I was so sorry this morning to read of the death of Clarissa Dickson Wright, an amazing lady of massive character and courage – a splendidly non-PC advocate of good food, good living and English country life.
I never knew her well, and I never knew her in her drinking days, but our paths crossed several times over the years. First, I suppose, when she was running Books for Cooks in Blenheim Crescent and latterly as a guest on a couple of historical food programmes she made for the BBC. Obituaries in all of the papers have charted her life and career (there is a nice one in the Telegraph here), and hopefully, her death will persuade the BBC to re-run some of the wonderful Two Fat Ladies programmes which made her a household name in the 1990s. So, this is really just to say that I am very sad that she has gone – British food has lost one of its most robust and entertaining champions.
Fortunately, however, she has left a sizeable body of books. A number of these relate to her various cookery programmes, but, of the others, and can I most thoroughly recommend two: her History of English Food which I reviewed here when in came out three years ago, and her autobiography, Spilling the Beans. Normally I loath ‘celebrity’ autobiographies but hers was such an extraordinary life and she retails it with such honesty and such humour, that I was gripped from cover to cover.