Foods and Feuds: Two Cooks of Hexham – an evening of culinary and theatrical experiment

Morpeth-based performing arts company November Club’s production Foods and Feuds: Two Cooks of Hexham, written by Fiona Ellis, delves into the life of Hexham’s Hannah Glasse, considered by many to be the first domestic goddess. 

But why was she so important? And why has she been forgotten?
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 cook book, ‘The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy’.
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.
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.
Cinzia Hardy, Artistic Director at November Club said: “Telling the untold stories of people from our region makes for fascinating storytelling.  I’m delighted to be working with Andy Hook again, returning to Blackfriars Cookery School with an expanded version of our foodie show  Foods and Feuds. At Dobson& Parnell we will work with chief Troy Terrington to reflect Hannah’s seasonal recipes as part of the meal served to the audience – weaving the action of the show around the food…exciting stuff!”.
This imaginary time travelling performance brings together Glasse and Ann Cook, her arch rival and fellow cook book writer who was also a Hexham lass. In this piece, November Club celebrate both of these strong, opinionated and underrated women for what they achieved in inhospitable times and recognise them for the pioneering characters they were.
Andy Hook, owner of Blackfriars Restaurant said, “I am delighted and thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such a prestigious company such as the November Club and to be involved with such an amazing story. To have the story told in our very own Cookery School of one of the first celebratory cooks harking from this region is just wonderful and we’re very much looking forward to it.”

Foods and Feuds: Two Cooks of Hexham will be performed at:
Dobson & Parnell on Wednesday 1st April 2020 at 7.00pm.  Ticket price £79 to include glass of fizz and canapé on arrival, following by a 5 course tasting menu.
Visit https://www.dobsonandparnell.co.uk/foods-feuds-wed-1-april/ for more information and to book. 

Blackfriars Cookery School, Newcastle on 30th March at either 6.30pm or 8.30pm.  Ticket price £57.50 to include a set menu dinner served in the stunning Banqueting Hall at 7.15pm.
Visit https://www.blackfriarsrestaurant.co.uk/events-and-offers/day/30-03-2020 for more information and to book. 

The play is written by Fiona Ellis, directed by Cinzia Hardy, designed by Imogen Cloët and its cast includes Kathryn Beaumont, Janine Birkett and Jackie Phillips, who all live in the North East. Foods and Feuds: Two Cooks of Hexham is supported by Arts Council England and Northumberland County Council.

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Media Contact:
Kathryn Row, Marketing and Audience Development Manager at November Club
E: [email protected]  T: 01670 457808