Written by Lydia Marie Child, this is the oldest book in my arsenal, and also my most favored. My publication is the third edition; the first edition was published in 1829. I can’t help but wonder how many homes this book has lived in and how many cooks have thumbed through its pages, creating dishes for family and friends.
Michigan State University manages the Historic American Cookbook Project. You can find the second edition on this online site: The Frugal Housewife, second edition. The cover of the online archived edition has been rebound and the pages are well preserved (much better than my edition!).
According to the publisher:
Published in Boston in 1829, this volume in the American Antiquarian Cookbook Collection by a well-known social reformer, prolific novelist, and journalist provided recipes and tips for homemakers of the early 19th century with an emphasis on self-reliance and frugality in the household. The first American cookbook to focus on economy in the kitchen and the home.
Published in 1829 in Boston, The Frugal Housewife was written by one of the foremost female writers and social reformers of her time, Lydia Maria Child. The charming collection of recipes and tips for homemakers of the early 19th century emphasized frugality in the kitchen and self-reliance in the household—making this work wildly popular in its day. It had over 35 printings, and much of the content is relevant in modern times. Frugal Housewife was the first American cookbook to replace Amelia Simmons’s American Cookery, still in use since publication in 1796, and it was also the first to emphasize the themes of thrift and economy in the kitchen.
This cookbook has been recently printed. You can find it on Amazon in both digital and printed versions.