By now, readers of this blog must know that I consider American documentaries to suffer miserably in comparison to those made across the pond. Quite often, there aren’t even analogs for British documentaries, and this is very evident in the matter of food documentaries. Oh sure, Alton Brown has the occasional entertaining show on the Food Network and Good Eats occasionally delved into the history of food, but the British enjoy exploring the very nature of food and why we eat.
I’ve earlier reported on that seminal tome, Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, and also Dorothy Hartley’s Food in England, which give fascinating looks into the history of food, but Clarissa Dickson Wright goes to the very heart of the matter in Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
This three-part documentary explores the evolution of the three meals that make up the day for most people. And as an added treat for Janeites, our favorite Regency author is mentioned in Breakfast and Lunch. In many ways, the documentary is very reminiscent of Lucy Worsley’s If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home, except instead of the elfin chief curator of the Historic Royal Palaces as our presenter, we have One Fat Lady.
Before you accuse me of insensitivity, please know that Dickson Wright was one of the Two Fat Ladies, a BBC2 food series she co-hosted with Jennifer Paterson. The two ladies traveled England in a motorcycle and sidecar and the series was shown on the Food Network.
In this new documentary, Dickson Wright visits with chef and food historian Ivan Day, visits Fortnum and Mason, eats roasted eggs and samples gourmet fast food like what was called the world’s greatest sandwich, which I believe was beef wellington served open faced and topped with horseradish ice cream.
If you like food, I know I do, I think you’ll like this series, and have some fun by looking up Dickson Wright. Her colorful past may amuse you, although some of her passions may offend, but she is certainly is not bland. And you can be sure she wouldn’t pass muster on American television.
PS Dickson Wright has some pointed comments about Mrs. Beeton, and you may enjoy comparing her to the glamorous host of the Mrs. Beeton documentary mentioned earlier.