Hannah Glasse: the First Domestic Goddess and her cookbook
January 1, 2016 3:03 PM   Subscribe

As the Georgian Era progressed, the middle class expanded in size and wealth, emulating the opulent lifestyle of the aristocracy as they could. To that end, Hannah Glasse, who grew up with the life of a land-owner's daughter, then married a soldier and ended up serving an earl's household, brought her knowledge of high living to the middle classes and their households in three books. The most notable was The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy, for which she earned the titles the first domestic goddess, the queen of the dinner party and the most important cookery writer to know about.

The other two books The Servant's Directory, or House-Keeper's Companion (review) and The Complete Confectioner, Or, Housekeeper's Guide: To a Simple and Speedy Method of understanding the whole Art of Confectionary (Archive.org) came out after Glasse's best seller. The Art of Cookery was known in Europe and in the American colonies, where it was in Martha Washington's collection of books. One of the first simple recipe books, and made her a wealthy celebrity. Sadly, she later lost her fortune, and ended up in a debtor's jail. And she has some detractors in more modern times, due to the fact that roughly a third of her recipes were lifted practically word-for-word from other sources.

Still, her recipes are (relatively) simple works from the time period (as compared to the dishes prepared for nobility by their extensive staff) that have been made in recent times, as seen in these six videos from James Townsend and Sons (previously) YouTube channel, and "translated" a time or eight around the internet.
posted by filthy light thief (4 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
Great post, flt! I was familiar with Glasse and The Art of Cookery, but I never knew there was this much information available about her. This is great.
posted by teponaztli at 3:06 PM on January 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thanks! Glasse and her book were new to me until today, when I saw her mentioned in The Great British Bake Off (s04 e03) in reference to the Trifle and addition of jelly.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:26 PM on January 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also, the Independent link (... "the most important cookery writer to know about") references a series of BBC drama-documentaries about cookery writers, one of which covers Hannah Glasse as "The First Domestic Goddess. Sadly, I can't find the video anywhere, because Glasse's story is told in fits and starts, with varied depictions.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:30 PM on January 1, 2016

Thank you! Heritage cookery is a topic of abiding interest to me! Much appreciat'd.

Yr ob't svt,
posted by mwhybark at 3:57 PM on January 1, 2016

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