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Frontispiece of Rundell's cookbook
Frontispiece of Rundell's cookbook

Maria Rundell (1745–1828) was an English writer. In 1805, when she was over 60, she sent an unedited collection of recipes and household advice to John Murray, of whose family—owners of the John Murray publishing house—she was a friend. Murray published the work, A New System of Domestic Cookery (frontispiece shown), in November 1805. It was a huge success and several editions followed; the book sold around half a million copies in Rundell's lifetime. It was aimed at middle class housewives. In addition to dealing with food preparation, it offers advice on medical remedies and how to set up a home brewery, and includes a section entitled "Directions to Servants". She also advises readers on being economical with their food and avoiding waste. Rundell wrote a second book, Letters Addressed to Two Absent Daughters (1814), with advice concerning death, friendship, how to behave in polite company and the types of books a well-mannered young woman should read. (Full article...)

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