In the 18th century, English life started to breed the frantic, money-fueled materialism that we are familiar with today. As the middle classes grew, there was an increasing demand for books to save the lady of the house from the task of teaching her kitchen maids. Many households cooked for themselves. Books such as Hannah Glasse’s, The Art of Cookery, were directed at the servants, and were written in plain and accessible language.

The first edition of Hannah Glasse’s book, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, was published in London in 1747. It became a bestseller for over a hundred years, both in England and the colonies, and a second edition was published within a year of the first.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned a copy and Benjamin Franklin translated it into French. Over the many years that I’ve been hearth cooking, I’ve used many of her receipts so I thought receipts combined for a meal would make a wonderful workshop. What you might not know about Hannah is that she was a housewife and this was a way for her to make some badly-needed money. Even though this seems bit altruistic, the book was written for the common good, and like so many other cookbook authors of the times, she too copied directly from other books. However, she added a few new receipts and including ingredients like Indian Curry and Asian food.

Unfortunately, Hannah Glasse was not successful making money with the book, and she went into bankruptcy by 1754. She needed to sell her copyright to stay afloat and therefore relinquished all control of further publications of her first book. She wrote again, her second book , The Servants Directory in 1755, was on the management of a household. But still debt plagued her and she ended in debtor prison for a while. Free by 1757 she wrote her third and last work, The Complete Confectioner. This was reprinted several times, but did not match the past success. So the newer editions of The Art of Cookery, with Modern Improvements, was mostly copied from the original , but not written by Hannah Glasse, who by that time had long since departed this world, passing away in 1770.

The anchor of the meal is a roast leg of lamb:

The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy – Hannah Glasse, 1747

To collar a breaſt of veal.
To Collar a breast of mutton, do the same way and it eats very well

TAKE a very fharp knife, and nicely take out all the bones, but take great care you do not cut the meat through ; pick all the fat and meat off the bones, then grate fome nutmeg all over the inſide of the veal, a very little beaten mace, a little pepper and falt, a few feweet-herbs fhred fmall, fome parfley, a little lemon-peel fhred fmall, a few crumbs of bread and the bits of fat picked off the bones; roll it up tight, ftick one fkewer in to hold it together, but do it clever, that it ftands upright in the diſh : tie a packthread acroſs it to hold it together, fpit it, then roll the caul all round it, and roaſt it. An hour and a quarter will do it. When it has been about an hour at the fire take off the caul, drudge it with four, baſte it well with freſh butter, and let it be of a fine brown.

Bob prepares the butterflied lamb and spreads it with the herbs mixture. Leslie helped by toasting the bread to be made into crumbs for the filling.

Untitled-1 copyThen it was rolled up with bacon and tied, placed on the spit, and put before the fire with a pudding pan underneath to catch the drippings

2For a dessert I chose “To make White Pot” with “Clear Lemon Cream.” Hannah has two receipts for white pot, one plain and one with rice and sweet meat. We used the addition of the sweet meat for the first White Pot. I have a fondness for this and don’t make it for myself, as I would eat the whole thing.

First the cream and egg mixture, with all the spices, needs to be heated and then cooled. The bread is sliced and buttered on one side. This was all assembled, and it sat a while for the bread to soak up all the liquid.
3It was time to put the Yorkshire pudding together.
Before Hannah’s first edition of the The Art Of Cooking was published, Yorkshire Pudding, was called Dripping Pudding. So the receipt has nothing to do with Yorkshire Scotland or England. A baked pudding under the roast before a fire was called a dripping pudding way before the War of the Roses.

 A Yorkshire Pudding
Take a quart of milk, four eggs, and a little salt, make it up into a thick batter with flour, like pancake batter. You must have a good piece of meat at the fire; take a stew-pan and put some dripping in, set it on the fire ; when it boils, pour in your pudding ; let it bake on the fire till you think it is nigh enough, then turn a plate upside down in the dripping-pan, that the dripping may not be blacked; set your stew-pan on it under your meat, and let the dripping drop on the pudding, and the heat of the fire come to it, to make it a fine brown. When your meat is done sent to table, drain all the fat from your pudding, and set it on the fire again to dry a little; then slide it as dry as you can into a dish; melt some butter, and pour it into a cup, and set it in the middle of the pudding. It is an excellent good pudding; the gravy of the meat eats well with it.

The batter for the Yorkshire Pudding was made early by Kate and kept cool, away from the fire. This gave the flour time to absorb the wet ingredients.

Once the lamb had been dripping for half an hour, the dripping pan was removed and the batter carefully placed back under the roast. You could hear the sizzle the batter made as it was poured into a smoking hot dripping pan.

4As I mentioned we would be making a lemon sauce for the white pot. Kate peeled the lemons, simmered them in water on the hearth. This lemon juice was then strained through a cloth and poured into a bowl that had sugar and egg white beaten. Leslie watched as Kate stirred the pot to thicken the sauce.

white pot digbysJPG5Hannah’s receipt to “To Dress Potatoes” and “To Dress Asparagus” were next on the lineup.

Very few cooks had Hannah’ s love of al dente vegetables. In her book she suggest the following:

“Directions concerning Garden Things
MOST people spoil garden things by over-boiling them. All things that are green should have a little crispness, for if they are over-boiled, they neither have any sweetness or beauty”

Leslie boiled the potatoes whole in a kettle over the fire when they were done she and Deana peeled them. Leslie chopped chives, parsley, thyme and rosemary very fine and sprinkled them over the potatoes after they were cut and buttered. These would go into the bake oven to brown.

SCRAPE all the stalks very carefully till they look white, then cut all the stalks even alike, throw them into water, and have ready a stew-pan boiling;. Put in some salt, and tie the asparagus in little bundles. Let the water keep boiling, and when they are a little tender take them up. If you boil them too much you lost- both colour and taste. Cut the round of a small loaf, about half an inch thick, toast it brown on both sides, dip it in the asparagus liquor, and lay it in your dish: pour a little butter over the toast, then lay your asparagus on the toast all round the dish, with the white tops outward. Do not pour butter over the asparagus, for that makes them greasy to the fingers, but have your butter in a basin, and send it to table.

Leslie was in charge of the asparagus. We discussed Hannah’s use of the bread. It seemed to us that the toast should have been left dry to soak up the liquid from the asparagus and not have more poured on it. However, Leslie did follow the directions and with the added butter on the side the crisp asparagus turned out just as Hannah would have made it.

7Mrs. Glass had many excellent cooking techniques, she also expected a roast of meat to be well-browned, and not soggy, as if it were baked.

Our lamb was just that, brown and crisp on the outside and just enough pink inside to suit us all. The Yorkshire pudding is nothing like the modern version, it is dense and has a subtle flavor of lamb and bacon, a combination that can’t go wrong.

13Hannah would be proud of these vegetables, the asparagus was al dente, and the potatoes soft outside and crisp on the outside, with a great flavor of herbs and butter.

14The white pot came out and was moist and had perfect layers of sweet meets in-between the bread. The lemon sauce, made with egg whites to thicken it, added just the right amount of tang to counterbalance the sweet dessert.

10 copy Hannah’s cookery book was not written for the kings and gentry’s chefs. It was written for the common women. However, our meal was fit for a king.

15Each dish was made with many helping hands and as Hannah writes, “who can but read, will know how to do Cookery well.” And we did well.

Hannah Glasse: The original domestic goddess
“Centuries before Elizabeth David put garlic on our menus, in the days when Mrs. Beeton was still a Miss, one book transformed the eating habits of the nation.” The first domestic goddess, the queen of the dinner party, and the most important cookery writer, Hannah Glasse.”
Rose Prince

Court Cookery

Robert Smith spent eight years cooking under a Mr. Lamb, the cook to His Majesty King William. During this time he jotted down many receipts that he thought better than others. When he left there he went to live in the families of the Dukes of Buckingham, Ormond, D’Aumont (the French Ambassador), and others of the Nobility and Gentry.

The receipt we used in the workshop came from his 1725 book Court Cookery Or The Complete English Cook: Containing The Choicest And Newest Recipes. I also sneaked in one receipt from Sarah Tully’s personal receipt book 1745. It just seemed to round out the menu.

With all the receipts handed out, everyone started in. First and foremost were the French rolls. The starter was made the night before and Susan added the rest of the ingredients and set them to rise.

Heather started on the sauce for the cauliflower and cut all the flowerets in smaller pieces

1a1 copy

To Drefi Colliflowers with Butter First pick them very clean and boil them over a quick Fire with Water Salt and a few Cloves when tender drain them well and lay them in little dishes Take for Sauce which must be very thick, Butter, Vinegar ,Salt Nutmeg a little Pepper and sliced Lemon Roll up your Butter in Flower to thicken the Sauce

On a trivet over coals, Heather made the lemon sauce for the cauliflower receipt above. Wendy was in charge of making Sarah Tully’s receipt for Pilau below. This was made in a kettle hung over the fire on a crane.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPaul floured the chicken for the fricassee, then began making the batter for the Caraway Cake. I needed an extra receipt to keep everyone busy so I included a lemon cream which Susan made.
Untitled-1 copyThe chicken fricassee also has meatballs in it. Wendy mixed it together and made small rounds. These were fired for a bit then mushrooms were added. When they were browned they were taken out and set aside.

1a5A  Brown Fricajsey of Chickens, or Rabbets
CUT them in pieces, and fry them in brown Butter; then have ready a Pint of hot Gravy, a little Claret, White-wine, strong Broth, two Anchovies, two shiver’d Pallats, a Faggot of sweet Herbs, a little Pepper, Salt, Mace, Nutmeg, and some Balls; thicken it with brown Butter, and squeeze on it a Lemon.

To make Force Meat Balls
Pound of Veal and the fame Weight of Beef suet and a Bit of Bacon shred all together beat it in a Mortar very fine then season it with sweet Herbs Pepper Salt Cloves Mace and Nutmegs and when you roll it up to fry add the Yolks of two or three Eggs to bind it; you may add Oysters or Marrow at an Entertainments

Once again the starter for the Cake was made the night before. Paul creamed the butter and sugar, added the started and more flour, caraways, currants which were soaked in brandy, spices and the liquids. This made a thick batter.

1a3 copyWhile Paul beat the batter, Wendy and Heather tied the brown paper to the bottom of the bottomless cake tin that was buttered and floured.

1a4 copyWith a few of the receipts in different stages of readiness, Allan and Paul sat on the porch which was warm from the sunny day. (Yes, that is snow out there, lots and lots.)

1a7 copyThe dough had risen and Susan cut it into equal pieces to make rolls. Paul put the chicken into the spider and cooked it to a golden brown.

1a6copy The lemon cream was heated over the fire by Susan and when it coated the back of a spoon she took it off. The cream needed to be stirred until it was cool so it would not separate. Heather was waiting for the water to boil for her cauliflower, so she took the task of stirring the lemon sauce until it was cool. 1a8

To make Lemon Cream

Take three smooth Malaga Lemons pare them and squeeze out the Juice, and cut the Peel in Small Pieces and put it to the Juice for three Hours cover it close and when it tastes of the Peel add to it the Whites of five Eggs and the Yolks of two and a half beat this well with two spoonfuls of Orange Flower Water strain it and sweeten it with double refin’d Sugar  and  strain it before you set it over a gentle clear Fire and stir it carefully till it’s as thick as Cream Put it into your Jelly Glasses and let it stand two or three Days

The chicken was removed from the pan, and the wine, broth and spices were added. The chicken and meatball/mushroom mixture were put in the sauce along with a faggot of fresh herbs. This was covered and simmered for 25 minutes.

1a9The French rolls went into the bake kettle and the caraway cake into the bake oven. As you can see, the oven was a bit hotter than we would have liked. However, the rolls came out wonderful.

1a10 copyWith all the receipts cooked, it was time to sit and enjoy our meal.1a12 Heather’s lemon sauce on the cauliflower was delightful, and Robert Smith’s receipt is wonderful easy too. Even Allan liked it.


As I’m typing this, I’m having a leftover roll and coffee. Even after a few days the rolls are still delicious. I think it is the ale and yeast starter that makes all the difference.

Sally Tully’s Pilau rice was a real hit. Mixed with the lemons, herbs and a stick of butter we decided this was a keeper of a rice receipt. The chicken and meatball fricassee had a wonderful flavor and went well with the Pilau.3


And last but not least, when life gives you lemons you make lemonade.
Susan and Wendy decided that the burnt part of the cake could be sliced off and because we had made a lemon sauce they were going to make trifle. And they did. It was scrumptious.

1a11My arm is now out of the cast and doing fine. I’m looking forward to the next two workshops. One on Hannah Glasse’s receipts, and the last one, a mix of receipts for Spring.
I love my fireplace and the snow, however, I am looking forward to SPRING.

Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors – it’s how you combine them that sets you apart. Wolfgang Puck

(SL)*  Thanks to Susan Lindquist for the great pictures.