Hannah Glasse: The First Domestic Goddess

On Wednesday 31 January the documentary "Hannah Glasse: The First Domestic Goddess" was shown on BBC 2. Hannah Glasse (1708-1770) was the author of The Art of Cookery (1747), a cookery book which was reprinted 33 times within 50 years and which was the best-selling cookery book of the 18th century. Glasse’s cookery book included the first curry recipe published in Britain!For those of you who missed the documentary, have a look at the following website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/features/hannah-glasse.shtml. If you have access to ECCO you can even have a look at this popular 18th century cookery book yourself.

 

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  1. ingrid tieken

    Yesterday, in my Late Modern English class, we watched the documentary, and checked the book as it appears in ECCO. ECCO has 23 copies of it, two of which were published in 1747. This testifies to the immediate popularity of the book. It was originally published anonmyously: the title-page just mentions that it was written “By a lady”. The book was published “for the author”, which confirms what was said in the documentary, that Hannah Glasse tried to keep publication in her own hands. This was, they said, the secret of her success. She published the book by subscription, and the subscription list is included in the book itself. This is very interesting, for it allows us to study her reading public. Mostly, it consisted of women, and mostly they were women from the middle classes. The language of the book is also of interest: the meat should cook until it is “enough”, rather than “done”. I expect there is a lot more that is of great interest in the book, from various perspectives.

  2. ingrid tieken

    It was a very interesting documentary, absolutely so. A bit gruesome at times, I must admit I didn’t quite watch the skinning of the hare (I’m not planning to do so myself in the near future). Documentaries like this are very useful in sketching a background to the times, and I’m going to show it in the first class of my Late Modern English course next week.

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