It is with great sadness that I heard the news of the death of Marguerite Patten and today I listened to a recording of an interview with her in 2009 on Woman’s Hour, when she emphasised the importance of her family and her dislike of being called a celebrity chef, if only there were more like her.
Marguerite Patten was known for telling the country how to make the most of rations during World War Two on the BBC radio programme Kitchen Front and went on to present her own TV cookery show for the BBC in 1947. A great cook, she was still writing cookery books into her nineties a marvellous woman, and overall she wrote over 170 books over 70 years!
I first found her recipes when I moved into my first flat in the seventies and was given a copy of Cookery in Colour which helped me no end as a first time cook. Since then I have accumulated more of her books and her book Century of British Cooking was a real source of information about how people cooked and ate when I wrote my book Recipes from an Unknown Kitchen.
My favourite Marguerite Patten recipe? Goulash from 365 Menu Cookbook.
Her last words in the radio interview were as an answer to a question on what would be her main tip for cooks – her answer ‘Don’t show off, just make simple things very well cooked’
Wise words, thank you Marguerite.