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Acton, Eliza (1799–1859), writer on cookery and poet, was born at Battle, Sussex, on 17 April 1799, the eldest of the five children of John Acton and his wife, Elizabeth, née Mercer. The Actons were a Suffolk family, and returned there soon after ...

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Astry [married name Orlebar], Diana (bap. 1671, d. 1716), diarist and compiler of recipe books, was baptized on 2 January 1671 at St Mary's, Henbury, Gloucestershire, the third daughter and fifth child of Sir Samuel Astry (1632–1704) of Henbury, Gloucestershire, a clerk of the ...

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Ayrton [née Walshe; other married name Balchin], Elisabeth Evelyn (1910–1991), novelist and writer on cookery, was born on 2 February 1910 at Littlefield Farm, Worplesdon, Surrey, the eldest child of Douglas Thomas George Walshe (1880–1952) and his first wife, Phyllis Sydney, née...

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Beeton [née Mayson], Isabella Mary (1836–1865), writer on household management and journalist, was born on 14 March 1836 at Milk Street, off Cheapside in the City of London, the eldest in the family of three daughters and a son of Benjamin Mayson (1801–1840)...

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Isabella Mary Beeton (1836–1865) by Maull & Polyblank, c. 1860–65 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Blencowe [née Wallis], Anne, Lady Blencowe (1656–1718), compiler of recipes, was born on 4 June 1656, the elder daughter and second of three surviving children of John Wallis (1616–1703), Savilian professor of geometry at the University of Oxford, and his wife, Susanna Glyde (1622–1687)...

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Anne Blencowe, Lady Blencowe (1656–1718) circle of Michael Dahl, 1670s private collection

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Boulestin, (Xavier) Marcel (1878–1943), restaurateur and writer on cookery, was born at Poitiers, France, where his mother, the daughter of a former lycée teacher, shared the house of his widowed maternal grandmother. Boulestin grew up and attended school in Poitiers, developing strong interests in music and the theatre. He visited his father, who maintained a largely separate existence, only for a month each summer, at the property that he owned at ...

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(Xavier) Marcel Boulestin (1878–1943) by Marcel Gromaire, 1925 © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2016

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Bradley, Martha (fl. 1740s–1755), writer on cookery, is known today only through her one monumental book, The British Housewife, which was published as a part-work from January to October 1756 and eventually came out in book form in 1758. The book is a complete manual for the housewife, the cook, the housekeeper, the gardener, and the farrier, with monthly sections of advice and recipes which cover every aspect of domestic management in the middle of the eighteenth century. The author herself was a professional cook who worked in ...