“Leave the love out of it; stick to the money” – A Day at the Races

Here it is, the final recap! Hope it doesn’t disappoint. – WK

TITLE: A Day at the Races

NUMBER: Series 4, Episode 4

ORIGINAL AIRDATE: September 28, 1999

SETTINGS: At the opening of the episode, Clarissa and Jennifer arrive at yet another fishing boat, identified by a title as being in “St. Abbs, Northumberland,” though most maps put it on the Scottish side of the border. (The fisherman they meet has a heavy Scottish accent, which seems to support the latter theory.)

“St. Abbs, Northumberland.”

Scottish border map

Note the border.

No flirting with the fisherman this time, shockingly, even though he does give them a taste of what Clarissa says are langoustines. [They look like ordinary enough shrimp to me – WK]. Continue reading

“I’m quite glad I gave up the law books for the recipe books” – Barristers at Lincoln’s Inn

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.

No Cybermen, though.

There’s this conversation: Continue reading

“Oh, Jennifer . . . just what I’ve always wanted . . .” – Christmas

TITLE: Christmas

NUMBER: Series 2, Special

ORIGINAL AIRDATE: December 24, 1997

SETTINGS: The ladies cook a Christmas dinner for the choir of the Pilgrim’s School, a boarding school providing boy singers for the Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire.

Winchester Cathedral.

Winchester Cathedral.

They are greeted by “Dr. Rees,” an educator who has a North American accent. Continue reading

“Fancy is as fancy does” – Afternoon Tea

TITLE: Afternoon Tea

NUMBER: Series 2, Episode 4

ORIGINAL AIRDATE: October 20, 1997

SETTINGS: The village of Warborough in Oxfordshire.


The ladies cook a post-match tea for the local cricketing club. [UPDATE: Reader Adrian notes, quite correctly, that this NOT a post-match tea but a MID-MATCH one, a break or “interval” traditionally being allowed for both tea and lunch. As an American, cricket naturally seems to me to have a fantastical quality to it. Knowledge of this tradition illuminates me while in no way diminishing my fantasy appreciation for the sport – thank you, Adrian! – WK]

Warborough cricketers.

Warborough cricketers.

They cook in the kitchen of a 17th-Century manor house. Continue reading

“Stirring times for stirring songs for stirring soup” – A Picnic

TITLE: A Picnic

NUMBER: Series 2, Episode 3

ORIGINAL AIRDATE: October 13, 1997

[Again, Amazon presents this episode out of order.]

SETTINGS: Llandudno, Wales (“North Wales” according to the titles). The city is a seaside holiday destination, and the episode opens with the ladies dipping their feet into the water.


They cook for the Colwyn Male Voice Choir [Côr Meibion Colwyn in Welsh], whom Jennifer refers to as “all those lovely Men of Harlech” (apparently confusing the subject of the song with those who sing it). Continue reading

“From the hip” – Game


NUMBER: Series 1, Episode 5

ORIGINAL AIRDATE: November 6, 1996

SETTINGS: Lennoxlove House, East Lothian, Scotland, “the home of the fifteenth Duke of Hamilton.” Clarissa explains the house’s name: “Well, Frances Stuart, Duchess of Lennox, had a favorite nephew, Lord Blantyre – she’s the one who was Britannia on the coins.

The Duchess as Britannia.

The Duchess as Britannia.

The Duchess as herself.

The Duchess as herself.

“She left it to him, and its correct name is ‘Lennox’ Love to Blantyre.’” (“We should have such aunts,” Jennifer says.) Continue reading

“Who’d want to be Protestant when you can have Cardinals?” – Fruit & Vegetables

TITLE: Fruit & Vegetables

NUMBER: Series 1, Episode 3

ORIGINAL AIRDATE: October 23, 1996

SETTINGS: Westminster Cathedral, London, where Jennifer’s uncle is Gentiluomo to Cardinal Basil Hume.

Westminster Cathedral.

Westminster Cathedral.

Traditional costume of a gentiluomo.

Traditional costume of a gentiluomo.

Jennifer's uncle, Anthony Bartlett.

Jennifer’s uncle (and roommate), Anthony Bartlett.

Her grandfather did the job before him. She notes the current Cardinal’s predecessors are “under the sod.” Continue reading

“I like rich food” – Fish & Shellfish

TITLE: Fish & Shellfish

NUMBER: Series 1, Episode 1

ORIGINAL AIRDATE: October 9, 1996

SETTINGS: Mevagissey, Cornwall. Jennifer and Clarissa cook at the Sharksfin Quayside Pub and Restaurant.

In recent years, the Sharksfin has added a gaudy new sign.

In recent years, the Sharksfin has added a gaudy new sign.

For the field trip, they collect mussels at Hemmick Beach (with Jennifer carrying them in her helmet) and take a ride on a crab boat. [In Spilling the Beans, Clarissa says series creator Patricia Llewellyn got seasick on the boat ride.] Continue reading