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An English Victorian-era ""celebrity chef"" Alexis Soyer's ""The Modern Housewife"" was a best-seller in its time. Aimed a women of the aspiring middle class, it was not simple a book of recipes, but rather a cookbook designed as an epistolary novel. Soyer created fictional characters, Hortence B. and Eloise L., who stood for the values of the era: Hortence was the efficient mistress of a smoothly-run, middle class household, while Eloise was ineffectual and sought Hortence's assistance. Through this conceit, Soyer does manage to include hundreds of recipes that were designed to meet the varying incomes and needs of the multi-faceted, English middle class. This 1850 volume is ""Edited by an American Housekeeper,"" and adapts Soyer's recipes to an American audience, without losing any of the design or tone of the original.
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About the Author
Soyer was a talented, dashing, flamboyant, French egocentric whose gastronomic genius was the rage and envy of mid-nineteenth-century England. He served as cook to various French and English notables between 1821 and 1837. Among them was Prince Polignac of the French Foreign Office, the Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of Sutherland, the Marquis of Waterford, and William Lloyd of Aston Hall, Oswestry. He was widely known for his triumphant tenure as master chef of the London Reform Club, a post he accepted in 1837. The day of Queen Victoria's coronation, June 28, 1838, he executed one of the greatest culinary extravaganzas of all time: a breakfast for two thousand people at Gwydyr House, where the club was temporarily housed. His banquet de luxe for 150 guests for Ibraham Pasha on July 3, 1846, has also become a culinary legend.