Isabella Mary Mayson was born in Marylebone, London on 12 March 1836. The eldest of three daughters of Benjamin and Elizabeth Mayson. Benjamin died when Elizabeth was only four years old. Several years later Elizabeth married Henry Dorling, a widower with four children.

As the Clerk of Epsom Racecourse Henry was granted permission to reside within the grounds of the racecourse and he and Elizabeth went on to have a further thirteen children!

As the eldest Isabella was very much involved with the upbringing of her brothers and sisters and the running of the household. She is said to have referred to her siblings as a "living cargo of children".

No doubt this experience helped tremendously towards the creation of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management!

It was while at boarding school in Germany where Isabella first learnt the art of pastry making. Her lessons continued with a local baker when she returned to Epsom in 1854.

In 1856 Isabella married publisher Samuel Orchart Beeton and shortly after began writing for one of his publications, The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine. initially translating French fiction before moving on to recipes collated from sources including readers.

In 1861 'The Book of Household Management' was published. The book was a huge success selling over 60,000 copies in the first year. The recipes were original in format which is still used today and with illustrations. The book also provided advice regarding household management and the employment of servants, childcare, etiquette, animal husbandry and poisons!


Ingredients: To every quart of pumpkin, strained, allow 6 eggs, ¼ of a lb. of butter, ½ a pint of sweet milk, ½ a lb. of white sugar, 1 tablespoonful of French brandy, 1 gill of Madeira or sherry paste.

Method: Cut the pumpkin into large pieces; peel these, and put them into cold water over a very slow fire; simmer, without boiling, until every piece is tender, then strain through a colander, and afterwards through coarse muslin. To every quart of the pumpkin add the ingredients given above, the eggs previously beaten till thick and light, and the butter and sugar stirred to a cream. When well mixed, bake in a pie-dish lined and covered with paste. (Or a pastry case!)

Time 1½ hours. Average Cost, 2s. per pie. Sufficient for 6 or 8 persons.




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