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The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy Paperback – June 1, 1998
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Top Customer Reviews
To appreciate what Hannah Glasse's work did for cooking, it's necessary to understand what place it had in the market of the 18th century -- it was the book for English-speaking cooks, even in Revolutionary times as popular in the Colonies as it was back home in England. It's a bit more in scope than a typical modern cookbook as well, including things like beer/wine/mead recipes and preserves that are usually in separate books today, and even an occasional home remedy. The recipes cover much classic British Isles cooking, including Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding, meat pies, Scotch Broth, and a good number of seafood recipes.
The recipes in question probably don't lend themselves much to modern kitchens, unless you've got a fireplace with pothooks and a beehive oven in the chimney. But it's still enough to make you imagine, and to realize that while the techniques have changed, food hasn't changed much in two hundred years and change. The recipes are done in a conversational style that seems strange in a cookbook but should feel familiar to anyone who's learned a recipe at someone's elbow. Don't expect precise measurements everywhere either; you're expected to be able to figure such things out on your own. (One bit of advice: unlike modern recipes, where you can pick out the ingredients and work as you read, it behooves the reader to study the recipe before hand and take notes if necessary.)
As I said, it's a facsimile of a later edition from 1804 or so, and includes updates that aren't distinguished from Glasse's original text (thus my one-star deduction, which is a highly subjective decision). That said, it's likely a faithful rendition of how early America ate, and an invaluable reference to anyone who wishes to learn how it was done back in the day.
I enjoyed the window into how cooking was done back then and found many useful tips seem to have been forgotten and
discovered all over again in recent times, such as overcooking vegetables.
From Glasse, pg. 35:
"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."
Finally, I enjoyed the rich diversity (modern term) of receipts to what was then called, "Ethnic cooking":
"Carrots and French Beans dressed the Dutch Way", "Marmalade of Eggs made the Jews Way", "Artichokes preserved the Spanish Way", etc.
Don't expect precise measurements or heating temperatures. To really appreciate this cookbook, you must also appreciate how food was cooked in the 16th through early 19th centuries - in a very large fireplace about 8 feet wide and 5 feet high, with a fire that shouldn't go out overnight lest you'll have to walk to your neighbor's sometimes a mile away for coals to start again for the breakfast meal.
Cooking times were from careful observation over what I'm sure were several disasterous results; and food was cooked in iron kettles weighing 30 or more pounds - imagine picking one up when full! Temperatures were regulated by changing the distance of the skillet or pot to the fire, not turning a knob as we do now. What appreciation I have for the women back then!
For cookbook aficianados or those interested in domestic history, it's a perfect addition to their libraries.
I was hoping that the for-purchase kindle version of this book might be better than the free online google draft (which looks to be just a bad copy job). Save your money! This version is significantly worse, there are additional letters in random places and at all paragraph breaks.
I was in a hurry to get this after visiting Virginia over Thanksgiving and touring the Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown and seeing several colonial cooking demonstrations. The women doing the demos recommended this book as the one they get most of their recipes from. The gift shop was sold out -- a good sign, I thought. I got home and, being the impatient sort, immediately downloaded the Kindle version. I returned it for a refund within five minutes. Its the Google scanned version, and the first page averaged about 4 scanning errors per sentence. It was completely unreadable. This thing needs a major proofread! I'm ordering the paperback version, and will update my review after I've had a chance to make some stuff. My son and I were salivating over the meat pies, various roasted fowl and pigs, and breads, desserts and veggies coming off the fires at Jamestown and Yorktown. Can't wait to try re creating these in my kitchen, and over the fire when we camp.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent reproduction. Fun to read and try some of the 18th century foods.Published 16 days ago by Wulfbait
My sister loves old cook books so this one was a perfect gift. This cookbook is printed exactly as it was originally written by Hannah Glasse back in the first years of our... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Jr72
DO NOT Buy. Probably the worst job of photo copying a book and then trying to OCR it I've ever seen. Page after page has garbled words and random characters. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Doug Wollan
The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy is a replication of a classic cookbook first published in 1747. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
I love to collect and read cookery books and this has got to be one of the more unusual and interesting ones that I have read. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Sue Kitt
Wish I had read that this was not a photocopy of the pages but a poorly-scanned copy. I realize that in 1805 English words are spelled differently. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Sandra G. Wilkinson
The Kindle Version is Nearly Unreadable and Should be Withdrawn from the MarketPublished 14 months ago by L. Temmen
A scanned copy of the original would have been more useful. Must have been written by a OCR software program. For example: To make butter'd water, or what the Germnns call egg. Read morePublished 14 months ago by John Lindsey