It took Sean Brock nearly eight years to track down this book. 

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Getting a chef to pick a favorite cookbook is like asking a parent to choose her most-loved child. But F&W pressed great cooks around the country to reveal their top picks of all-time.

The Chef: Sean Brock

The Book: The Unrivaled Cookbook and Housekeeper’s Guide, by Mrs. Washington (1885)

The author of this book is unknown, but what is known is that she (or he) chose the pseudonym Mrs. Washington in honor of our first president. “It’s an old 19th-century cookbook and was one of the first published and written about Creole and low-country cuisine,” Brock says. “It’s hard to get a copy. I’d been looking seven or eight years for one and just found it the other day.”