East Anglia's first celebrity chef: Mrs Elizabeth Cromwell - the wife of Oliver

  • Watch a report about Mrs Elizabeth Cromwell's cookbook by ITV Anglia's Matthew Hudson

Long before Delia Smith and Jamie Oliver, the Anglia region had another celebrity chef: Mrs Elizabeth Cromwell.

Although unlike many of the region's chefs, the wife of Oliver Cromwell did not seek to be famous for her cooking. Her recipes were in fact published by her husband's enemies after his death.

They wanted to poke fun at the Cromwell family and show what an unsuitable head of state Oliver had been, after he led the Parliamentary armies to overthrow King Charles I in the English Civil War in the 17th Century.

Cromwell was the MP for Huntingdon from 1628 until 1629 and the MP for Cambridge from 1640-49. He became the country's first non-royal Head of State as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth in 1653, four years after the King was executed.

"There was a lot of snobbery going on," said Stuart Orme from the Cromwell Museum in Huntingdon which is now selling a reprinted version of the book.

Recipes include a Rare Dutch pudding and a roast leg of mutton done in the French way.

"Part of the argument that the Royalists were making was the Cromwells weren't suited to rule because, quite frankly, they were a bit common," Stuart Orme from the Cromwell Museum said.

The book was published in 1664, six years after Cromwell died.

Elizabeth lived for another year after the book was printed staying at Northborough Manor near Peterborough with her widowed son-in-law. She died the following year and is buried at Northborough church.

Stuart Orme from the museum said that sadly there was no record of what Mrs Cromwell thought about the cookery book or those who were trying to poke fun at her and her husband for being too common to rule the country.