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Mrs. Goodfellow: The Story of America’s First Cooking School

May 14, 2013

Our mothers had Martha Stewart, Our grandmothers had Julia Child, And our great-great-great-great grandmothers had Mrs. Elizabeth Goodfellow.

In the early 1800s, Mrs. Goodfellow opened America’s first culinary school in Philadelphia. Located on Dock Street, Mrs. Goodfellow’s school educated women in Philadelphia- and quickly gained national acclaim. It was in her kitchen that young women from up and down the coast came to learn – not just food preparation, but – the finer arts of entertaining including table setting and manners as well as household management. Philadelphia is known as the city of many firsts, but few realize the impact it had on today’s culinary instruction. Mrs. Goodfellow not only taught Philadelphia’s young women how to cook – lessons that were handed down and documented through the generations – but she also pioneered the format of the written recipe and invented the lemon meringue pie, yet another “Philly first.” Mrs. Goodfellow insisted on only pure, wholesome ingredients. This attention to quality and freshness has come full circle today with the explosion of artisan cooking, farmer’s markets, and “buying local.”

Mrs. Goodfellow: The Story of America’s First Cooking School (Westholme Publishing, 2012)Becky Diamond chronicles the formation, life and times of this culinary revolution. This Saturday, May 18th, the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion will host a lecture by the book’s author, Philadelphia’s own Becky Libourel Diamond. She’ll provide a behind-the-scenes look at what it was like to be a student under this culinary innovator’s tutelage as well as bringing a display of documents from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s collection, including several historic cookbooks.  You will be able to sample Victorian era cookies and Indian corn bread, prepared by Mrs. Diamond. Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, Philadelphia, Saturday, May 18th, 2 pm

$25 Reservations can be made online or by calling The Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion at 215-438-1861. Visa and MasterCard accepted.

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