Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hieland Foodie by Clarissa Dickson Wright


First Line: We are the product of our genetic geographicals; my grandfather was a Glasgow doctor whose main aim, it seems to me, was to bring the preachings of the Plymouth Brethren to the poor of Govan, funded by his Helensburgh practice.

Y'all are probably reeling from shock to see that I'm reviewing a cookbook when my bio down at the bottom of my sidebar states that my dream house wouldn't have a kitchen. Well, since I do not live in my dream house, my home does have a kitchen-- and a husband who appreciates being fed from time to time. So I do know my way around a cookbook, and I have been caught watching an occasional cooking show on television-- which is how I came to get my hands on this particular cookbook.

I first came across the author, Clarissa Dickson Wright, as one half of the team called Two Fat Ladies, a cooking program that was popular in both the UK and here in the US. It was the late Queen Mother's favorite television program, and although the two women were renowned for their love of butter and their almost complete disregard of healthy cooking, I loved the program for Clarissa and Jennifer's repartee and for the tour of the British countryside as they went from place to place (on a motorcycle complete with sidecar) to cook their meals.

Jewelry belonging to Mary, Queen of Scots
Clarissa Dickson Wright is fascinating in her own right: she originally trained as a lawyer, and is the youngest woman ever to be called to the Bar. She also speaks her mind and is much more likely to be seen carrying a shotgun than a handbag, so she's definitely my kind of woman. In this small (112 page) book, she's gathered together a concise history of Scottish cooking from Cullen Skink to Dundee Cake. Each recipe's history is given along with the ingredients, and the book is lavishly illustrated with historic objects and photographs.

If you're wanting a cookbook that showcases the cuisine of modern Scotland, you're not going to find it here. What you are going to find is a very fine collection of easy-to-follow recipes, illustrations, and commentary that defines a nation by what it ate. It's a book that fascinated this reader, and I'm about as far from a foodie as a person can get!

If you've never seen Two Fat Ladies, I have included a film clip at the very bottom of this review.

Hieland Foodie: A Scottish Culinary Voyage With Clarissa 
by Clarissa Dickson Wright with Henry Crichton Stuart
ISBN: 9781901663075
National Museum of Scotland  ©1999
Hardcover, 112 pages

Genre: Cookbook
Rating: A 
Source: Paperback Swap





28 comments:

  1. I was ahuge fan of The Two Fat Ladies... wonderful cookery series. I was thus so shocked when Jennifer died, though I realise she was a bit older than Clarissa. I must read Clarissa's autobiogrpahy one day, I gather it's very good. Luckily Clarissa continues to pop up occasionally on British TV but not nearly as often as I would like.

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    1. Yes, I just learned through the comments here that she's got an autobiography, and I quickly added it to my wish list!

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  2. Cathy - What an interesting cookbook, and what a fascinating background you give on Wright! I have to confess I haven't watched the TV series, but I'd heard it was terrific. I may look for this one...

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  3. I hope you link this up to Weekend Cooking -- this sounds great. I read her autobiography, Spilling the Beans, but I haven't reviewed it. I should do that one of these days.

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    1. If I remember, I'll link up, Candace. Thanks for the info about her autobiography!

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  4. My mom loves cookbooks and Two Fat Ladies - I need to get this for her!

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  5. Mmm butter! :) I love a good cookbook, especially when it throw a little food history in.

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    1. The food history often is what makes the book!

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  6. This sounds a lovely book, and I was a fan of Two Fat Ladies, too. I've probably got all the recipes already - though not always in easy-to-follow-format, it must be said - but it sounds as though this is going to be worth it for the photos alone!

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  7. I adored The Two Fat Ladies and every once in a while I find them on a calbe channel in the triple digits. I love cookbooks so I think I'm going to get my hands on this one.

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    1. I think you'd like it, Ryan. Now after reading Candace's comment, I'm after Clarissa's autobiography!

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  8. I love Clarissa's style. Have a great week.

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  9. I did enjoy Two Fat Ladies for the same reasons you did -- for the glimpses of the countryside and their conversations. Had no idea one of them passed away. Clarissa's book sounds interesting.

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    1. Yes, Jennifer was much older than Clarissa. If I remember some of her stories correctly, Jennifer kicked up her heels right around WWII.

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  10. oh, I used to love that show!
    I would think a history of Scottish food would be a very short book. lol

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    1. Having much Highlander blood in me, I could take offense at that, Caite! LOL

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  11. Cathy this is wonderful! I am so in love with Scotland I have to have this!

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    1. It is a wonderful addition to anyone's Scotland collection.

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  12. Never mind the cookbook-that jewelry is gorgeous, especially the earrings.

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    1. I wondered if anyone would mention the jewelry! That photo makes me drool......

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  13. This sounds like a great way to do a bit of armchair traveling to Scotland! Thanks!
    Joy's Book Blog

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    1. You're very welcome, Joy. Thanks for stopping by!

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  14. I can see that I will need to YouTube 'Two Fat Ladies' - it sounds hilarious/wonderful. And the book doesn't sound bad, either!

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    1. YouTube has become a fantastic resource for videos. Now you've got me heading over there for a 2FL Fix! Thanks for stopping by!

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