William Kitchiner

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William Kitchiner
William Kitchiner.jpg
Portrait of Kitchiner
Died1827 (aged 51–52)
London, England
Resting placeSt Clement Danes, City of Westminster, London
Known forCook's Oracle, crisp, creator of Wow-Wow sauce

William Kitchiner M.D. (1775–1827) was an English optician, inventor of telescopes, amateur musician and exceptional cook.[1] A celebrity chef, he was a household name during the 19th century, and his 1817 cookbook, The Cook's Oracle, was a bestseller in the United Kingdom and the United States.[2] The origin of the crisp (also known as potato chip) is attributed to Kitchiner, with The Cook's Oracle including the earliest known recipe.[3][4]

Unlike most food writers of the time he cooked the food himself, washed up afterwards, and performed all the household tasks he wrote about. He travelled around with his portable cabinet of taste, a folding cabinet containing his mustards and sauces. He was also the creator of Wow-Wow sauce.

The Cook's Oracle[edit]

Caricature of Richard Martin, William Kitchiner, Samuel Phillips Eady: Martin's Bill in Operation (published 1924).

The Cook's Oracle, whose full title, Apicius Redivivus, or the Cook's Oracle, was first published in 1817.[5] It is also listed as The Cook's Oracle: Containing receipts for plain cookery on the most economical plan for private families, etc. It includes eleven ketchup recipes, including two each for mushroom, walnut and tomato ketchups, and one each for cucumber, oyster, cockle and mussel ketchups.

The book contains what may be one of the earliest references to crisps, in a recipe for "Potatoes fried in Slices or Shavings", which instructs the reader to "peel large potatoes, slice them about a quarter of an inch thick, or cut them in shavings round and round, as you would peel a lemon; dry them well in a clean cloth, and fry them in lard or dripping".[3][4]

Other books[edit]

  • The Invalid’s Oracle
  • The Housekeeper's Ledger
  • The Traveller's Oracle
  • The Art of Invigorating and Prolonging Life
  • Horse and Carriage Keeper's Guide
  • The Pleasures of Making a Will
  • The Sea Songs of Charles Dibdin, ed.
  • books on singing and on choosing opera glasses.

Books about Kitchiner[edit]

  • Dr. Kitchiner and the Cook's Oracle - Elspeth Davies ISBN 1-872795-83-8
  • Dr William Kitchiner: the Cook's Oracle: Regency Eccentric - Tom Bridge, Colin Cooper English ISBN 1-870962-07-9


External links[edit]