Maria Parloa


Maria Parloa lived from 25 September 1843 - 21 August 1909.

Born in Massachusetts, she grew up as an orphan.

She was interested in the science of cooking, and was a big believer in how kitchen technology would transform women's lives. In 1880, in "A Guide to Marketing and Cooking", she advocates that women should buy practically every kitchen gadget they see. By 1908, however, disillusionment had set it, and she was admitting that few of the gadgets actually made any great difference in the kitchen.

The Walter Baker Cocoa and Chocolate Company used her as a spokesperson. She also had an early association with the famous Boston Cooking School.

She was part owner of the Ladies Home Journal magazine, and wrote regularly for it from 1891 on.

Many credit the first tomato soup recipe to her, based on her Tomato Chowder recipe which appeared in The Appledore Cook Book

Chronology of her life

  • Maria started her career with various cooking jobs in homes and hotels. She also worked at the Appledore House summer resort on Appledore Island off the New Hampshire coast, where she was the pastry cook
  • 1871 -- At the age of 28, Maria began studies at the Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield, Maine. She attended the school for two years, and completed her training as a teacher.
  • 1872 -- Maria published The Appledore Cook Book
  • 1873 -- Maria moved down to Florida to a small town south of Jacksonville called Mandarin. She would spend winters there for the next 5 years, teaching school.
  • 1876 -- Maria gave a lecture on cooking. The purpose was to raise money for a Sunday school organ down in Mandarin, but she was praised for the talk and it helped start her career as a cooking teacher.
  • 1876 -- Taught a course in Domestic Science at Lasell Seminary in Auburndale, Massachusetts.
  • 1877 -- Maria gave more lectures in Boston, and a lecture to the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle in Chautauqua, New York.
  • 1878 -- Maria opened a cooking school in Boston on Tremont Street.
  • 1878 -- Maria spent the summer in England and France, learning more about cooking.
  • 1879 -- In March, Maria started lecturing at the newly founded Boston Cooking School (she kept her own school going.) One of the first two teachers there and one of the first directors of the school, she was popular, but too expensive for them, so was let go in 1880.
  • 1883 -- Maria opened a school in New York as well. At her New York school, she gave free classes in the evenings to immigrant girls.
  • 1887 -- Maria was well-off enough to cut back on her actual teaching. She moved to Roxbury, Massachusetts.
  • 1894 -- Maria went back again to France for a stay.
  • 1898 -- Maria moved back to New York.
  • 1903 -- Maria moved to Bethel, Connecticut. She took in two orphans to live with her.
  • 1909 -- Maria died, in the midst of planning a return trip to Europe. She was buried at Forest Hills Cemetery, Boston. The public library in Bethel was founded on 8 November 1909 on the $2,000 and books that she left in her will for this purpose. Her bequest allowed the library to rent a location for $3.00 a month above a store on Greenwood Avenue in Bethel, and be open 8 hours a week. The library has the only known individual photo of her.

Books by Maria Parloa

  • 1878: Camp Cookery
  • 1879: First Principles of Household Management and Cookery
  • 1880: Miss Parloa's New Cook Book: A Guide to Marketing and Cooking
  • 1884. Practical Cookery with Demonstrations
  • 1887. Miss Parloa's Kitchen Companion
  • 1893. One Hundred Ways to Use Leibig Company's Extract of Beef
  • 1893. Miss Parloa’s Young Housekeeper
  • 1898. Home Economics: A Guide to Household Management
  • 1909: Chocolate And Cocoa Recipes, By Miss Parloa (for the Walter Baker chocolate company)
  • 1904: Canned Fruits, Preserves, and Jellies (for the USDA)
  • 1906: Preparation of Vegetables for the Table (for the USDA)


Literature & Lore

"Steel imparts a disagreeable flavor to cooked fish. Never use a steel knife or fork in serving it." -- Maria Parloa. In Home Economics, 1898.