The English Art of Cookery
The English Art of Cookery The English Art of Cookery The English Art of Cookery The English Art of Cookery The English Art of Cookery

According to the Present Practice; being a Compete Guide to all Housekeepers on a Plan entirely new; consisting of Thirty-Eight Chapters....with Bills of Fare for every Month in the Year. By Richard Briggs, Many Years Cook at the Globe-Tavern, Fleet-street; the White-Hart Tavern, Holborn; and now at the Temple Coffee House, London. A New Edition.

Cork: Printed by J. Connor. Circulating Library, 35, Grand-Parade.. [1790].

First Irish edition. 12mo. 170x100mm. pp. xxiv, 533, 24pp engraved plates illustrating two sets of Bills of Fare and table settings for each month. Modern tan calf lettered in gilt to spine. Internally very good with some slight foxing, as expected, and two small marginal tears (to K5 and T8) with no loss of text. O1 has a manuscript note in the margin. A very nice copy in excellent condition of a rare Cork imprint of this popular and encyclopaedic work of eighteenth century cookery. ESTC locates only one copy, in the National Library of Ireland. Worldcat records one additional copy in the USA.

Richard Briggs must have been a familiar figure around central London in the late eighteenth century as he worked his way around two taverns and a coffee house in Holborn and Fleet Street. “Briggs's book was aimed at housekeepers and has been described as 'largely a plagiarisation or, more charitably, a competent revision and enlargement' of John Farley's The London Art of Cookery of 1783 (Mennell, 99). However, Briggs's work reveals considerable improvements over Farley's. Cooking times, methods, and quantities of ingredients are often clarified and Briggs includes a wider range of foods—notably fish and vegetables. Interestingly he broke new ground by including recipes for fish rarely mentioned in eighteenth-century cookery books, such as 'To Boil John-a-Dore'... Although the book was predominantly about English food there were none the less German, Spanish, West Indian, Italian, Dutch, French, and Jewish influences in the recipes”. (ODNB) If you used no other cookery book than The English Art of Cookery, you would never run out of recipes, you would eat a huge amount of delicious food and you would probably be dead at 45 but you’d have a lot of fun in the meantime.