Mrs. Goodfellow - The Story of America's First Cooking School combines methodical historical research, a compelling personal story, and surprising connections for the development of present-day cooking schools, which results in fascinating insights into the times of a nineteenth-century baker, culinary instructor, entrepreneur, woman, and widower. Making extensive and seamless use of historical sources such as maps, illustrations, insurance documents, architecture, archival materials, family letters, and photographs, Diamond cobbles together fragments of daily life for the inspiring and pioneering culinary figure of Elizabeth Goodfellow. The book merges narrative creativity and sound inquiry into chapters that explore the people, ingredients, dishes, cooking schools, and cooking techniques that bring the 19th century into relevance for the 21st-century reader. While Goodfellow’s students may have been from well-to-do families, her story underscores the demanding physicality of her culinary existence as a single woman and business operator not so long ago. It also places Philadelphia and regional cookery into the larger context of a developing nation with uniquely American trajectories.
Diamond’s research serves as a wonderful source and model for those interested in the history of food, cooking schools, women’s studies, and labor. Diamond adeptly links a distinct chain of influences comprised of European traditions, Goodfellow, Eliza Leslie, and Fannie Farmer to the emergence of modern era of land-grant home economic programs, Julia Child, and celebrity chefs.
~ Dr. Glenn R. Mack, EdD, President, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Atlanta