However, one name that would be guaranteed not to appear on any such list would be a certain Hannah Glasse, a cookery writer whose heyday was sometime during the mid 18th century. But, thanks to a chance discovery of a 200-year-old cookbook, Glasse’s recipes are currently enjoying something of a resurgence in popularity.
It is thought that The Art of Cookery was one of the very first cookbooks to appear in English (it was first published in 1747), and is credited with introducing the nation to what was to become one of our favourite dishes – the humble chicken curry. And remarkably, the recipe - which involves frying chicken with herbs and spices before adding stock and cream - is startlingly similar to today’s versions of this much-loved classic.
Unsurprisingly, the book also features a variety of recipes which have failed to stand the test of time, with baked calf’s head and pickled pigs’ feet meriting particular mention. Also unlikely to stage a comeback are Glasse’s various ‘cures’ for ailments such as rabies and the plague (!)
“I have not wrote in the high profile style. I hope I shall be forgiven, for my intention is to instruct the lower sort and therefore must treat them in their own way.”
“So much is the blind folly of this age that they would rather be imposed on by a French booby, than give encouragement to a good English cook!”Quite what Hannah Glasse would make of the proliferation of Italian, Spanish and French dishes favoured by our modern-day domestic goddesses is anyone’s guess!