Monday, 28 August 2017

Game of Holmes

The one question that I am asked most often is 'What do you think Fanny Cradock would be doing now, if she were still around?' Even more often than 'Do you dress up as Fanny Cradock when you cook?' All I can say is that what happens in the kitchen, stays in the kitchen. It's harder to answer what Fanny would be doing now, primarily because she did it all. First. So, would she have a blog? Well, she did a weekly magazine where she wrote all the recipes, cooked them, photographed them (in her own style) and shared her top tips for techniques. Would she be on YouTube? Well, she changed the way television cooking shows were filmed for ever with her brand of entertainment. Would she be on Reality TV? Well, some claim that Simon Cowell drew his inspiration from her appearance on The Big Time. The truth is, if someone's thought of it, Fanny has done it, and it was probably her idea. Or, she'd tell you it was.

Fanny Cradock Game of Thrones

All throughout her career her 'big thing' was shouting loudly about historical recipes, historical techniques and presenting them in what seem like hysterical ways to today's eyes. She had her own hashtag before hashtags were invented, #BringingRetroBack, which I have adopted on her behalf now that she herself is seen as 'retro'. Later in her career, after the television work had come to an end, she resumed her life as an author. She didn't abandon food altogether of course, and found a way to combine history, food and fiction when she released the Sherlock Holmes Cookbook. The marketeer in her claimed to simply compile it, as it was written by Mrs Hudson, who for reasons unknown (apart from the *amazing* coincidence that she was Fanny's heroine) adopted some of the old recipes from Mrs Agnes B Marshall to serve to Sherlock, Watson and Mycroft.

Fanny Cradock Game of Thrones

Flash forward forty-odd years, and perhaps these types of food, history and popular culture mash-ups are more common. As well as Sherlock being a huge television revival in it's own right, Game of Thrones is, of course, massive. Back in 2012 a couple of savvy and sassy bloggers, Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer, turned their massively successful Game of Thrones inspired blog into a book as a 'unique combination of artistry, historical knowledge and love of food', A Feast of Ice and Fire - The Official Companion Cookbook. It's quite striking how, accidentally, similar in style it is to The Sherlock Holmes Cookbook. Fanny would've loved it, if she hadn't thought of it first. Swans feature heavily, as they do throughout Fanny's works too, and even in the same beloved 'template' style of instruction Fanny favoured.

Fanny Cradock Game of Thrones

Both books really are a celebration of long lost historical recipes, presented in different ways. A Feast of Fire and Ice has glorious photographs to tempt you to try either the Medieval or the Modern version of each recipe. Fanny, or sorry, Mrs Hudson, relies on sketches to transport you back in time. The Game of Thrones cookbook is divided into different geographical regions from the books, Sherlock Holmes is more traditional in it's 'menu' set-up, but is littered with quotes from, and references to, Arthur Conan Doyle.  Fanny even manages to sneak in a few of her very favourite recipes (would Mrs Hudson really make Doughnuts I wonder?) shamelessly pretending they were cooked up in Baker Street.

Fanny Cradock Game of Thrones

Fanny wrote the introduction to the Sherlock Holmes book, outlining her idea. George R. R. Martin wrote the introduction to A Feast of Fire and Ice. He has a shameful secret to confess however. Something he has to get off his chest. He can't cook. I also have an equally shameful secret to share. I've never seen a single episode of Game of Thrones. Not a one. Never read any of the books. Not a line. I'm not sure which is more shocking. I'm more Knots Landing than Kings Landing. There I've said it. I was however very fortunate to have the chance to get to know Sariann when she lived in Edinburgh. We studied together. We never managed to cook and style a Fanny Cradock and Game of Thrones collaboration though. Maybe that's something for the future. Come back Sariann! Meantime, I'm on the look-out for the next big thing... Any ideas?

Fanny Cradock Game of Thrones

6 comments:

  1. She was a pioneer in so many ways. Her love of food and showing the general public that they too needn't be afraid. Of food, not Fanny! Brilliant post. I too have never ventured into Game of Thrones, for that matter I've never read or watched a single word of Harry Potter either. I like to think that I am unique as Fanny, however I accept it is something I can only aspire to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did read all the Harry Potter books I have to admit... When I lived in London many years ago I started to notice grown-ups reading a Children's book on the tube, and was curious! I wonder if there's a HP cookbook?

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Aw, very kind of you say! Maybe one day (soon)!

      Delete
  3. I'd rather have a Holmes cookbook than a Thrones one. At least no-one's been served up in a pie in Holmes...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Thrones one is really rather good too... Maybe a Sweeney Todd Cookbook is an idea to consider...

      Delete