshire menfolk looked after the cattle and the women did very little indeed except prepare food, 'which they commonly do very well, though roast beef and puddings form nearly all an Englishman's eatables'. Ellis wrote about the farm and how to make money from its produce or how to cook it. There is much about farming itself and plenty of medicine; there are long sections on brewing and distilling; there is more about bread and grain cookery than in any other English book of the period I know; there is an almost complete disregard of fancy cookery of French kickshaws to impress the neighbours. This book tells more of the actual product of English country kitchen, and more about regionality and local custom, than its contemporaries. He 'invariably knew what he was talking about' (Maclean).



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