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Fanny Cradock, the first TV celebrity cook

 
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 10:40 am    Post subject: Fanny Cradock, the first TV celebrity cook Reply with quote

I picked up a little cookbook a while ago, 'Children's Outdoor Cookery with Fanny and Johnnie'.

The recipes in the book are mostly cooked in a domestic kitchen for the kiddies to consume outdoors, and they're soooo 1950s - it's a big step back to Britain 50 years ago. Recipes like Three-Decker Sandwich, ideas for decorating picnic cloths, and instructions on how to cut a cucumber boat to fill with with your choice of sardine, cream cheese or hard boiled eggs

I didn't know anything about Fanny and Johnnie Cradock, though, and a search has revealed that Fanny was the first TV celebrity cook. She presented the TV shows dressed in ballgowns with dangly earrings and heaps of make up. Not an apron in sight.

Her only culinary claim to fame seems to be that she is credited with creating the prawn cocktail, although she has also been hailed as the saviour of British cooking after the war.

Am I the only person who doesn't know this culinary legend? Or should I be asking ... has anyone else heard of her, or seen any of her TV cooking shows?
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, Judy I hadn't heard of Fanny Cradock, but after a search I wonder why. Lots of odd facts and little dramas in her life, but definitely well known! I laughed to read that the BBC in the '50s had a cooking competition show called "Cook of the Realm"--everything old is new again.. I thought "Iron Chef" such a fun (new) idea.
And who doesn't like shrimp cocktail?
I see her (old paperbacks) books are scarce, selling for $25+ on Amazon.
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oops, in my post above, the "Cook...Realm" show was from the '70s, not the '50s.
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Judy,

I remember watching Fanny Cradock as a kid. She was getting on by then but she was a riot to watch!! She used to push poor old Johnny around and he was the one who poured out the drinks!! Her show was for the middle classes in Britain at the time and she could be a bit of a snob too. She was mainly a woman for a certain age... that had passed her by without her realising it. She was often satirised by comedians in the 1960s, for example as Daphne Whitethigh in Round the Horne who cooked, 'best end of rhino'!!

She was later followed by The Galloping Gourmet one of the earliest male tv cooks in Britain.
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gingerpale, I feel the same as you - why didn't I know about Fanny before now? I picked up the book because of its age and the photo on the front cover of an array of such unlikely picnic/camping food it made me laugh. I'm listing the book in an annual price guide to Vintage (post-1950s), Retro and Collectables.

I wonder if Australia and the US even got her TV shows here. I must ask my parents.

Griffin, I was hoping someone would remember her. Thanks for sharing your memories - they confirm everything I've read about her so far. Even though she would have been a prime target for comedians, she does seem to have her own little corner of the culinary hall of fame, or the TV cooking hall of fame.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nOpe never heard of Franny Craddock but she sounds divine. The first Canadian TV cook I can remember was the very grandmotherly Madame Benoit on CBC TV. Very straight forward and practical as I recall with a lovely Quebecoise accent! She too was followed eventually by Graham Kerr--The Galloping Gourmet, who regardless of accent was CANADA'S first male TV cook! (gotcha Griff)
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm, I wonder if maybe Fanny C and Mme Benoit were actually... one and the same, but in disguise???!!!! Shocked

That would explain why they were both followed by Graham Kerr! Ha! Actually, I didn't realise he was Canadian, but I was young and foolish (as opposed to old and foolish hem, hem!!) and for some reason thought he was an Aussie!

Or could it be... no, surely not... could David really be the Galloping Gourmet in disguise?! ... Who was that Galloping Cook any way? That was no Galloping Cook... THAT was the looooone Chef!

Well, at least I was gotcha'd by a master!
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Nicki



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, well, you guys have been missing out! Below, I've put a link to a Youtube clip for a Christmas show, where Fanny shows us how to "lubricate [a] dry bird" (direct quote!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1fIj6_lDZ8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eBMhoyisTY

This woman beats Delia or Jamie any day!
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well thank you, Nicki! I'm sure Judy will see this too. Fanny C. seems quite competent, I imagined her as more comical, from what I read.
Very nice of you to have done this. Very Happy I did learn how to better carve a bird, actually!
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Griffin, I thought The Galloping Gourmet was an Aussie too,

BUT

Graham Kerr was actually British, his parents were hoteliers (so if he had been born 40 years later he could have been Jamie Oliver, in theory). He was catering adviser to the British Army for 5 years, then moved to New Zealand and became chief chef catering adviser for the Royal New Zealand Air Force in the late 50s.

It seems that his first TV appearances were in NZ, but his TV show, The Galloping Gourmet was taped in Ottawa.

(The above post was brought to you via Wikipedia, thanks to a very slow internet connection, whilst waiting for Fanny on youtube to upload)
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much for those youtube links, Nicki. They were very entertaining and most enlightening.

For anyone else who has seen them, was it just my monitor, or were those mashed potatoes piped around the serving platter really green? That will have everyone else who reads this thread rushing off to youtube!

And from her final comments about Christmas in Part 2, it's a shame she wasn't around to be one of the Grumpy Old Women for the Christmas special.

I think those 2 clips were from the 1970s, judging from what she was wearing, and also, she was a lot younger in the photo of the cover of the book which originally started this thread, it was published in 1959.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2007 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When last I heard Mr. Kerr (who really Griffin--is not me---I'm much shorter--so maybe I'm Madame Benoit) was "born again" had given up the sauce and living in Toronto. I guess he would be getting on in years by now too!!
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