Fanny Cradock was an untrained cook. No shame in that at all, and indeed she was not ashamed in the slightest. She was extremely proud however of the very many Gastronomic Honours that she and Johnnie were awarded*. Generally Johnnie's were for the wine, and Fanny for the food, but there were a few that they both 'secured'. One such honour entitled Fanny as the intriguing Grand Dame de la Tripière d'Or. The linguistic among you, and it doesn't really take much translation, will have clocked that made Fanny the Grand Dame of the Golden Tripière.
*or if I were cynical, purchased or contracted to promote...
The what? The who? The why? Without questioning Fanny's honours (although see * above), the answer lies in an equally intriguing dish. One of the most famous in Europe, Fanny proclaimed and certainly the most famous Tripe dish in Europe. Without a doubt it is also a dish for cooking tripe in. With it's very own gastronomic order - Gastronomie Normande. The Tripière is certainly something special. Fanny describes it as an earthenware flying saucer. Perfect for casseroles, especially tripe. The shape of it encourages the rising fumes to be locked in resulting in a superb flavour. Makes perfect sense. You wouldn't really want the tripe fumes escaping now would you?
Fanny took her Tripe honour extremely seriously. She promoted Tripe at every opportunity, chastising the British public for their lack of love for the lining of the cows stomach. In France they seemed to not have the same disdain and indeed their youngsters seemed to be jolly excited to eat Tripes à la Mode de Caen, as Fanny reported in newspaper columns and in her books from the 1950s to the 1980s. The recipe changed a little depending on the decade, with calf's feet being replaced by pigs trotters, parsley for thyme and from time to time wine instead of cider and calvados. But always tripe. Lots of it. Fanny couldn't understand why it was not more popular.
Fanny and Johnnie travelled to Normandy to attend a banquet given by the Order at a disassociated Abbey in the Norman capital of Caen. This was held to celebrate the original banquet on the same date in 1066 where William the Bastard of Normandy (not a title bestowed on the Cradocks, that I know of, at least not in polite company), his knights and gentlemen sat down to eat Tripes à la Mode de Caen from these marvellous tripières before embarking for England and the Battle of Hastings. You see, you cannot have Tripe without a Tripière. Perhaps Fanny has overlooked the victory in history as the mystery downfall for Tripe in England.
Fortunately, for me at least, no-one has yet developed a vegetarian Tripe alternative, although I fear it may not be far away. Glancing at some of the questionable alternatives in the supermarket (Vegan Fish Fingers anyone?) I would say it has potential to be next on the list. Fanny's 'Mum's Tripe and Onions' would surely be a Quorn bestseller? I really must sign up to la Tripière d'Or, or perhaps I should just track down an old Tripière dish for myself and join the Tripe Marketing Board? Surely Fanny would've been at the helm if she were still around, so would only be fitting. Perhaps they'll induct me? Perhaps they may not accept vegetarian members? Perhaps I should set up the Tripe Alternative Marketing Board? Perhaps not.