Colonial,  Culinary History,  Food History,  History

America’s First Cooking School

Did you know that Colonial America had what we would call today, a foodie capital? Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was a major harbor city and a center of early American trade and commerce. Since it was a place where so many ships were loaded and unloaded, it also became a place to find exotic new foods. Philadelphia’s market days bustled with activity. You could find farmers selling their extra produce right along with foods like pineapples, coconuts and ginger imported from the far flung Caribbean.

Since Philadelphia was such a bustling, foodie city, it was only natural that America’s first cooking school began here. The cooking school was started by a fascinating woman named Mrs. Elizabeth Goodfellow. Mrs. Goodfellow opened a pastry shop in Philadelphia in 1808. She became famous as an excellent baker and business woman. Later, she began to offer lessons in cooking to the public and the first American cooking school was born.

Mrs. Goodfellow is credited with many wonderful contributions to the culinary world. She wrote a cookbook that first introduced recipes as they are written now with the ingredients first and then the instructions. She is also credited with creating and introducing America to the lemon meringue pie.

If you would like to explore more Colonial American baking history, I recommend this wonderful book! They include the recipe for Mrs. Goodfellow’s very own lemon meringue pie too!


    • Candace

      Hi Becky! Thank you for commenting! Yes, his cookbook is one of my all time favorites. I had no idea that someone had written a book about Mrs. Goodfellow! I look forward to getting the book and reading it! That is wonderful that you wrote about her and I am so glad that her amazing story is being shared with the world! What was your favorite part about writing the book?

  • Becky Diamond

    Hi Candace! So nice to connect with a kindred spirit! I think my favorite part about writing about Mrs. Goodfellow was the detective work. I did so much research to piece together her story and learned a great deal about food history and the history of Philadelphia along the way. And that’s how I got to meet Chef Staib. He actually did a segment on her for his show, A Taste of History and invited me to speak about her for the episode. Here’s a link to it:
    I look forward to getting your blog updates!

    • Candace

      Hi Becky! Thank you for reaching out 🙂 I love that aspect of food history too hence this blog. As a did more and more research, I kept finding interesting things and wanted to share them! Thank you for the link to the video! I will definitely be watching it soon! Hope you enjoy the blog!

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