What Was Happening When This 205-Year-Old Cookbook Was Published?

After I was recently asked about the oldest book we have on hand, I discovered that it was a copy of an 1815 printing of Louis Eustache Ude’s The French Cook, which originally appeared in London in 1813.  Ude was a fascinating guy, a chef’s chef. You can read more about him and the book we have right now by clicking here. Nach did some very interesting work tracking this volume down and learning about the author.

But I was intrigued by the thought of how much the world had changed since Ude had written his book. So here’s some perspective on the 205 years between the book’s pub date and today.

In 1813:

  • George III is King of the United Kingdom, but due to a recurrence of the mental illness which had plagued him, his son is serving as Prince Regent
  • The Royal Philharmonic Society is founded in London
  • Pride and Prejudice is published anonymously
  • Construction starts near Newcastle on Tyne on Puffing Billy, which is now the oldest surviving locomotive in existence
  • Napoleon’s armies are at war in Europe, but losing ground to the Sixth Coalition, made up of Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and cluster of German states
  • Antonin Careme closes his Paris pastry shop, Pâtisserie de la rue de la Paix
  • James Madison is President of the United States, leading the country in a war against the UK, which results in the burning of Washington, DC a year later
  • American clockmaker Seth Thomas sets up a factory in Plymouth Hollow, Connecticut
  • Among the people born this year, future American presidential candidate Stephen Douglas, philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, and composer Giuseppe Verdi
  • Italy is not yet a country
  • Simon Bolivar is a key figure in the revolt against the Spanish crown in South America
  • In Mexico, the last devastating epidemic of the deadly fever known as Cocoliztli takes place; it runs for two years but has not recurred since
  • A rebellion against China’s Qing dynastry attacks the Imperial Palace in Beijing
  • The pineapple is introduced to Hawaii

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