American Cookery, by Amelia Simmons, was the first known cookbook written by an American, published in 1796. Until this time, the cookbooks printed and used in what became the United States were British cookbooks, so the importance of this book is obvious to American culinary history, and more generally, to the history of America. The full title of this book was: American Cookery, or the art of dressing viands, fish, poultry, and vegetables, and the best modes of making pastes, puffs, pies, tarts, puddings, custards, and preserves, and all kinds of cakes, from the imperial plum to plain cake: Adapted to this country, and all grades of life.
This book was quite popular and was printed, reprinted and pirated for 30 years after its first appearance. Only four copies of the first edition (Hartford, 1796) are known to exist.
From the Historic American Cookbook Project of Michigan State University: “The importance of this work cannot be overestimated. Its initial publication (Hartford, 1796) was, in its own way, a second Declaration of American Independence…”
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