Fannie Farmer Was the Original Rachael Ray

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Fannie Farmer Was the Original Rachael Ray

You probably know how a recipe looks: ingredients at the top, step-by-step instructions below. What you may not know is that this recipe format owes a lot to one American celebrity cook.

Fannie Merritt Farmer, born in 1857, changed American cooking forever. By the time she opened her own cooking school on this day in 1902, she had already made what would be her most lasting contribution–a cookbook that is still in print today–but as Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery showed, she was far from finished.

Farmer started attending the Boston Cooking School in the late 1880s, where she learned the precepts that formed the basis of her approach to kitchen matters.

“The Boston Cooking School believed in a scientific approach to cooking and housekeeping,” writes KeriLynn Engel on her blog Amazing Women in History. “They taught not only how to cook, but also about nutrition, sanitation, chemical analysis and household management.” Farmer, who was much older than many of her fellow students, did extremely well. After graduation, she stayed on at the school as first an assistant to the director, and then the school’s principal.

It was during her time at the school that she first published The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook, which is better known today as The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. Little, Brown and Company, the publishers of the cookbook, were afraid of losing money on the book, according to Minnesota State University’s Feeding America blog–so they had the author fund the 3,000-volume first run herself. But she got the last laugh: “It has been in print from its first appearance in 1896 until the present day,” according to Feeding America, “although the newer editions are updated and revised so that Fannie might not easily recognize them.”


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Date Posted: Fri, 25 Aug 2017, 08:36 am

Tags: Rachael Ray

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