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OP: Fancy Ices

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by A.B. Marshall

Smith Settle, 1999. Hardcover. Fine, issued without jacket. Numbered limited edition of 300.

Agnes Bertha Marshall, best known as Mrs. A. B. Marshall (1852–1905) was one of the truly remarkable women of late Victorian Britain. A seemingly tireless food entrepreneur, she founded a cooking school, wrote several cookbooks, and was a lecturer, inventor, manufacturer, importer, and more.

She is most remembered for her contribution to the making and popularizing of frozen desserts. Her encyclopedic Mrs. Marshall’s Book of Cookery (1888) contains the first known reference to the ice cream cone, and she is credited as the first to suggest using liquid nitrogen in the freezing process.

But it is her two books dedicated to the subject, The Book of Ices (1885) and Fancy Ices (1894), that made Mrs. Marshall a household name. The latter book, which we offer here, includes all varieties of frozen desserts—bombes, puddings, souffles, mousses, and sorbets. No upper-class Victorian fête could be complete without:

  • A Parisian cucumber cream—pistachio and angelica folded into sherbet and frozen in a cucumber-shaped mold, served over nougat
  • Individual servings of coffee ice served in “fancy cups,” ideal for “tennis parties, etc.”
  • A souffle of red gooseberry, raspberry, and currant puree, flavored with claret and maraschino syrup
  • Strawberry mousse lined with frozen pistachio custard and filled with strawberry compote

Thirty pages of illustrated advertisements, most of which are for Marshall’s own products and inventions (which are also called for in the recipes), can be found in the back material and make for enjoyable browsing. 

This handsome facsimile was printed and bound for former East Sussex bookseller Liz Seeber in a limited edition of 300 in 1999. It is hand numbered and bound in royal blue cloth, the cover title and image illustrated in silver, mimicking the design of the original self-published edition. Fine, issued without dust jacket.

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