Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Mother of Level Measurements

Fannie Farmer

I was wandering about a second hand store and I found a rough copy of Fannie Farmer's cookbook. It reminded me of my mother as she had one years ago. I decided to not buy this copy as its pages were a bit gummy (yikes!). Instead, I checked Amazon and found a brand new copy that was on sale.


The cookbook arrived today and I am enjoying reading the recipes and techniques that Fannie Farmer suggests. I was very curious about Fannie Farmer. Who was she?

Fannie Farmer was born on 23 March 1857 in Boston, Massachusetts, United States, to Mary Watson Merritt and John Franklin Farmer, an editor and printer. Although she was the oldest of four daughters, born in a family that highly valued education and that expected young Fannie to go to college, she suffered a paralytic stroke at the age of 16 while attending Medford High School. Fannie could not continue her formal academic education;[1] for several years, she was unable to walk and remained in her parents' care at home. During this time, Farmer took up cooking, eventually turning her mother's home into a boarding house that developed a reputation for the quality of the meals it served.

At the age of 30, Farmer, now walking (but with a substantial limp that never left her), enrolled in the Boston Cooking School at the suggestion of Mrs. Charles Shaw.[1] Farmer trained at the school until 1889 during the height of the domestic science movement, learning what were then considered the most critical elements of the science, including nutrition and diet for the well, convalescent cookery, techniques of cleaning and sanitation, chemical analysis of food, techniques of cooking and baking, and household management. Farmer was considered one of the school's top students. She was then kept on as assistant to the director. In 1891, she took the position of school principal.[1](from Wikipedia)

Fannie Farmer was also known as the Mother of Level Measurement.

I have heard a homemaker referred to as a Domestic Engineer but not a Domestic Scientist before.

I like that!

Do you have a Fannie Farmer cookbook in your cookbook collection?

8 comments:

  1. This was very interesting to read, Gina. Level measurements have standardized recipes, that's for sure!

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    1. Lorrie, Sometimes I just wing it with my measurements but I know how important they are with certain types of recipes.

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  2. I do have a Fannie Farmer cookbook but I try hard not to look at any cookbooks. Ha, I avoid cooking as much as possible these days. I have a new respect for the book now and I'll pass the information on to my daughter who loves to cook.

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    1. Hi Linda. My desire to cook seems to come in spurts - It's either literally feast or famine!

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  3. Hi Gina, that is one cookbook I do not have! (And I have quite a few!) I loved learning about Fannie and her life. Now I will have to look for one of her cookbooks. I do think cooking is a science. I took two years of cooking classes when I was young. It has certainly paid off over the years. Blessings for your weekend. xx Karen

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    1. Karen, I'd love to take a cooking or baking class one day. I did take 3 semesters of Home Ec (cooking) in high school. Have a lovely evening! xx

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  4. Oh wow I never knew any of that about her life, very interesting. No I don't have her cookbook, mine are mostly ones that were given to me with recipes from church members of my in laws and from my Aunt.

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    1. Connie, I love those church recipe books! I had one from the church we were married in but I can't find it any more. Those recipes were all delicious!

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We all have our “good old days” tucked away inside our hearts, and we return to them in dreams like cats to favorite armchairs. ~ B. Carter