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The British Housewife

Martha Bradley (fl. 1740s-1755)
The British Housewife, or, the Cook, Housekeeper’s and Gardiner’s Companion (London: Printed for S. Crowder and H. Woodgate, [1770?])
MU Special Collections
Rare Book Collection
TX705 .B79

This monumental book on housekeeping is the only known record of Martha Bradley, a professional cook and housekeeper in Bath, England.  This book was compiled from her notes for each month of the year, and it includes lists of seasonal meats and produce, remedies for common diseases, and tasks for the house and kitchen garden.

Like many women in her time, Bradley was expected to diagnose and treat minor medical complaints, and she includes recipes for many home remedies.  These recipes reveal the popular belief in the curative powers of food.  For example, to cure dropsy (edema), she prescribes a concoction of an egg, oils of juniper and balsam, fennel, and horseradish. 

This particular copy was well used.  It contains several hand-written recipes added at end of the book.

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