Leading article: Delia in the land of caviar and aspic

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The Independent Online

Hannah thought she had her work cut out in trying to implant a few basic skills in the minds of her British contemporaries who, alas, clearly didn't know how to make a decent hare ragout. One wonders what she would have made of her 21st-century counterpart, Delia Smith, who is trying to broaden her appeal to include the Russian market.

Clearly, Delia's new book, with its charming cover in Cyrillic script, will not be advising Russian cooks along the lines of "first catch your goose", (or elk?) as this is her vegetarian collection.

But can books like these attract much attention in lands such as Russia, which has a well-defined cuisine of its own? Hannah addressed a public which - then as now - was rather poorly endowed when it came to practising the arts of the kitchen. The Russians are not. Like their Hungarian neighbours, they have never lacked skills on that front and their tastes, moreover, lean towards food that is rich, fatty and gloriously unhealthy, which is the opposite of the accent placed in most recent British cookbooks.

The truth is - we have no idea. Jamie Oliver's television shows have gone down well in Eastern Europe, where nations raised on vodka, bulls blood and borscht seem enamoured of the prospect of rocket salad and olive oil drizzled on everything. If he can do it, so can she. We wish Delia well in the land of beef tongue, caviar and aspic.