Clarissa Dickson Wright: 'When I was young, pubs had badger ham on the bar'


What people loved about the Two Fat ladies was the sheer anarchy of it Two fat old bats on a Triumph, travelling around the country and cooking. The impact we had felt particularly brilliant: I found out recently we single-handedly saved the Gloucester Old Spot pig breed from dying out, after we did a programme about it.

Hunting is my favourite sport But of course it's been banned, so we hunt within the law: we follow a trail now rather than a live animal, and if an occasional hound kills a fox, Defra says that's all right. I don't actually think [the ban] was the will of the electorate.

There's no real debate now in the House of Commons When I go and watch them now I wonder why they don't just sell the Palace of Westminster as a hotel and leave all the MPs at their constituencies, quite frankly, as what we have now is Government by Cabinet.

I miss eating badger When I was young, West Country pubs had badger ham on the bar – it was rather like jamon ibérico – you paid your pennies and had a slice of it and very good it was; delicate meat, not gamey. Then the Protection of Badgers Act was passed, which achieved nothing as now we have all these problems with them; they're a pest.

I have an explosive temper That Krakatoa strata is still in my make-up. Mostly what sets it off is inefficiency of the people with whom I'm working. When I was filming the Great British Food Revival earlier this year, the entire production crew somehow succeeded in getting lost between Wisley in Surrey and Spitalfields in east London. I travel 60,000 miles a year, don't have satnav, and I manage.

I hated my father By the time I was born, he was 50 and the loving part of him had disappeared into the whisky bottle. There was no affection between us at all, though educationally he did have a great influence; he taught me to think laterally. So when I was writing A History of English Food I realised he was the only person I could dedicate it to, which came as much of a shock to me as it did my publisher.

Clarissa Dickson Wright, 64, is a TV chef and author. 'A History of English Food' is published by Random House, priced £25

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