Reprinted from the Writers Almanac
It’s the birthday of Fannie Merritt Farmer born in Boston (1857). She’s known for publishing the first cookbook in American history that came with simple, precise cooking instructions.
She compiled all the recipes she had ever learned, along with advice on how to set a table, scald milk, cream butter, remove stains, and clean a copper boiler.
At first, all the publishers turned her down because they reasoned that these were all things young women could learn from their mothers.
Finally, Little, Brown agreed to publish the book if Fannie Farmer would pay for the printing of the first 3,000 copies.
It has sold millions of copies since.