November Club are proud to present Food and Feuds: Two Cooks of Hexham available from the comfort of your own home, on demand! 

An imaginary time travelling performance, food, feuding, drama, and laughter are promised as Hannah Glasse and Ann Cook are brought together in the same room, as a guest on Esther Blumenberry’s cookery programme ‘Food and Feuds’ to resolve the feud once and for all.

Hannah is considered by many to be the original Domestic Goddess. Her first recipe book, ‘The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy’, was published in 1747, and became an instant bestseller. It was reprinted at least 20 times over the next 100 years and became one of the most popular cookery books in colonial America. It is said to have been owned by American presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, as well as Benjamin Franklin.

Hannah is regarded as the pioneer of easy-to-understand recipes. She is also credited with coining the name Yorkshire pudding (before her this Sunday roast staple was known simply as ‘dripping pudding’), and introducing the first documented British curry recipe, or as she termed it in The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, ‘Currey the Indian Way.’

Ann’s own recipe book, the catchily titled ‘Professed Cookery: containing boiling, roasting, preserving, potting, pickling, made-wines, gellies, and part of confectionaries’, was published in 1754, and itself went on to become a bestseller, although it never achieved the same dizzying success as Hannah’s work.

Yet nearly three centuries on, Hannah, Ann, their recipe books, and bitter feud, have been largely forgotten. The performance of Food and Feuds is Directed by Cinzia Hardy, former Artistic Director of November Club. The show was due to air in March 2020 but was shut down like so many performances.

Thanks to funding from Arts Council England the show has been reimagined and includes film footage created by Beacon Films exploring young people’s perspectives and opinions around food issues.

“Telling the untold stories of people from our region makes for fascinating storytelling,” Cinzia Hardy Director of Food and Feuds explains. “But there is something particularly mesmerising about the enmity between Hannah and Ann.

“It involves food, two feisty women making their mark in a man’s world, status, a feud that bridged the miles between what was then the small market town of Hexham and London, which was one of the 18th century’s most multi-cultural and sophisticated cities, and the power of the written word in an age when, to quote Voltaire, ‘to hold a pen is to be at war.’

“Hannah wrote what is probably the most successful cookery book of all time. Yet despite her book’s success she sadly saw little of the proceeds while others made small fortunes on the back of her talent. Women all over the world will recognise that injustice.

“Add to that the reason why such an important woman has been largely forgotten and the feud with Ann Cook, and you have a very entertaining and exciting story, one that also happens to include something we are obsessed by: food.”

Cinzia says: “The story of Hannah and Ann is a real 18th century food fight. They say there is no honour amongst thieves, well there is none amongst cooks either. Ann took culinary feuding to a new level.

“Deep down, I think we all love a good public row, especially when it involves sexual scandal, bankruptcy, rivalry and a bitter family feud. This tale has it all.”  

Food and Feuds: Two Cooks of Hexham is available to watch on demand for £10. 

To buy, click here.

Photography: Sound Ideas Media