Today I discovered this article from The Independent. (The author had tweeted it.)
Written after the conclusion of the first Two Fat Ladies series in 1997, it shares reflections from Clarissa and Jennifer on their first meeting and their working relationship.
I hadn’t read it before – it’s pretty fascinating, and sheds light on the “they actually hated each other” rumors that continue to be attached to the show even now.
TITLE: Barristers at Lincoln’s Inn
NUMBER: Series 3, Episode 4
ORIGINAL AIRDATE: September 23, 1998
SETTINGS: Unusually, this episode opens with a field-trip prologue, set before sunrise. The ladies venture out to visit the famous Smithfield meat market in London. [The market’s business hours are 3 a.m. to midmorning.]
Smithfield is in the same neighborhood as Lincoln’s Inn. The Inn is home to a professional association of barristers (with a voiceover reminding us that Clarissa used to be one) and is the place where ultimately they will be cooking.
On the way there, they pass St. Paul’s Cathedral.
No Cybermen, though.
There’s this conversation: Continue reading
In a recent recap, I noted Clarissa’s longstanding support for British foxhunting. By coincidence, this week a columnist for the Isle of Wight County Press wrote a piece discussing that controversial tradition, and at the end of it she shares a recipe of Clarissa’s for “fox pasta.” Enjoy.
Oh, and here’s something else to get you going. Correspondent John White says he wonders what fox meat tastes like.
Well, the late Clarissa Dickson Wright could have told you, John.
Here’s her recipe for fox pasta. You hang the fox in running water for three days (Clarissa didn’t specify whether it should be dead or not and there was no telling with her), cook it with garlic, onion and tomato, stew it for an hour-and-a-half and serve it with chestnut pasta. Clarissa said she’d probably “cut the fox into halves, not quarters”.
I have absolutely no comment on this piece of culinary advice.
TITLE: The Cambridge Eight
NUMBER: Series 3, Episode 3
ORIGINAL AIRDATE: September 16, 1998
SETTINGS: The setting this time is Cambridge University, where Clarissa and Jennifer cook for “the Cambridge Eight” – that is, the eight winners of an annual competition between the rowing crews of Cambridge and Oxford University.
Half the places they go to look like this, don’t they?
[I know there’s some crossover between fans of this show and those of P.G. Wodehouse. Continue reading
TITLE: The Pony Club
NUMBER: Series 3, Episode 2
ORIGINAL AIRDATE: September 9, 1998
SETTINGS: The ladies cook for “lots of little children” who belong to a Pony Club in the Cotswolds [a rural area in central England, named for the Cotswold Hills.]
[While the Cotswolds span several counties,] this Pony Club is located in Gloucestershire. Continue reading
[In my researches for this recap, I stumbled upon this gif, which by coincidence references today’s episode. Apparently in 2002 there was a nod to Two Fat Ladies on Gilmore Girls. Fun.]
TITLE: Benedictine Nuns
NUMBER: Series 3, Episode 1
ORIGINAL AIRDATE: September 2, 1998
SETTINGS: Kylemore Abbey [originally the private residence Kylemore Castle, apparently] in Connemara, Ireland. Continue reading
Nice to see Two Fat Ladies included in this list of “Fourteen Food TV Shows Actually Worth Watching” from Bon Appétit. Allen Salkin says:
Like all of the best TV shows ever, there is no reason on the surface that this show should have worked: Two not-young, not-svelte Englishwomen who prattle about the drafty countryside on a motorcycle and sidecar, cooking breath-destroying traditional cuisine such as deviled kidneys, and adding as much lard, Stilton, and anchovy as possible to everything. They make rude jokes—a reference to the anal-sex scene in Last Tango in Paris while buttering a baking dish is particularly memorable—speak in trills that make Julia Child sound like Barry White, and seem always ready to bite the heads off anything that appears delicious. There is an authenticity and humanness to these characters no marketing department or consultant could ever instill. Its lack of freshness is the freshest thing about it. God bless the British executives who greenlit this show in the 1990s, and God bless Joe Langhan, the Providence, Rhode Island, cable exec who started Food Network and made the deal to bring Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright to American TV, providing some of the funds that allowed the show to keep filming—yes, it was shot on film. Expensive! YouTube has a a great selection of Fat Ladies videos. Or you can buy an official collection from Amazon.