Almanac: Fannie Farmer

And now a page from our "Sunday Morning" Almanac: January 7th, 1896, 122 years ago today … the day Fannie Merritt Farmer published "The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book."

Born in Boston in 1857, Fannie Farmer overcame a stroke in her teens to enter and eventually lead the Cooking-School.

Fannie Farmer Watches Student Cook

Cooking instructor Fannie Merritt Farmer (1857-1915) is shown with one of her pupils, Martha Hayes Ludden, at Farmer's Boston cooking school, where recipes were kitchen-tested and formulated.

Bettmann/Getty

Her breakthrough cookbook was based on the science of nutrition, and -- uniquely for its time -- featured precise measurements.

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CBS News

"Good judgment, with experience, has taught some to measure by sight," she wrote, "but the majority need definite guides."

And definite guides her cookbook provided, for virtually every imaginable dish.

Fannie Farmer went on to found her own cooking school in 1902, and despite another stroke in later life, worked right up to her death in 1915 at the age of 57.

Her cookbook, however, lived on, inspiring generations of cooks, including Christopher Kimball, the creator of public television's "America's Test Kitchen": "The idea was to actually just open the book and start cooking food," Kimball said.

In 2009 Kimball masterminded a 12-course dinner straight from the original cookbook, prepared by a team of cooks using authentic ingredients, cooked over an antique woodburning stove, and served to the acclaim of a tableful of guests.

A meal just like Fannie Farmer herself used to make. 

      
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