Isabella Beeton on cooking and happiness

“[in the past] only to live has been the greatest object of mankind; but, by-and-by, comforts are multiplied and accumulating riches create new wants. The object, then is not only to live, but to live economically, agreeably, tastefully and well. Accordingly, the art of cookery commences; and although the fruits of the earth, the fowls of the air, the beasts of the field, and the fish of the sea, are still the only food of mankind, yet these are so prepared, improved, and dressed by skill and ingenuity, that they are the means of immeasurably extending the boundaries of human enjoyments. Everything that is edible, and passes under the hands of the cook, is more or less changed, and assumes new forms. Hence the influence of that functionary is immense upon the happiness of the household.”

Isabella Beeton, The Book of Household Management, 1861, 76.

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