Foods and Feuds: Two Cooks of Hexham – an evening of culinary and theatrical experiment
This imaginary time-travelling performance brings together the 18th-century publishing phenomenon, Hannah Glasse, and Ann Cook, her arch rival and fellow cookbook writer, both of whom happened to be Hexham lasses. In this work-in-progress piece, November Club celebrates both of these strong, opinionated and underrated women for what they achieved in inhospitable times and recognises them for the pioneering characters they were
Glasse was born in 1708; her father was a Hexham gentleman but unfortunately, he was not married to her mother at the time. He took her away from her not very reliable mother and brought her up in Northumberland with his wife and family. Hannah’s own marriage was perhaps happy though ill-advised. She married secretly at 16 to a husband who turned out not to be a great provider. Hannah herself earned their living in part by writing the first significant popular cookbook, ‘The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy’.
But Hannah saw few of the proceeds - she was forced to sell her copyright to pay her debts in 1754. So others benefited from Hannah’s skill and possibly made small fortunes on the back of her talent. Women all over the world will recognise that injustice.
No one knows quite how many editions the book had - more than twenty, perhaps forty. It was owned by American Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, by Benjamin Franklin and many other notables on both sides of the Atlantic.
We need your help to tell this little known story into full production!
You can support us by giving as little or as much as you wish. Every £1 counts. We are a not-for-profit organisation, a registered charity and an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.
We will be showcasing our work-in-progress at Queen's Hall Arts in Hexham on 21 May 2019 and Blackfriars Restaurant in Newcastle on 23 May 2019. The full production will then be performed in 2020.