Glasse's book was frequently attributed to Ben Johnson. However, she was a real person and lived in Southampton Row, Bloomsbury. Of this edition, less than 15 copies are known to exist. A second printing also appeared in 1747, of which there are only about five known copies. K-State Libraries owns one of them.
To the Reader. - Page 1
I Believe I have attempted a Branch of Cookery which Nobody has yet thought worth their while to write upon: But as I have both seen, and found by experience that the Generality of Servants are greatly wanting in that Point, therefore I have taken upon me to instruct them in the best Manner I am capable; and I dare say, that every Servant who can but read will be capable of making a tollerable good Cook, and those who have the least Notion of Cookery can't miss of being very good ones.
If I have not wrote in the high, polite Stile, I hope I shall be forgiven; for my Intention is to instruct the lower Sort, and therefore must treat them in their own Way. For Example; when I bid them lard a Fowl, if I should bid them lard with large Lardoons, they would not know what I meant: But when I say they must lard with little Pieces of Bacon, they know what I mean. So in many other Things in Cookery, the great Cooks have such a high Way of expressing themselves that the poor Girls are a Loss to know what they mean: And in all Receipt Books yet printed there are such a an odd Jumble of Things as would quite spoil a good Dish; and indeed some Things so extravagant, that it would be almost a Shame to make Use of them, when a Dish can be made full as good, or better without them. For Example; when you entertain ten or twelve People you shall use for the Cullis a Leg of Veal and a Ham; which, with the other Ingredients, makes it very expensive, and all this only to mix with other Sauce. And again, the Essence of a Ham for Sauce to one Dish; when I will prove it for about three Shillings I will make as rich and high a Sauce as all that will be, when done. For Example; take a large deep Stew-pan, Half a Pound of Bacon, Fat and Lean together, cut the Fat and lay it over the Bottom of the Pan; then take a Pound of Veal, cut it into thin Slices, beat it well with the Back of a Knife, lay it all over the Bacon; then have six Pennyworth of the coarse lean Part of the Beef cut thin and well beat, lay a Layer of it all over, with some Carrot, then the Lean of the Bacon cut thin and laid over that; then cut two Onions and strew over, a Bundle of Sweet Herbs, four or five Blades of Mace, six or seven Cloves, a Spoonful of Whole Pepper, Black and White together, Half a Nutmeg beat, a Pigeon beat all to Pieces, lay that all over, Half an Ounce of Truffles and Morels, then the rest of your Beef, a good Crust of Bread toasted very brown and dry on both Sides: You may add an old Cock beat to Pieces; cover it close, and let it stand over a slow Fire two or three Minutes, then pour in boiling Water enough to fill the Pan, cover it close, let it stew till it is as rich as you would have it, and then strain off all that Sauce. Put all your Ingredients together again, fill the Pan with boiling Water, put in a fresh Onion, a Blade of Mace, and a Piece of Carrot; cover it close, and let it stew till it is as strong as you want it. This will be full as good as the Essence of Ham for all Sorts of Fowls, or indeed most Made-Dishes, mixed with a Glass of Wine and two or three Spoonfuls of Catchup. When your first Gravy is cook skim off all the Fat, and keep it for Use. This falls far short of the Expence of a Leg of Veal and a Ham, and answers every Purpose you want.
If you go to Market the Ingredients will not come to above Half a Crown; or, for Eighteen-pence you may make as much good Gravy as will serve twenty People. Take twelve Pennyworth of coarse lean Beef, which will be six or seven Pounds, cut it into a little Pot or large deep Stew-pan, and put in your Beef: Keep stirring it, and when it begins to look a little Brown pour in a Pint of boiling Water; stir it together, put in a large Onion, a Bundle of Sweet Herbs, two or three Blades of Mace, five or six Cloves, a Spoonful of Whole Pepper, a Crust of Bread toasted, and a Piece of Carrot; then pour in four or five Quarts of Water, stir all together, cover close, and let it stew till it is as rich as you would have it; when enough, strain it off, mix with it two or three Spoonfuls of Catchup, and Half a Pint of White Wine, then put all the Ingredients together again, and put in two Quarts of boiling Water, cover it close and let it boil till there is about a Pint; strain it off well, add it to the first, and give it a boil all together. This will make a great deal of rich good Gravy.
You may leave out the Wine, according to what Use you want it for: So that really one might have a genteel Entertainment for the Price the Sauce of one Dish comes to. But if Gentlemen will have French Cooks, they must pay for French Tricks.
A Frenchman, in his own Country, would dress a fine Dinner of twenty Dishes, and all genteel and pretty, for the Expence he will put an English Lord to for dressing one Dish. But then there is the little petty Profit. I have heard of a Cook that used six Pounds of Butter to fry twelve Eggs; when every Body knows, that understands Cooking, that Half a Pound is full enough, or more than need be used: But then it would not be French. So much is the blind Folly of this Age, that they would rather be impos'd on by a French Booby, than give Encouragement to a good English Cook!
I doubt I shall not gain the esteem of those Gentlemen: However, let that be as it will, it little concerns me; but should I be so happy as to gain the good Opinion of my own Sex I desire no more, that will be a full Recompence for all my Trouble: And I only beg the Favour of every Lady to read my Book throughout before they censure me, and then I flatter myself I shall have their Approbation.
I shall not take upon me to meddle in the physical Way farther than two Recipts which will be of Use to the Publick in general: One is for the Bit of a mad Dog; and the other, if a Man should be near where the Plague is, he shall be in no Danger; which, if made Use of, would be found of very great Service to those who go Abroad.
Nor shall I take upon me to direct a Lady in the Oeconomy of her Family, for every Mistress does, or at least ought to know what is most proper to be done there; therefore I will not fill my Book with a deal of Nonsense of that Kind, which I am very well assur'd none will have Regard to.
I have indeed given some of my Dishes French Names to dinstinguish them, because they are known by those Names: and where there is a great Variety of Dishes and a large Table to cover, so there must be Variety of Names for them; and it matters not whether they be call'd by a French, Dutch, or English Name, so they are good, and done with as little Expence as the Dish will allow of.
Nor shall I take upon me to direct a Lady how to set out her Table; for that would be impertinent, and lessening her Judgment in the Oeconomy of her Family. I hope she will here find every Thing necessary for her Cook, and her own Judgment will tell her how they are to be placed. Nor indeed do I think it would be pretty, to see a Lady's Table set out after the Directions of a Book.
I shall say no more, only hope my Book will answer the Ends I intend it for; which is to improve the Servants, and save the Ladies a great deal of Trouble.