Skip to main content
Innovation and Inspiration: The Campaign for Kansas University
Rare Books - Exhibits
Cookery Exhibit: Elizabeth Raffald
Title page

Elizabeth Raffald, The Experienced English Housekeeper
(Manchester: Printed by J. Harrep), 1769. First Edition

Raffald (1733-1781) was, after Hannah Glasse, the most celebrated English cookery writer of the 18th century. She was the daughter of John Whittaker of Doncaster, and was for fifteen years employed as housekeeper to Lady Elisabeth Warburton of Arley Hall, Cheshire, to whom she dedicated her book. In 1763 she married her employer's gardener, John Raffald, and by him had fifteen daughters. In 1764 she became a confectioner in Manchester, and shortly afterwards established a cookery school for young ladies, which she ran in her shop. Then, in 1769, just after she published her book, she temporarily took over the licence of the Bull's Head in Market Place, Manchester, before taking over the King's Head in Chapel Street, Salford, in 1770; both were old and famous inns. In 1771, she helped to found Salford's first newspaper, Prescott's Journal, and to become the adviser to, and part-owner of, Harrap's Mercury. She also found time to compile the first Manchester Directory, which appeared in 1772.

Selected Excerpts from the Text

Possible Raffald autograph To a-la-mode Beef - page 103

Take the Bone out of a Rump of Beef, lard the Top with Bacon, then make a Force-meat of four Ounces of Marrow, two Heads of Garlick, the Crumbs of a Penny Loaf, a few sweet Herbs chopped small, Nutmeg, Pepper and Salt to your Taste, and the Yolks of four Eggs well beat, mix it up, and stuff your Beef were the Bone came out, and in several Places in the lean part, skewer it round and bind it about with a Fillet, put it in a Pot with a Pint of Red Wine, and tie it down with strong Paper, bake it in the Oven for three Hours; when it comes out, if you want to eat it hot, skim the Fat off the Gravy, and add half an Ounce of Morels, a Spoonful of pickled Mushrooms, thicken it with Flour and Butter, dish up your Beef and pour on the Gravy, lay round it Force-meat Balls, and sent it up.

To Spin a Silver Web for covering Sweet-meats - page 164

Take a quarter of a Pound of treble-refined Sugar, in one Lump, and set it before a moderate Fire, on the middle of a Silver Salver, or Pewter Plate, set it a little aslant, and when it begins to run like clear Water to the Edge of the Plate or Salver, have ready a Tin Cover, or China Bowl set on a Stool, with the Mouth downward, close to your Sugar, that it may not cool by carrying too far, then take a clean Knife, and tak up as much of the Syrup as the Point will hold, and a fine Thread will come from the Point, which you must draw as quick as possible backwards and forwards, and also around the Mould, as long as it will spin from the Knife; be very careful you do not drop the Syrup on the Web, if you do, it will spoil it, then dip your Knife into the Syrup again, and take up more, and so keep spinning 'till your Sugar is done, or your Web is thick enough; be sure you do not let the Knife touch the Lump on the Plate that is not melted, it will make it brittle, and not spin at all, if your Sugar is spent befor your Web is done, put fresh Sugar on a clean Plate or Salver, and not spin from the same Plate again, if you don't want the Web to cover the Sweetmeats immediately, set it in a deep Pewter Dish, and cover it with a Tin Cover, and lay a Cloth over it, to prevent the Air from getting to it, and set it before the Fire, (it requires to be kept war, or it will fall) when your Dinner or Supper is dished, have ready a Plate or Dish, of the size of your Web, filled with different colored Sweetmeats, and set your Web over it.

It is pretty for a Middle, where the Dishes are few, or Corner where the Number is large.

First course layout To make Ice Cream - page 228

Pare, stone and scald twelve ripe Apricots, beat them fine in a Marble Mortar, put to them six Ounces of double refined Sugar, a Pint of scalding Cream, work it through a Hair Sieve, put it into a Tin that has a close Cover, set it in a Tub of Ice broken small, and a large Quantity of Salt put amongst it, when you see your Cream grow thick round the Edges of your Tin, stir it and set it in again 'till it all grows quite thick, when your Cream is all Froze up, take it out of your Tin, and put it in the Mould you intend it to be turned out of, then put on the Lid, and have ready another Tub with Ice and Salt in as before, put your Mould in the Middle, and lay your Ice under and over it, let it stand four or five Hours, dip your Tin in warm Water when you turn it out; if it be Summer, you must not turn it out 'till the Moment you want it; you may use any Sort of Fruit if you have not Apricots, only observe to work it fine.

To make Orange Wine - page 297

To ten Gallons of Water, add twenty-four Pounds of Lump Sugar, beat the Whites of six Eggs very well, and mix them when the Water is cold, then boil it an Hour, scum it very well, take four Dozen of the roughest and largest Seville Oranges you can get, pair them very thin, put them into a Tub, and put the Liquor on them boiling hot, and when you think it is cold enough add to it three or four Spoonful of new Yeast, with the Juice of the Oranges, and half an Ounce of Cochineal beat fine, and boiled in a Pint of Water, stir it all together and let it work four Days, then put it in the Cask, and in six Weeks Time bottle it for Use.

Directions for a Grand Table - page 361

Second course layout January being a Month when Entertainments are most used, and most wanted, and from that Motive I have drawn my Dinner at that Season of the Year, and hope it will be of Service to my worthy Friends; not that I have the least Pretension to confine any Lady to such a particular Number of Dishes, but to chuse out of them what Number they please; being all in Season, and most of them to be got without much Difficulty; as I from long Experience can tell what a troublesome Task it is to make a Bill of Fare to be in Propriety, and not have two Things of the same Kind; and being desirous of rendering it easy for the future, have made it my Study to set out the Dinner in as elegant a Manner as lies in my Power, and in the Modern Taste; but finding I could not express myself to be understood by young Housekeepeers, in placing the Dishes upon the Table, obliged me to have two Copper-Plates; as I am very unwilling to leave even the weakest Capacity in the dark, it being my greatest Study to redner my whole Work both plain and easy. As to French Cooks and old experienced Housekeepers, they have no Occasion for my Assistance, it is not for them I look for any Applause: I have not engraved a Copper-Plate for a third Course, or a cold Collation, for that generally consists of Things extravagant; but I have endeavoured to set out a Desert of Sweetmeats, which the industrious Housekeeper may lay upon in Summer, at a small Expence, and when added to what little Fruit is then in Season, will make a pretty Appearance after the Cloth is drawn, and be entertaining to the Company; before you draw your Cloth, have all your Sweemeats and Fruits dished up in China Dishes, or Fruit Baskets; and as many Dishes as you have in one course, so many Baskets or Plates your Desert must hae; and as my Bill of Fare is twenty-five in each Course, so must your Desert be of the same Number, and set out in the same Manner, and as Ice is very often plentiful at that Time, it will be easy to make five different Ices for the middle, either to be served upon a Frame or without, with four Plates of dried Fruit round them; Apricots, Green Gages, Grapes and Pears; the four outward Corners Pistacho Nuts, Prunelloes, Oranges, and Olives; The four Squares, Nonpareils, Pears, Walnuts, and Filberts; the two in the Centre betwixt the Top and Bottom, Chesnuts, and Portugal Plumbs, and the four Brandy Fruits, which is Peaches, Nectarines, Apricots and Cherries.