The Boston Cooking School

Originally posted on April 4. We’re still pretty into cookbook history.

Any Bostonian worth their lobster bib can tell you that Julia Child lived in Cambridge for over 40 years, but did you know that almost 80 years before the divine Ms. C.’s show debuted on WGBH, Boston residents were influencing the way Americans cook? In the late 1870s, the Women’s Education Association of Boston founded The Boston Cooking School. One Mary Lincoln began teaching at the school and in 1884 published Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book: What To Do and What Not To Do In Cooking. The cookbook, which was the first to be meticulously organized and detailed, was phenomenally successful, staying in print for over 40 years. It also spawned a follow-up, the still-in-print The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook by Fannie Farmer, who had been Lincoln’s student. Farmer’s recipe book was the first to call for level measurements rather than vague descriptions. Both books were wildly successful, bringing traditional New England cuisine to a national audience. Now, who said we never taught you anything?

Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book [Feeding America]
The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book [Feeding America]

Photo Courtesy of eGullet.


The Boston Cooking School