Case 11 books on confectionery

Mid-Nineteenth Century Works on Confectionery


As sugar came within reach of more and more consumers, candy-making throve and books on making confectionery were ever more widely published. Cookbooks presented confections as a grace note to the table, indispensable to those who meant to entertain handsomely. Meanwhile, authors touted confectionery as a necessary accomplishment for women, placing it firmly in the realm of feminine activity.

Eleanor Parkinson The Complete Confectioner, Pastry-cook, and Baker: Plain and Practical Directions for Making Confectionary and Pastry ... With Additions and Alterations by Parkinson, Practical Confectioner... 1849

Philadelphia confectioner Eleanor Parkinson, who opened her shop in 1818, based this on an English work, Read's Confectioner.


"Confectionary is the poetry of epicurism ; it throws over the heavy enjoyments of the table the relief of a milder indulgence, and dispenses the delights of a lighter and more harmless gratification of the appetite."

The Art of Confectionery: with Various Methods of Preserving Fruits and Fruit juices; the Preparation of Jams and Jellies; Fruit and Other Syrups ... Also Different Methods of Making Ice Cream, Sherbet, etc. The Receipts are from the Best ... Confectioners ... 1866

"While the preparation of soups, joints, and gravies is left to ruder and stronger hands, the delicate fingers of the lady of the household are best fitted to mingle the proportions of exquisite desserts, to mould the frosted sugar into quaint and fanciful forms, and to tinge these delicious trifles with artistically arranged colors. It is absolutely necessary to the economy of the household, that this art should form a part of every lady's education. ... This fact is becoming generally acknowledged, and the composition of delicate confections is passing from the hands of unskilled domestics into the business and amusement of the mistress of the household."

The Confectioner's Hand-book. 1868

This work includes directions for clarifying sugar, explanations of the stages of sugar boiling, and directions for many complicated procedures. It addresses "the practitioner" and the quantities given suggest that it was directed at a professional in a small way of trade — candy making at the artisanal, not the industrial level — or at an ambitious home cook. It could be that it was aimed partly at women wanting to start a home business making candy, which would have been in the narrow range of socially sanctioned ways for a woman to make money.