Meet the original British domestic goddess

On March 28, Hannah Glasse, the woman who brought the humble Yorkshire pudding to our Sunday roasts, was honoured in Google's "doodle” – the temporary artistic logo featuring on the search engine’s homepage.

But while we are forever grateful for the delicious golden doughy treat Hannah gifted to our dinner table, it’s far from the only feat she achieved in her lifetime.

Born in London on March 28, 1708, Hannah penned a book that would not only change the way home cooks approached the dinner table but would feature in best-selling lists for over 100 years.

Having held a household position in the home of the 4th Earl of Donegall for decades, Hannah had picked up quite a few tricks during her years in the kitchen. And when she and her husband, John Glasse, retired she decided to put her knowledge to good use. So The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy was born.


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Penned in 1747, unlike other cooking manuals, Hannah wanted to use “plain language” so that servants could follow her instructions. And in addition to having the first version of the humble Yorkshire pud with its pages, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Simple – which would go on to sell in America and Dublin as well as the UK – also included the first mention of popular condiment piccalilli as well as one of the first recipes in English for an Indian-style curry.

It was this combination of easy-to-understand instructions married with then-exotic ingredients (cinnamon, pistachios and nutmeg were starred) which saw Hannah become name-checked as not only the world’s first domestic goddess but as the mother of the modern dinner party.

Hannah Glasse paved the way for current domestic goddess Nigella Lawson.

Sadly, Hannah did not prosper long from her hit book. Faced with bankruptcy in 1754, she was forced to auction off the copyright to her brilliant book. And while she wrote a follow-up, 1755’s The Compleat Confectioner, a stint in debtors prison in 1757 saw her sell off all registered shares in that publication.

Hannah died penniless in September 1770 at the age of  62. However, the gift she gave to the cooking world is priceless, as was the trail she blazed for many female chefs to come.



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