Friday, August 12, 2011

50 Women Game-Changers in Food - #10 Hannah Glasse and Mrs. Beeton - Excellent Rolls and Shrewsbury Cakes



Hannah Glasse - Shrewsbury Cakes



Mrs. Beeton - Excellent Rolls

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This week, those of us who are working our way through the Gourmet Live list of the 50 Women Game-Changers in Food, had our most difficult challenge to date. Hannah Glasse and Mrs. Beeton, both of whom wrote popular cookbooks in 18th and 19th century England, share the spotlight. You'll better understand the difficulty the group faced as you read through the recipes here, and on the sites of the other participants. The exercise was really interesting, though not one I'd choose to repeat. Both these women deserve a spot on the Gourmet list for their efforts in developing recipes for homemakers in the burgeoning ranks of the Georgian and Victorian middle-classes. It would not be an over-statement to consider them to be the Martha Stewart of their respective times. Their historical importance, especially in Britain, can't be denied, but I do question their positional placement on the list here in the United States. As you might suspect, the recipes are archaic and don't work really well in today's kitchens. It is fascinating to browse through books like this, but they can be frustrating to work with. I'm including a bit of information about each woman and the recipes I used to produce the food in today's pictures. You should know that the Beeton recipe does not work as it is written. It took some colorful language and additional liquid to make the dough for her rolls. Both recipes are curiosities. If you have patience and like to step outside your comfort zone, you might enjoy giving them a try. I, however, promise nothing.

Hannah Glasse and Shrewsbury Cakes...courtesy of Celtnet Recipes

Hannah Glasse wrote The Art Of Cookery in 1794 to support herself after her marriage to a ne'er-do-well fell apart. It was one of the first simple recipe books for British homemakers and it was wildly successful. Unfortunately, the woman who was once described as queen of the dinner party, lost her fortune and spent the later years of her life in a debtor's prision. I've chosen to represent her work with her recipe for Shrewsbury Cakes. The cakes, as you can see, are actually cookies.

Original Recipe
Take two pounds of flour, a pound of ſugar finely ſearced, mix them together (take out a quarter of a pound to roll them in) take four eggs beat, four ſpoonfuls of cream, and two ſpoonfuls of roſe-water, beat them well together, and mix them with the flour into a paſte, roll them into thin cakes, and bake them in a quick oven.

Modern Redaction:
Ingredients: 900g plain flour 450g powdered sugar 4 eggs, beaten 4 tbsp cream 2 tbsp rose water.
Method: Combine the flour and sugar in a bowl. Remove 115g and set aside for dusting your work surfaces. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, cream and rose water. Gradually add the flour and sugar mix, beating thoroughly to combine. Bring the mixture together as a dough then turn out onto a work surface dusted with the reserved flour and sugar mix. Dust the top of the dough and your rolling pin then roll out about 3mm thick. Cut into rounds with a fluted pastry cutter and transfer to a lightly-greased baking tray. Prick the tops of the biscuits then transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180°C and bake for about 12 minutes, or until cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool before serving or storing.

Mrs. Beeton and Excellent Rolls...courtesy of Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management

Isabella Beeton's Book of Household Management was published in 1861. She wrote the book in a four year period that began when she was 21 years old. The book is still in print today. She was married to a publisher and turned to cooking and writing following the death of her first child. She died of pueperal sepsis following the birth of her fourth child. She was 28 years old at the time. I chose a bread recipe to represent her work. As it turned out, it was a poor choice. It did not work as written.

Recipe
Ingredients
For every lb. of flour allow 1 oz. of butter, 1/4 pint of milk, 1 large teaspoonful of yeast, a little salt.
Method
Warm the butter in the milk, add to it the yeast and salt, and mix these ingredients well together. Put the flour into a pan, stir in the above ingredients, and let the dough rise, covered in a warm place. Knead it well, make it into rolls, let them rise again for a few minutes, and bake in a quick oven. Richer rolls may be made by adding 1 or 2 eggs and a larger proportion of butter, and their appearance improved by brushing the tops over with yolk of egg or a little milk.
Time
1 lb. of flour, divided into 6 rolls, from 15 to 20 minutes.

The following bloggers are also paying tribute to Hannah Glasse and Mrs.Beeton. I hope you'll visit all of them.

Val - More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets
Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud
Mary - One Perfect Bite
Kathleen -Bake Away with Me
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue - The View from Great Island

Next week we will highlight the food and recipes of Patricia Wells, a personal favorite of mine. It will be really interesting to see what everyone comes up with. If you'd like to join us please email me for additional information. Everyone is welcome.

43 comments:

polwig said...

Oh man that does sound like a mouth full. It took me a little bit to figure out those squiggly thins were Ss, you girls are very brave.

Angie's Recipes said...

I love both recipes, but the buns particularly!

tandysinclair.com said...

One wonders if at the time anyone could actually afford to buy recipe books? Thanks for sharing your experience :) Have a lovely weekend Mary :)

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

My Mum had Mrs Beeton's Cookery Book, she swore by it for many many years, I wonder what happened to it? I would love to take a look through it now. Take care Diane

Ruth said...

I have a much treasured Mrs Beeton book from the 1930's. It is amongst the things I would save if the house were on fire. I always use it for recipes such as rice pudding, and jams and pickles!

Karen S Booth said...

WONDERFUL! I have books, OLD books by both authors, and I LOVE them both......and I also love Shrewsbury biscuits,have not made them for a while but you have tempted me # lovely photos too!
Karen

Alessandra said...

I didn't know Hannah Glasse and Mrs.Beeton and haven't used lb and pints for ages! Even here in NZ are not used anymore (I remember having to put them in when I did my first book, but not ever since... I actually forgot!!!

Ciao
Alessandra

Maris (In Good Taste) said...

Fascinating post. A bit of history that love.

bellini said...

These ladies were definitely more of a challenge. Their cookbooks were the best of the day. I am so glad we have come as far as we have in recipe development.

Dzoli said...

I am always fascinated by old cookbooks.For me those were true masters of teh kitchen..not having tools or preknowledeg and still rwting masterpieces like that.I do agree their recepies are hard to follow and they often make me smille but I stilln keep reading them:)

Sue/the view from great island said...

Mary, I needed your rolls to go with my stew! They look so good, wish we could put all our dishes together and have a grand old Victorian feast!

Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger) said...

Great work adapting these. Lovely photos.

The Magic Pie said...

I didn't know them.. thank you! :))) I like both the recipes.. see you soon!!!! have a nice weekend :D

Inspired by eRecipeCards said...

as always... Love the series. i listen to a British podcast cooking show and they are always referencing their "mother's Mrs. Beeton" as in an old out of date recipe. VERY happy to hear a respectful side.

Dave

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Oh, how I've missed reading your posts while without internet access! =) blessings ~ Tanna

Susan Lindquist said...

The rolls look beautiful! You must have done a great job of 'translating the measurements' - something that I found daunting in reading some of the more complicated receipts!

I thought the Shewsbury Cakes looked very much like a shortbread recipe, but your cakes are indeed cookies that 'cook out to a wafer-like cookie.


I admire your taking on both ladies, Mary! I plan to make Hannah Glasse's Lobster, but it's just been too busy a week for me to be near deadline ...

Jenn said...

Thanks for going out of your way to include the extra instructions :) I bet both of these recipes are delicious... love the look of the cakes!

Kim said...

These two recipes looks good. It's good to go with some old classics... These rolls looks so perfect, I'll try these!

PeggyR said...

Both recipes sound wonderful.

Gloria said...

Look delicious I love this post Mary, huggs, gloria

Karen Harris said...

And I thought my 1962 copy of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook was ancient. I love this series of recipes and the stories behind them.

yummychunklet said...

Those cakes look simply fantastic.

Katie said...

You really went for it this week with recipes by both of these women! I'm looking forward to Patricia Wells next week as I've never made anything by her before. As always, thank you for organizing this!

girlichef said...

Oh yeah, I definitely ran into my share of frustrations this week...so much that I almost threw my hands in the air and said forget it (actually I did w/ Glasse...couldn't take it). But Mrs. Beeton's book was more "doable" for me and though I went simple, I wasn't disappointed. It looks like your "cakes" and rolls turned out beautifully :D

From the Kitchen said...

As I just told Val, Hannah Glasse is new to me. Mrs. Beeton and I are old friends. Thanks for the introduction and remembrance.

I hope you have a delicious weekend.

Best,
Bonnie

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Kudos to you for sticking to the task. I would have never guessed the challenges you faced, as both recipe photos look beautiful. I particularly think the rolls are gorgeous.! Ah, bread. With fall coming, it's time to dig up yeast. I'll admire the photos, but go on to try something less challenging!

Cooking Creation said...

Love the history as I have never heard of them! Thanks for sharing :)

Renee @ MyKitchenAdventures said...

wow...I am in awe.

lena said...

i sometimes wonder too why certain recipes dont work at all but nowadays certain food authors do have their phone numbers or email included in the book just in case any enquiries on the recipe. Thanks for all the links you provided, will be glad to know them.

Joanne said...

I have to say, I love seeing the old recipe next to the modern interpretations. Beautiful cakes and rolls!

Ginny said...

So you made them and these are the pictures? They look lovely! Did you like them? Quite a challenge. I have never heard of either of these women...

lostpastremembered said...

I love playing with old recipes and, in their defense, ingredients were slightly different than they are now. I think you were very brave to try and it's good to celebrate these lost heros of cooking!

nanny said...

The cakes look delicious....appear not too sweet....just what I like! With a tall glass of cold milk.

lisa is cooking said...

Reading historic books like these is so interesting. Your rolls look great, so must have had good patience with the process!

That Girl said...

It's amazing the changes we've made in recipes over the past hundred years.

Kathy said...

Mary, Your Shrewsbury cakes and Excellent rolls are beautiful! Enjoyed reading your post. I definitely felt these women were a bit of a challenge too! Have a great week end!

Lynn said...

What a wonderful post. I read a biography of Beeton not too long ago (can't remember the name) but it was really a fun read. Seems like so many of the early cookery writers were married to ne'er-do-wells. I believe her husband had catted around quite a bit before marriage and there was some speculation that perhaps her health issues, including early death, had something to do with venereal disease (!!). Anyway, fascinating stuff, and what a great idea these posts are. When I inherited a bunch of my great-great-grandma's recipes, I have found the same thing, the results are very hit and miss. But fun recipes to try, nevertheless. Thanks so much for the entertaining post :)

Ryan said...

Such an interesting post about these two women! I've never heard of Hannah Glasse but find Mrs. Beeton fascinating. There's a BBC movie about her life that I keep wanting to watch and think its amazing how her book still serves as a reference guide! The recipes look lovely!

Elaine said...

I just want to read more about these two women. I have so enjoyed this series, Mary. Both of these recipes look fabulous! Have a great weekend.

Miranda said...

Mary, you did such a great job explaining the complexities of these women and the recipes of their time. Great job modernizing everything though!

Rosita Vargas said...

l love this look delicious post mary look perfect I love, hugs and blessings.

Jamie @ Wokintime said...

I'm really enjoying this series! I know what you mean about old cookbooks. My mom's Honpa Hongwanji Cookbook circa 1976 is the beginning of local island cookbooks in Hawaii, but whenever I make something the recipes seem incomplete. Like a teaser, it leaves you asking so many questions! But I still love it.

Taryn (Have Kitchen, Will Feed) said...

Love that you chose the baked goods - I was a little afraid to!

AddThis

Related Posts with Thumbnails