Eliza Acton was born in Battle, Sussex, England, the daughter of a brewer. At age 17, she co-founded a girls' school near Ipswich. Her first collection of poems was published in 1826, mostly on the theme of disappointment in love. She published further individual poems in local publications. Her best-known work is Modern Cookery for Private Families, first published in 1845. It was the product of several years of research and testing. It quickly became extremely popular and remains a standard cookbook. It was an immensely influential work in its day for its clarity, style, and attention to detail. It established the format for all modern cookbook writing, listing the exact ingredients required for each recipe, the time needed to prepare, etc. Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management (1861) was closely modelled on it. Eliza moved to London, where she contributed household hints and recipes to the Ladies' Companion and wrote her other book, The English Bread Book (1857). She died in 1859, at age 59.