Fanny Cradock

Johnnie (left) and Fanny CradockIt’s just not Christmas without some Fanny. I mentioned her earlier in the year when talking about Seventies food. Fanny Cradock had a cookery show which may well have been the first of the ‘performance cookery’ style shows you still see today. Every year we watch the same Christmas series of Fanny in repeats, and snigger at the scene where she lubricates the dry bird.

What I love about Fanny Cradock is the way she dresses as if for a dinner party, jewellery, makeup (her eyebrows two inches higher than they should be), and this fixed big hair that makes her look like a doll or a drag queen. I find this appearance so fascinating that I watch her moving more than what she’s cooking.

Then she’s so bossy, really stroppy about people who don’t do things her way and don’t listen to her instructions. For instance she tells the story of the woman who bought orange flower face wash to put in a cake because Fanny’s recipe had orange flower water in it. And she bosses around her assistants who come in to clear up after her. We’re all used to this sort of thing from chefs now since seeing bad tempered people like Gordon Ramsay, but it was quite shocking in the Seventies to see someone so rude on telly.

Fanny fell out of favour in 1976 by crossing the line in rudeness. She insulted a woman who’d won a prize to cook with her and her show was taken off the air. Full story on Wikipedia.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room


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