Ellis.   W. [William]    
The Country Housewife's Family Companion:
Profitable Directions for whatever relates to the Management and good Economy of the Domestick Concerns of a Country Life, According to the Present Practice of the Country Gentlemen's, the Yeoman's, the Farmer's. &c. Wives, in the Counties of Hereford, Bucks, and other parts of England: SHEWING How great Savings may be made in Housekeeping: And wherein, among many others, The following Heads are particularly treated of and explained: 1. The Preservation and Improve-ments of Wheat, Barley, Rye, Oats, and other Meals; with Directions for making several Sorts of Bread, Cakes, Puddings, Pies, &c. 11. Frugal Management of Meats, Fruits, Roots, and all Sorts of Herbs; best Methods of Cookery; and a cheap Way to make Soups, Sauces, Gruels, &c. 111. Directions for the Farm Yard; with the best Method of increasing all Sorts of Poultry, as Turkies, Geese, Ducks, Fowls, &c. 1V. The best Way to breed and fatten Hogs; sundry curious an dcheap Methods of preparing Hogs Meat; Directions for curing Bacon, Brawn, pickled Pork, Hams, &c. with the Management of Sows and Pigs. V. The best Method of making Butter and Cheese, with several curious Particulars containing the whole Management of the Dairy. V1. The several Ways of making good Malt; with Directions for brewing good Beer, Ale, &c. With variety of Curious Matters, Wherein are contained frugal Method for victualling Harvest-men, Ways to destroy all Sorts of Vermin, the best Manner of suckling and fattening Calves, Prescriptions for curing all Sorts of Distempers in Cattle, with Variety of curious Receits for Pickling, Preserving, Distilling, &c. The Whole founded on near thirty years Experience by W. Ellis, Farmer, at Little Gaddesden, near Hempsted, Hertfords. LONDON: Printed for James Hodges, at the Looking-glass, facing St. Magnus Church, London-Bridge; and B. Collins, Bookseller, at Salisbury. 1750.
FIRST & SOLE EDITION: 8vo. 200x134mm. 1fep. [1] Frontispiece of rural farmyard. Title page. [1] (1)ii Preface. (1)iv-x Introduction.(1)2-379. 19p Contents. 2p Advertisements. 1fep. 4 pages of the contents with the bottom corner missing with no loss. It appears that it may have been bound as is. It has the original full brown calf with a lovely patina. The spine with raised bands with gilt lines and a double gilt line bordering the boards. With a red label and gilt lettering. With the bookplate of Mary Chadsey. Internally very clean. A wonderful copy.
- This is a very interesting and unusually well written book of recipes, many unusual country anecdotes and advice about farm animals. There are also long sections on brewing and distilling, and more about bread and grain cookery. Oxford also mentions the medical receipts, "many of the usual filthy nature". MacLean states it is of "special interest, namely the fact it is firmly based on experience in a given region - Essex and the country round about. It is one of the eighteenth-century books which convey a feeling of direct communication and of confidence that the author invariably knew what he was talking about". William Ellis lived and farmed at Little Gaddesden in Hertfordshire, although he was originally a London brewer. (His only other book on domestic economy was indeed about brewing.) He wrote several books of husbandry - and was famous enough to be visited by the Swedish traveller Per KaIm, who was shocked to find that Hertfordshire menfolk looked after the cattle and the women did very little indeed except prepare food, 'which they commonly do very well, though roast beef and puddings form nearly all an Englishman's eatables'. He obviously had not read this book by Ellis. Cagle, p469; Axford, p102; Bitting, p143; Oxford, p79; MacLean, p43; Simon BG, p588.

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Antiquarian category
ref number: 11082