The Robert E. Lee Family Cooking and Housekeeping Book

By Anne Carter Zimmer

304 pp., 6.125 x 7.5, 91 illus., appends., notes, bibl., index

  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-6765-5
    Published: September 2009

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Part cookbook, part culinary history, part family history, this book is an engaging and enlightening glimpse into the household of a well-to-do, mid-nineteenth-century Virginia family. Seeking to learn more about her ancestors' daily lives, Anne Zimmer, great-granddaughter of Robert E. and Mary Lee, turned to her great-grandmother's small, now shabby notebook. Packed with recipes, shopping lists, and other domestic jottings, the notebook opened an intimate window onto an earlier way of life.

With recipes for breads, cakes, puddings, sweets, soups, main dishes, vegetables, drinks, and home remedies, The Robert E. Lee Family Cooking and Housekeeping Book will serve as a ready reference on traditional American cookery. For each entry, the author provides the original recipe, helpful notes on the ingredients and techniques employed, and instructions--based on careful kitchen testing--for adapting the recipe in the modern kitchen. Peppered throughout with family stories and illustrated with photographs from the Lee family and other archives, the book is both an informative investigation of southern foodways and a fascinating look at one family's household history.

About the Author

Anne Carter Zimmer, great-granddaughter of Mary and Robert E. Lee, is a writer who collaborated on six previous books before, as she writes, "finding her family" with this one. She lives in Virginia.

For more information about Anne Carter Zimmer, visit the Author Page.


"Charming. . . . [Zimmer] provides details on almost every aspect of culinary arts of the last century. . . . [A] delightful book for anyone who wants to know about day-to-day life in the mid-1800s. It is exquisitely done."--Civil War Courier

"Southerners true to their heritage--the abiding value of family and food--will find pleasure in The Robert E. Lee Family Cooking and Housekeeping Book. . . . The foods and recipe portions of the book [are] a nostalgic delight."--Greensboro News and Record

"Anne Carter Zimmer has blended the ingredients of recipe experimentation, family traditions, and regional heritage into a confection with a message."--Southern Quarterly

“For the cook, the historian, the Robert E. Lee enthusiast, and the dilettante reader, this is a truly useful and charming volume.”--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"I love this book! The great-granddaughter of Robert E. Lee, Anne Carter Zimmer has taken a faded little notebook full of Lee family chat and recipes, added months of research, and dished up an insider's glimpse of the great Confederate general 'at home.' She also gives us an illuminating portrait of the Lee family before and after the Civil War."--Jean Anderson, author of The American Century Cookbook

"Delving deeper than the usual 'who married whom' and 'whose daddy did what,' Zimmer explores how the Lees lived their daily lives, focusing on the foods they ate and how they ran their homes. . . . Even more interesting, Zimmer provides some light gossip and shares a few intimate details of the Lees' domestic lives, which gives the reader refreshing insight into their human frailties. . . . Most Southern cooks will probably find the recipes intriguing and the content of the book entertaining and historically enlightening--even if their ancestry is not included in the Lee family tree."--Taste Full