Not by Bread Alone: America's Culinary Heritage


Robert Roberts.
The House Servant's Directory

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This guide to household management was one of the first books written by an African American to be issued by a commercial press. The author, Robert Roberts (ca. 1780-1860), wrote the book while in the employ of Christopher Gore (1758-1827), a U.S. senator and governor of Massa-chusetts.

Roberts worked for Gore at Gore's country estate from 1825 to 1827. His book is typical of many English and American household manuals of the period, offering a vast store of information on running a large home. It gives instruction on everything from how to plan meals, polish silver, and concoct remedies for minor ailments, to how to treat servants.

Roberts' manual provides a unique window into the work habits and thoughts of America's domestic workers, and into antebellum African American culture and life.

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continue to American Taste

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Robert Roberts. The House Servant's Directory, or, a Monitor for Private Families…Chiefly Compiled for the Use of House Servants. Boston: Munroe and Francis; New York, ; C.S. Francis, 1828.
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early cookbooks
american taste
the elegant table
temperance and prohibition
food nutrition and science
corpulency, leanes, and dietary reform
kitchen technology
food processing and manufacture


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