Reviews - What do customers think about The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy?
The Joy of Cooking of its day Dec 6, 2003
This book is a must-have for collectors of antiquarian cookbooks, even if it is a facsimile of a posthumous edition published in America. Makes me wish I had the appropriate kitchen.
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.
worth the purchase Jul 11, 2000
One of the best cookbooks of the time period. I use this cookbook to recreate 18th century receipts (recipes) for a living history museum. This book is not only informitive on 18th century cooking in general, many of the recipes can be cooked today. Try an onion pie and with the left over pie crust make kickshaws, a type of cookie with jam. This book will become your primary source for 18th century cooking and with its glossary it is better than many other editions.