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Hannah Glasse: Who was the cookery writer who taught us how to make Yorkshire puddings 'plain and easy'?

How 'the first domestic goddess' brought the Sunday roast to life

Harry Cockburn
Wednesday 28 March 2018 14:19 BST
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Hannah Glasse: Who was the cookery writer who taught us how to make Yorkshire puddings ‘plain and easy’?

For centuries, residents of the British Isles have found culinary comfort in the mysterious golden chemistry of the Yorkshire pudding.

The versatile doughy pockets have been used as an accompaniment to a variety of dishes, but they are best known as a vital component of the traditional Sunday roast.

With their deep puffy hollows and gilded crenellations, the Yorkshire pudding’s success lies in its simple magic - wrought from nothing more than flour, eggs and milk, the batter is bunged into the oven and what emerges is a lumpen, crispy beacon of British cookery.

They first became popular after wheat flour began to become commonly used in the production of cakes and puddings and there were various recipes from the 18th century that advised on how to create them at home. Early variations included a 1737 recipe for “dripping pudding”.

But the Yorkshire pudding surged to fame and gained its name ten years later, with the 1747 publication of the book The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse, the subject of today's Google Doodle.

Glasse, who has previously been described as “the first domestic goddess” and even “the mother of the modern dinner party”, saw immediate success upon the publication of her book, which was reprinted in its first year and then remained in print for almost a century in over 20 editions.

The book’s cover did not reveal Glasse as the author, but instead mysteriously stated it was “By a Lady”.

Despite the success of the work, Glasse did not prosper for long after the initial publication.

In 1754, she became bankrupt and was forced to auction her most prized asset - the copyright to the book.

In 1757, she was consigned to debtors’ prison but released later that year, whereupon she registered shares in a new book she had written in 1755, The Compleat Confectioner - it was also reprinted several times, but did not enjoy the same levels of success as The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy.

Glasse died in September 1770 aged 62, her contribution to the British Sunday assured.

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