The Virginia Housewife
Washington, Printed by Davis and Force, 1824
Call number: Rare TX 715 R214 1824
Mary Randolph holds the distinction of being the author of the first regional cookbook published in America. The
Virginia Housewife, published in 1824, emphasized Virginia recipes and ingredients and offered clear directions and
reassuring advice for the novice housekeeper. Today's experienced cooks will recognize the wisdom of her admonition
to "let every thing be done at a proper time, keep every thing in its proper place, and put every thing to its proper use."
Mary Randolph's organizational skills probably developed growing up as the eldest of the thirteen children of Thomas
Mann and Anne Cary Randolph. She married her cousin, David Meade Randolph, and moved to Richmond, where they
operated a boarding house on Cary Street. She soon acquired a reputation as a gracious hostess and a talented cook. The
Randolphs moved to Washington in 1819, and five years later The Virginia Housewife began appearing in
fashionable households. It went through many editions and is still printed today.
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