The Experienced English Housekeeper

Read by Phil Benson

(4.6 stars; 14 reviews)

'Cut a large old hare in small pieces, and put it in a mug with three blades of mace, a little salt, two large onions, one red herring, six morels, half a pint of red wine, three quarts of water, bake it in a quick oven three hours...'. English cooking at its best from eighteenth-century celebrity chef, Elizabeth Raffald. Born in Doncaster, Raffald worked for 15 years as housekeeper in great houses, including that of Lady Elisabeth Warburton at Arley Hall, Cheshire, before setting up as a confectioner and innkeeper in Manchester. The Experienced English Housekeeper was published in 1769 and ran to 13 editions. This reading is from the 10th edition (1786) and includes 900 recipes (or as listeners will discover, receipts). Vegetarians take note, some sections of this book contain large quantities of meat! (Summary by Phil Benson) (9 hr 46 min)


00 - Dedication and Preface 8:19 Read by Phil Benson
01 - Observations on Soups 24:36 Read by Phil Benson
02a - Observations on Dressing Fish - Part 1 34:39 Read by Phil Benson
02b - Observations on Dressing Fish - Part 2 30:34 Read by Phil Benson
03 - Observations on Roasting and Boiling 44:22 Read by Phil Benson
04a - Observations on Made Dishes - Part 1 44:23 Read by Phil Benson
04b - Observations on Made Dishes - Part 2 44:50 Read by Phil Benson
05 - Observations on Pies 30:40 Read by Phil Benson
06 - Observations on Puddings 26:27 Read by Phil Benson
07 - Observations on Making Decorations for a Table 36:20 Read by Phil Benson
08 - Observations on Preserving 45:30 Read by Phil Benson
09 - Observations on Drying and Candying 16:07 Read by Phil Benson
10 - Observations on Creams, Custards and Cheese-cakes 23:13 Read by Phil Benson
11 - Observations on Cakes 20:33 Read by Phil Benson
12 - Little Savory Dishes 19:17 Read by Phil Benson
13 - Observations on Potting and Collaring 25:26 Read by Phil Benson
14 - Observations on Possets, Gruel, &c; 13:29 Read by Phil Benson
15 - Observations on Wines, Catchup, and Vinegar 39:28 Read by Phil Benson
16 - Observations on Pickling 24:58 Read by Phil Benson
17 - Observations on Keeping Garden-Stuff and Fruit 7:41 Read by Phil Benson
18 - Observations on Distilling 6:18 Read by Phil Benson
19 - A Correct List of Every Thing in Season in every Month of the Year 15:38 Read by Phil Benson
20 - Directions for a Grand Table 3:13 Read by Phil Benson


(5 stars)

I love listening to audiobook recordings of old cookbooks and domestic treatises, and this one doesn’t disappoint. The wide variety of readers each brought their own energies to the chapters, and I could visualize with my mind’s eye the ‘lady of the house’ preparing the food or otherwise engaging in the activities described in this book. I urge LibriVox to find more books like this and bring them to life so we can enjoy them. (For those who would like even more of a visual, I recommend the Townsends channel on YouTube-they regularly make recipes found in old cookbooks such as these).

This is a must read (listen)!

(5 stars)

I searched for this document (book) because of a reference in Elizabeth David's book “English Bread and Yeast Cookery” under the section that discusses Sally Lunn Cakes (Buns). Wow what a find! Elizabeth Raffald must have been a fantastic chef and to have recorded all of her receipts in such a well organized well thought out manner makes her an author to be recommended with. Phil Benson had done an amazing job reading this book, so a special thanks to Phil!

Interesting Reference

(5 stars)

Don't know how 18th Century cooks kept up--of course these recipes were really for the 1% of that era! Most recipes are not very useful today, unless you want to practice open hearth cuisine; and some of them are seem dangerous, like 'curing' sour ale by adding powdered chalk, alabaster and plaster of Paris and 'stirring with a strong arm.'

for lovers of fine food

(5 stars)

what a great book coming from the mid 1700's I love old recipes and methods. While I may never build such amazing feasts as described, I most certainly will use the pastry 'receipts'that use fresh cream. Does anyone pickle walnuts these days? Thanks Phil Benson for such an evocative reading of instructions.

Interesting book.

(5 stars)

This book has some outdated recipes for today's use, however I find it so fascinating to learn about cooking in the 18th century. Phil Benson is a wonderful reader. He is one of my favorite readers on Librivox.