The Duchess's Cook

The Duchess's Cook was a character in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. She first appears in Chapter 6, "Pig and Pepper", and briefly reappears towards the end of the book in Chapter 11, "Who Stole the Tarts?".


The Duchess's Cook is not given a description in the original book.

Pig and Pepper

We first see the Duchess's Cook in the chapter "Pig and Pepper" when Alice visits the Duchess' House. We have a foreshadowing of her when we see a dish fly out and hit the Frog-Footman while he is sitting in front of the house and commenting about things in general. When Alice goes inside, she finds herself in a messy kitchen, with the Cook stirring over a big pot of soup, while her employer the Duchess is nursing a baby, and pouring so much pepper into it that everyone is sneezing except for the Cook herself and the Cheshire Cat who is grinning away in a corner. The Cook at one point mindlessly throws all kinds of dishes at the Duchess who ignores them, and almost carries away the baby's nose with one, much to Alice's horror. When the Duchess orders Alice's head cut off, she uneasily eyes the Cook who doesn't seem to hear, her attention back on the soup. When the Duchess gives her baby to Alice, giving her permission to nurse him, the Cook throws a dish at her as she walks away to get ready to play croquet with the Queen of Hearts but just misses her.

Who Stole the Tarts?

We see the Duchess's Cook briefly again in the chapter "Who Stole the Tarts" during the famous trial scene. Inexplicably, the Cook is called in as a witness, and Alice rightly guesses who it is before seeing her on the stand because of the way the people closest to the door starts sneezing as she comes in (she is carrying her pepperbox, or pepper shaker in one hand). The King of Hearts asks her to state her evidence; she loudly refuses. Advised by the White Rabbit, he tries a different tact by asking her what tarts are made of; she simply answers, "Pepper mostly". Then she is contradicted by the sleepy Dormouse, who says they made of treacle, bringing on the Queen's ire, and by the time the Dormouse is ejected from the courtroom, the Cook has disappeared, much to the King's relief.

Appearances in Film and Television

In the 1933 film version of Alice in Wonderland, the Cook was played by Lillian Gish. In the 1985 mini-series she was played by Imogene Coca. Although she didn't actually appear in Tim Burton's film "Alice in Wonderland", some of her business in the book, namely smashing dishes in a kitchen, was performed by the March Hare.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.