Historical Cookbook Database

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A search for “cheesecake,” for example, will result in 189 references, including Robert Abbot’s 1790 recipe for almond cheesecake, Hannah Glasse’s 1805 recipe for lemon cheesecakes, and E. Smith’s 1742 recipe for potato or lemon cheesecake. If this research on the evolution of cheesecake makes you want to learn more about Robert Abbot himself, you’ll find that his 1790 Housekeeper’s Valuable Present or Lady’s Closet Companion also included instructions for how “to make very good wigs.” Another quick search will yield that in the late 1700s, “wigs” were a kind of bun or scone, rather than a style statement—but that, as in Hannah Glasse’s work, cookery books of the era often did contain recipes for both wigs (buns) and to “preserve hair and make it grow thick.”

A Database of 5,000 Historical Cookbooks Is Now Online, and You Can Help Improve It, Reina Gattuso in Atlas Obscura