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Florence White: Britain’s First Freelance Food Journalist

Florence White (20 June 1863 – 12 March 1940)

I came across this article in the May 1940 edition of Housewife magazine. It’s tribute to English cookery writer Florence White. She was a much respected recipe book writer, freelance cookery journalist and cookery school founder.

FLORENCE WHITE died on March 12 this year, aged 76, and HOUSEWIFE readers, we feel sure, were particularly sorry to hear the news. Not only was she a great upholder of the dignity of the English housewife and proud of the traditions of English cookery, but she was also a regular and popular contributor to this magazine from the beginning.

People used to write to the Editor to say how much they appreciated the fact that (unlike, apparently, the majority of recipes that appear in women’s magazines) Florence White’s recipes really worked.

And no wonder. In addition to years of training as a cook, she served for six years as domestic servant in cap and apron in other people’s kitchens. It was because of her practical experience of cookery as it is done in ordinary households that her articles, when she began to write them, at once found a market.

Florence White believed that English cookery is equal to any in the world. She travelled all over the country collecting recipes from country houses, mansions and cottages. Her book “Good Things in England,” published in 1932, has become a classic. You will be glad to hear that you have not seen the last of Florence White’s recipes in HOUSEWIFE. We are in the fortunate position of possessing an unpublished cookery book of hers called “The Bride’s Cookery Book,” from which we hope to publish extracts from time to time.

Florence White’s book, Good Things in England, has been republished by Persephone Books and is available to purchase online here.