Continuing the Legacy of the Extraordinary Mary Smith

The Journal (Newcastle, England), October 12, 2011 | Go to article overview

Continuing the Legacy of the Extraordinary Mary Smith


Byline: TONY HENDERSON

THE name could not be more ordinary. But Mary Smith needed extraordinary abilities to cope with her demanding role as 18th Century housekeeper/cook at the Wallington estate in Northumberland.

And steps are afoot to ensure that Mary's name and achievements are not lost to history.

Mary worked for Sir Walter Calverley Blackett, who inherited Wallington and the Anderson Place mansion in Newcastle.

As well as being a powerful land and mine owner, Sir Walter sat as an MP from 1734 until his death in 1777, was five times Mayor of Newcastle and also High Sheriff of Northumberland.

Consequently Wallington and Anderson Place would not have been short of visitors and guests.

They included the Duke of Cumberland and his officers, who were entertained by Sir Walter as they headed south after their victory over the Scots army at the Battle of Culloden.

Visitors were also drawn to Wallington by Sir Walter's major scheme of remodeling the hall and improving the estate, which included building the hump-backed bridge over the River Wansbeck and the Clock Tower now so familiar to those who flock to the National Trust property.

A letter of 1767 tells how Sir Walter "loves to have his House continually full of company".

It fell to Mary Smith to cater for this throng at a time when there was no refrigeration or supermarkets, and oven heat could not be controlled at the turn of a dial.

Mary wrote down scores and scores of her recipes, which were printed by T Slack of Newcastle and was taken up by a London publisher.

The book ran to four editions, with the title of The Complete House-Keeper and Professed Cook Calculated for the Greater Ease and Assistance of Ladies, House-Keepers, Cooks etc, etc.

Today, only seven copies survive in private collections, and one of them is at Wallington.

Now it is being consulted yet again, and at this weekend's Wallington Food and Craft Festival visitors will be able to sample some of Mary Smith's dishes.

They are being re-created by Wallington head chef Malcolm Brown.

Wallington's visitor experience manager Gillian Mason will be living up to her job title by dressing as Mary and talking to visitors in the kitchen.

She has borrowed a cook's costume of the time, based on historical research, from Wordsworth House, the National Trust-ru1n childhood home of the poet in Cockermouth in Cumbria.

She says: "It's fair to say that Mary would have been pretty busy. It is amazing what cooks produced for those 18th Century dinner parties."

The trend continues with today's multiplicity of TV food and cookery programmes.

"Food dishes and dinner parties were ways of showing off," says Gillian.

Before arriving at Wallington, Malcolm Brown worked as a chef on oil rigs, head chef at Northumberland County Council and for the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, and teaching cookery in the Prison Service.

From Mary Smith's cookery book, this weekend he is serving up her chicken pie, which includes pork, bacon and chicken, flavoured with nutmeg and mace - the yellow fibrous covering of the nutmeg itself.

There will also be Mary's Spanish Cake, where egg yolks and whites are used as the raising agent.

Malcolm has also made sweet meat pie from the book, which uses brandy, wine, fruit and pressed ox tongue.

He says: "We don't know what sort of oven Mary had, whether it was wood or coal fired, and how she managed to regulate the heat. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Continuing the Legacy of the Extraordinary Mary Smith
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.