First, Catch Your Hare
Meet Hannah Glasse, the World’s First Cookbook Author and Google Doodle Star
She wrote the most famous cookbook in English history, but her name would never have been known had she not fallen on hard times. The fascinating tale of Hannah Glasse.
Legend had it, she began a recipe for cooking rabbit, “First, catch your hare.” Today, the world’s first great cookbook writer, Hannah Glasse, is celebrated in a culinary doodle on Google’s home page.
Englishwoman Glasse was one of the first people known to write down an extensive list of recipes bound into a book, and her signature dishes included Yorkshire pudding—a delicious savoury dumpling made of pancake batter served with roast beef at English Sunday lunches—and gooseberry fool, a dessert made with fruit and whipped cream.
The doodle shows her pushing a tray of ‘Yorkshire Puds’ into an oven.
Today is believed to be Glasse’s 310th birthday, hence the commemoration.
Her magnum opus, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, written in a simple and conversational style, became a global best seller, and has been only rarely out of print in the intervening centuries since it was published in 1747.
However Glasse, who learned her trade working in the kitchen of the 4th Earl of Donegall, was no celebrity chef. The book was merely attributed to a ‘a lady’ and her authorship might never have been known had she not been forced to sell the copyright after she fell on hard times, was declared bankrupt and consigned to a debtor’s prison.
Glasse’s cookbook included a total of 972 recipes, covering everything from puddings and soups, to what to serve at Lent, to preparing food for the sick.
The book saw Glasse described as "the mother of the modern dinner party" in a 2006 BBC documentary.
In 1994, a facsimile of the 1747 edition of Art of Cookery was published under the title First Catch Your Hare, however these actual words never appear in the book, rather Glass advises, "Take your hare when it be cas'd."