London; Colchester: National Society's Depository; Printed by Spottiswoode, Ballantyne and Co. Ltd., 1917.
Small octavo (18.5 x 12.5 cm.), viii, [ii], 82 pages. Illustrated. Table of contents. FIRST & ONLY EDITION. Soused Mackerel, Irish Stew, Sea-Pie, Tripe and Onions, Swede Turnips, Treacle Pudding, Apple Charlotte: the eighty recipes are intended to reassure readers that standard English fare can readily be prepared economically in the cooking box. The phrase "fireless cooker" gradually replaced the expression "hay box" around the turn of the twentieth century, at least in urban centers. Hay boxes, often home-made and relatively primitive, continued to accompany farmers on long days in the fields of northern Europe. Somewhat sturdier wooden boxes with shaped pot holes and hinged lids seemed an advance, though tightly-packed hay still sufficed often for insulation. A number of publications such as The Cooking Box appeared as England prepared for war and the prospect of austerity and want threatened imminently. Constance Radcliffe-Cooke (d. 1963) saw the need for a pedagogical textbook, and consulted with principals of two schools of domestic science and one hospital quartermaster. The closing to her foreword reads "Much Marcle, Herefordshire," which places her at one of England's oldest houses, Much Marcle Audleys, later known as Hellens Manor, whose foundations date to the twelfth century. She was related (in a capacity yet to be determined) to Charles Walwyn Radcliffe Cooke (1840-1911), a farmer (conservative and anti-suffragist) who sat in the House of Commons, and a member of the first generation born after the intermarriage of the Walwyn and Cooke families of Herefordshire. In black-lettered, limp gray cloth; small stain on rear panel, and slight foxing internally and on flyleaves. Near very good. Scarce. [OCLC locates eight copies; not in Bitting or Cagle].