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The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy – Introduction

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Art of Cookery Front Piece, Wikipedia

(Source: Wikipedia, public domain image)

The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy was written in 1747 by Hannah Glasse (1708-1770), and played a dominant role in shaping the practices of domestic cooks in England and the American colonies for over one hundred years.  It can be found in facsimile prints in limited number, but I found a PDF through Google Books.  It is an excellent reference for historical writers, reenactors, and living museums.  Hannah wrote mostly for the “lower sort” as she called them, domestic servants who might not have had much exposure to various cooking techniques or ingredients before entering the service of a larger household.  She wrote it in a simple language, and can come across at times quite condescending; her writing style, spelling variations, and punctuation are in themselves a fascinating look at the standard of printing and editing, and what was most likely “acceptable English” of the times.  I’ve tried to leave it as-is (sometimes the auto-correct sneaks by even the most diligent), with all the capital letters (much like German, with nouns capitalized), spelling oddities and punctuation.

She had a very clear opinion as to what was right and wrong, how a thing was to be prepared and “there is no other way to do it right.”  Many of the receipts (recipes) are still known, such as Hasty Pudding or Yorkshire pudding, while others would be unthinkable – whole Woodcocks or Ortolans, or how to prepare meat when it’s begun to stink.  There were a surprising variety of spices, herbs and ingredients used; she even included a few Indian curry recipes, reflecting the East Indian connections.   She minced no words on what she thought of extravagant (read wasteful) French cooking habits, and her disdain was evident in numerous passages.  Her recipes were by no means all original; many were common sense, but many were also shamelessly plagiarised from other works.  There are recipes of how to certainly avoid the plague, how a ship’s captain could have food prepared for long voyages, and recipes for medicinal purposes.

A fascinating historical document, reference work and recipe source (many purely for the pleasure of grossing out your kids or guests), I’ve decided to post as much of the document as I can decipher.

Here’s the Introduction, and the “pre-index”:


The Art of Cookery, made Plain and Easy

Which far exceeds any Thing of the Kind yet published.


I.  How to Roast and Boil to Perfection every Thing necessary to be sent up to Table.

II.  Of Made-dishes.

III.  How expensive a French Cook’s Sauce is.

IV.  To make a Number of pretty little Dishes for a Supper or Side-dish, and little Corner-dishes for a great Table.

V.  To dress Fish.

VI.  Of Soups and Broths.

VII.  Of Puddings.

VIII.  Of Pies.

IX. For a Lent Dinner; a Number of good Dishes, which you may make use of at any other time.

X.  Directions to prepare proper Food for the Sick.

XI.  For Captains of Ships; how to make all useful Things for a Voyage; and setting out a Table on board a Ship.

XII.  Of Hogs Puddings, Sausages, &c.

XIII.  To pot and make Hams, &c.

XIV.  Of Pickling.

XV.  Of making Cakes, &c.

XVI.  Of Cheese-cakes, Creams, Jellies, Whip-Syllabubs, &c.

XVII.  Of made Wines, Brewing, French Bread, Muffins, &c.

XVIII.  Jarring Cherries and Preserves, &c.

XIX.  To make Anchovies, Vermicelli, Catchup, Vinegar, and to keep Artichokes, French beans, &c.

XX.  Of Distilling.

XXI.  How to market; The Season of the Year for Butchers Meat, Poultry, Fish, Herbs, Roots, and Fruit.

XXII.  A certain Cure for the Bite of a Mad Dog.  By Dr. Mead.

XXIII.  A Receipt to keep clear from Buggs.

To which are added, One hundred and fifty New and useful Receipts, and a Copious Index.

By a LADY.

A New Edition. with The Order of a Modern Bill of Fare, for each Month, in the Manner the Dishes are to be placed upon the Table.


About Trinity

A melancholic pragmatist with a wide streak of mischief and an active imagination that turns into novels.

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