A Book for Cooks!

Fannie Merritt
Fannie Merritt

March 23, 1857
Fannie Farmer Was Born

Rich chocolate cake, chewy oatmeal cookies, savory meatloaf, spicy cheese dip–if you’re ever looking for one of these recipes, or any number of delicious food creations, try looking in the Fannie Farmer Cookbook. Born on March 23, 1857, Bostonian Fannie Merritt Farmer greatly influenced the way Americans cook through her books and instruction. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook was an immediate classic when it was published in 1896. Now in its 13th edition, it’s still a popular cookbook. Do you have one in your kitchen? What makes this cookbook unique?

In her recipes, Farmer gave exact measurements (like a 1/8 teaspoon of salt instead of a dash of salt), guaranteeing her readers reliable results. Recipes were not widely written this way before. She also originated and perfected recipes at the Boston Cooking School. She started there as a promising student and quickly became director of the school. She put together the Fannie Farmer Cookbook while she was director. Do you like to cook? Fannie Farmer made it easier.

Even if you don’t like to cook, you probably like to eat. Preparing and eating food is an essential part of life for everyone, but what people eat, the way they eat, and with whom can differ tremendously from country to country and even from table to table. Think about the role of food in your life and what your food habits say about who you are. What foods and ways of eating do you think are uniquely American? Ask your family what they think. The conversation will probably make you hungry!