Agnes B. Marshall was the “Martha Stewart” of her day

Savory ice cream, intricate toppings, and complex molds are some of the things that you can find in a fancy restaurant. However, did you know that these things were also available in the 19th Century? Agnes Marshall, long before anyone discovered the exceptional culinary skills of Martha Stewart, was an expert in preparing such delicacies.

Her skills made her the most celebrated cook in the Victorian era and this legacy still lives on today. Marshall was born in 1855 in England and she taught hundreds of Victorian women how to cook by introducing new tools that made it easy for women to do various tasks in the kitchen.

According to Ivan Day, a renowned food historian who has successfully managed to recreate some of Marshall’s complicated recipes in his contemporary kitchen; Marshall taught English women how to prepare meals using very technical tools. Most of the recipes that are considered outdated by most people, such as anchovy biscuits, cream of rabbit in aspic, and turtle soups were first prepared by Agnes. During her era, women would prepare these recipes to show off their good taste, social status, and culinary capabilities to their husbands.

It is also important to note virtually all the recipes that Marshall created were designed to be enjoyed in overly decorated dining rooms that were usually filled with chivalrous men and corseted women. In 1885, her passion motivated her to open a National Training School of Cookery in London to teach servants and housewives how to cook excellent meals at home. People who could not afford to attend classes at the facility would purchase her cookbooks from local stores. She also went ahead and launched an employment agency where the rich women would hire graduates from her learning facility.

 

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