Little is known of Amelia Simmons, the author of the first American cookbook, except that she was probably a domestic worker and lacked any formal education. Some assumed that she was a New Englander based on the location of the first editions; however, later editions published around the Hudson River Valley, and the inclusion of several Dutch words in the book, reinforce that Simmons was from the Hudson Valley region. The book first appeared in 1796 to popular reception, as all cookbooks being printed and used in the United States prior to this were British, and it was reprinted and pirated for the next thirty years. Simmons presents the best methods of picking, preparing and cooking a variety of ingredients, and her recipes do not shy away from generous use of herbs and wine. This is the first cookbook known to use pearlash, the precursor to modern baking powder, and it contains the first known printed recipe for turkey with cranberries.
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January 01, 2013
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