Mrs Nourse.       An early Edinburgh cookery school. Rare.
MODERN PRACTICAL COOKERY,
PASTRY, CONFECTIONARY, PICKLING AND PRESERVING. (two small double lines) By MRS NOURSE, TEACHER OF THESE ARTS, EDINBURGH. (two small double lines) ILLUSTRATED WITH COPPERPLATES. FOURTH EDITION IMPROVED AND ENLARGED. (two small double lines) EDINBURGH printed by Michael Anderson. SOLD BY THE AUTHOR, 6, GEORGE STREET; MACREDIE SKELLY & CO; 34, PRINCESS STREET; BRASH & CO. GLASGOW; GEORGE COWIE & CO. LONDON; J. CUMMING, DUBLIN; AND ALL OTHER BOOKSELLERS. (one small line) 1821
Small octavo. 179 x 108 x 14mm. 2feps. [1] Frontis of trussing. Title page. [1] (1)iv Preface to the 2nd edition. (1)Advertisement to the 3rd Edition. (1)Advertisement to the 4th edition. (1)viii - xxiv Contents. (1)2 - 335. 3 plates of An Elegant Dinner with approx a sixth missing. 2feps. Internally a little smudged and age dusted. With a quarter brown calf and marbled boards and brown calf tips. The spine with raised bands, gilt tooling and lettering.
- In a fine article online by Eleanor Harris of the Episcopal Congregation of Charlotte Chapel website, she has written a quite detailed article about Mrs Nourse. She was born Elizabeth Burn to Walter Burn, a gardener in Hawick and Janet Ker. Her birth date not found. She married her husband John Nourse on November 18th, 1793 at Hawick. They had four children in quick succession from 1794,95,96 and 1797. Mrs Nourse practised her trade as a pastry-cook and confectioner in partnership with her husband until his death circa 1805. She then became proprietor of a New Town, Edinburgh pastry school. Due to encouragement from Pupils, Customers and friends, and to finance the publication she cannily opened a subscription book at her shop on 38 Princess St, to which a large number subscribed, and in 1809 she self-published the 1st edition of Modern Practical Cookery. In Eleanor Harris's article an unusual snippet records that in 1811 she was living in George St, in a house with 15 windows and a rent of 70 and received allowances for her children. Modern Practical Cookery was popular and reached its 3rd edition on 1813, with this improved and enlarged 4th edition of 1821. Another addition appeared in 1832. It also achieved wide commercial publication and distribution by William Blackwoods, and widely advertised and sold at Cadell's in the Strand, London. A Belfast edition also appeared around this time. It is not clear when she passed away but in1845 an edition was published by Armour and Ramsey of Montreal, Canada. This assured Mrs Norse posthumous fame, her curried chicken and rice soup appearing at heritage events at the Campbell House Museum, Toronto and the Culinary-Tourism Symposium. In writing this condensed version of Eleanor Harris's article I'm struck by Mrs Nourse's industriousness. She is of the same mould as other women cooks who also became cookery book writers like Hannah Glasse, Mary Kettilby, Eliza Smith, Mary Eales, Agnes Marshall, Elizabeth Moxon, Elizabeth Raffald et al, who extended themselves, because of sheer necessity, from the hot demanding kitchens to publishing. Full lives indeed, to our benefit. Oxford also had a 4th Ed. dated 1820. He states that Blackwoods published an edition in 1838, but could not trace any earlier editions. I have not seen any copies at auction going back to 1926. One must assume rarity.

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ref number: 11260