Art of Cookery

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Title page and frontispiece to The Art of Cookery in an early posthumous edition.

Written in 1747, Hannah Glasse's (1708–1770) The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy represents one of the most important references for culinary practice in England and the American colonies during the latter half of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th. It was the dominant reference for home cooks in much of the English-speaking world during its original publication run, and it is still available (in somewhat limited quantity) and used as a reference by those doing food research and historical reconstruction. As is the case in modern times for The Joy of Cooking, the book was updated significantly both during her life and after her death, before finally passing out of print in the mid-19th century.

Glasse wrote mostly for domestic servants (the "lower sort", as she referred to them), writing in a conversational style familiar to anyone who has learned a recipe at the elbow of a parent or grandparent. The food is surprisingly recognizable, with staples such as Yorkshire pudding and gooseberry fool still known and eaten today, and there are even early traces of the Indian food that eventually became naturalized in the UK. She showed marked disapproval of French cooking styles and in general avoided French culinary terminology.

Some of the recipes in Glasse's book were plagiarised, even reproduced verbatim from recipes published in earlier books by other writers. Jennifer Stead writes in the introduction to the Prospect Books facsimile of the book that Glasse lifted extensively.[1]

Several facsimile editions are still in print, though primarily as a historical work rather than a modern cooking reference.


In 1995, Prospect Books published a facsimile edition of the 1747 edition of the book, with introductory essays by Jennifer Stead and Priscilla Bain, and a glossary by Alan Davidson. ISBN 0-907325-58-0

In 1997, Applewood Books published a paperback facsimile edition of the Alexandria 1805 edition (the first American edition, printed in Alexandria, VA, USA, by Cottom and Stewart) of the book, with an introduction and glossary by culinary historian Karen Hess. Applewood Books: Bedford, Mass. ISBN 978-1-55709-462-9


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