An 18th-century townhouse kitchen was often cramped, hot and poorly lit. It was hard to regulate the heat when cooking on an open range, but skilled cooks could still produce everything from roasts to stews, sauces to syllabubs.
Traditionally cooks were men and preferably Frenchmen because they were considered the most skilled (and expensive). However, by the mid-18th century, many smaller households were employing women, mainly because their wages were lower; a male cook was paid about £60 a year (£5,235 today), whereas a female cook was rarely paid more than £10 (£872 today).
Georgian England saw the publication of several English cookery books and this fuelled an interest in English food and recipes. One of the most popular books was Hannah Glasse’s, ‘The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy’ and this cartoon demonstrates a cook using the turnspit like the one on display in the Servants’ Hall.