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Florence White (1863-1940) lost her mother when she was six and, a year later, was blinded in one eye (which put paid to her ‘prospects’). She worked as a governess, a teacher, a lady’s companion and a writer on The Lady and Home Chat. For six years she was a cook-housekeeper, ‘the happiest… and most illuminating experience of my life’ and, from the 1920s onwards, lived impecuniously in Chelsea as the first-ever ‘freelance journalist specialising in food and cookery’ and, in particular, in English cookery. She realised that ‘we had the finest cookery in the world, but it had been nearly lost by neglect,’ and wrote four books including, in 1932, the classicGood Things in England, an essential source-book for traditional English cookery from which all subsequent writers have drawn, and as great an influence as the work of Mrs Beeton and Elizabeth David.
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