Magdalena Dobromila Rettigová

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Portrait of Magdalena Dobromila Rettigová by Jan Vilímek

Magdalena Dobromila Rettigová (January 31, 1785 - August 5, 1845) was Czech writer known for her famous cookery book.

Rettigová, née Artmann, was born in Všeradice, into a German-speaking family. Her childhood was not happy and her father died in 1792. In 1808 she got married to Jan Alois Sudiprav Rettig, Czech patriot from half-German speaking family. Under his influence she learned to speak and write correctly in Czech language and also started to use middle name Dobromila. Rettigová was active in Czech National Revival movement, also helped to found an educational institute for girls (her main advice for the girls was to keep their husband happy no matter what). Of her 11 children only three survived into adult age. She died, aged 60, in Litomyšl.

Her early literary works were mostly syrupy and sentimental texts. In 1826 Rettigová published her legendary recipe book called A Household Cookery Book or A Treatise on Meat and Fasting Dishes for Bohemian and Moravian Lasses (Domácí kuchařka aneb Pojednání o masitých a postních pokrmech pro dcerky české a moravské). This book became a 19th-century bestseller and for a long time remained the only cookery book written in Czech. Rettigová continued to improve the book with culinary experiments.

The cookbook is well known until today though most of its recipes, high on fat and carbohydrates, don't fit with modern lifestyle. The book is still being reprinted and a copy can be found in libraries of many Czech households.

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