I was watching Alton Brown’s Good Eats last week when in passing, it mentioned this book.  It was written in 1696.  The author is listed simply as Lady.  I am trying to read it, but in truth, it’s not an easy read.  In part because the lower cases “s” looks very much like a lower case “f”.  In one sections talking about the how God is Wise, I keep reading the word as wife.  It’s not conducive to understanding. Anyway, my plan is to put some of my favorited parts of the this book up here.  To begin with just the cover page (with different spellings attempted to be left intact):

The Whole Duty of a Woman

Or, an infallible

Guide to the Fair Sex

Containing, Rules, Direction, and Observations, for the Conduct and Behaviour through all Ages and Circumstances of Life, as Virgins, Wives, or Widows with Directions, how to obtain al Use and Fashionable accomplishments suitable to the SEX.  In which are comprised all Parts of GOOD HOUSEWIFERY, particularly RULES and RECEIPTS in every Kind of COOKERY.

1. Making all Sorts of Soops and Sauces

2. Dressing Flesh, Fish and Fowl; this last illustrated with Cuts, shewing how every Fowl, Wild or Tame, is to be trust for the Spit: Likewise all other King of Game.

3. Making above 40 different Sorts of Puddings.

4. The whole Art of Pastry in making Pies, Tarts, and Pasties

5. Receipts for all Manner of Pickling, Collaring, etc.

6. For Preserving, making Creams, Jellies, and all Manner of Confectionary.

7. Rules and Directions for fetting out Dinners, Suppers, and Grand Entertainments.

to which is added,

BILLS of FARW for every Month in the Year, curiously graven on Copper Plate, with the Forms of Tables and Dishes, and he Shapes of Pies, Tarts, and Pasties.  With Instructions for Marketing.


RULES and RECEIPTS for making all the choicest Cordials for the closet: Brewing Beers, Ales, etc.  Making all Sorts of English Wines, Cyder, Mums, Mead, Metheglin, Vinegar, Verjuice, Catchup, etc. With some fine Perfumes, Pomatums, Cosmeticks and other Beautifiers.

I’ve tried to keep some of the formatting, but you really should look at this page for yourself.  I think this book is going to be fascinating.

If anybody knows what Mums (I’m thinking not the flower), Metheglin, Verjuice or Pomatums are, I would love to hear from you.