Hannah Glasse

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Hannah Glasse (baptized March 14, 1708 in London ; † September 1, 1770 there ) was an English cookbook author. She is the author of the most famous 18th century British cookbook, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy . It was published in 1747 and had 20 editions in the 18th century alone. In the 1980s, however, researchers found that many of the recipes in their books were copied from other cookbooks and not by herself.


Hannah Glasse was the illegitimate daughter of the Irish widow Hannah Reynolds; her father was Isaac Allgood, who was married to another woman. She was baptized on March 24, 1708 and probably grew up in Hexham , the hometown of Allgoods. Her mother left the place before 1713, and Hannah lived with her father and her half-brother Lancelot (1711–1782). After the death of her stepmother in 1724, she came to London to live with her grandmother. A short time later, against the will of the family, she married John Glasse, a native Irishman who had served in the Scottish Army. When he married, he stated his age as 30, but was actually much older. 1728 the couple moved to Broomfield in Essex , where the Count ( Count ) of Donegal worked. After the Countess died in 1732, she lived again in London.

The couple had financial problems as John Glasse did not have a steady income. Hannah Glasse sold a supposed health elixir called Daffy's Elixir for a while to make money. John Glasse died in the summer of 1747 and his wife opened a clothing store in London. Her cookbook, The Art of Cookery , had just been published and her financial situation had improved. She was not a good business woman, however, and went bankrupt in 1754 with over £ 10,000 in debt. The business continued as it was registered in the name of her daughter Margaret, but Hannah Glasse was forced to sell her rights to the book The Art of Cookery . In 1757 she was sent to the debtors' prison for a few months because she was again completely insolvent .

Hannah Glasse had a total of ten children, five of whom reached adulthood: Hannah (* 1728), Margaret (* 1729, † after 1760 in Jamaica ), Catherine (* 1734), Isaac (* 1735, † 1773 in Bombay ) and George (* 1740, † 1761). She herself died in London in 1770 at the age of 62, as reported by brief obituaries in London Magazine and Newcastle Courant .


Title page from The Art of Cookery

The Art of Cookery was published anonymously in 1747, without any information on the author. It was aimed at housewives of the lower bourgeoisie, who were to guide their kitchen staff with the help of the book. It was offered to the public in a China shop in London. For a long time, a man was suspected as the real author, as the editor Charles Dilly had suggested before the historian Madeline Hope-Dodds in 1938 proved the authorship of Hannah Glasse. In the 1980s, however, it was found that many of her recipes did not come from her at all, but had been copied from others. This discovery was first made by Jennifer Stead, who published an essay on the subject in 1983. Of the 972 recipes in the book, 263 are copied verbatim from The Whole Duty of a Woman , first published in 1737, and around 90 more are from other sources.

Plagiarism used to be relatively widespread, especially in cookbooks. In the Kingdom of Great Britain , the first copyright law was passed in 1709, but it did not apply to recipe books and cookbooks. Several British cookbook authors of the 18th century nevertheless honestly called their books a "collection" or gave their sources. Hannah Glasse, however, claimed to publish her own recipes that had not yet appeared in this form. She heavily criticized the supposedly “extravagant” French cuisine in her book, but in contradiction to this she also adopted recipes in a clearly French style. Their open hostility towards the French style of cooking was probably calculated in order to win over the readers of the addressed class because it was hostile to French culture.

The cultural historian Alan Davidson judges the success of the book that it is based “partly on coincidence, mostly on unscrupulous plagiarism, hardly at all on innovations in the style and organization of the recipes to which she claimed herself, and in small but decisive ways Measure on their marketing talent. "

The phrase "First catch your hare", often referred to as a quote from The Art of Cookery , does not appear in the book at all.

In December 1757, Glasse published a book entitled The Servants Directory on Housekeeping. A little earlier, The Complete Confectioner , which was basically just a copy of a book by Edward Lambert from 1744, was a plagiarism.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Alan Davidson, The Oxford Companion to Food, 2nd. ed. Oxford 2006, p. 340 f.
  2. ^ The British Library on The Art of Cookery
  3. ^ Alan Davidson, The Oxford Companion to Food, 2nd. ed. Oxford 2006, p. 340 f. Original quote: “Hannah Glasse (…) owed the fame (…) in part to chance; in great part, unscrupulous plagiarism; in almost no part, to innovations in the style and organization of recipes, for which she claimed credit; and to a small but significant extent, to her marketing abilities. "