Setting the Patten for Delia 

11 October 2005

Chefs urge safeguards for ads on children’s TV

The Guardian today carries a story about television chefs who have signed a letter to Tony Blair urging the banning of junk food advertisements during children’s television.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of the signatories is Marguerite Patten. Before she started to be a serial Delia fanatic, my mother’s most well thumbed cookbook was one written by Marguerite – I grew up on some smashing cakes cooked from her recipies!

Marguerite was a regular on post-war BBC Television Service at Alexandra Palace from 1947, having previously contributed to the BBC Radio programme “Woman’s Hour”.

Although she was not first person to regularly cook on television she was the first person to be described as a “television cook”, rather than a “television chef”. She gave practical everyday recipies and instruction to young housewives in a warm no nonsense style rather than cooking fancier fare in an entertaining manner for upper middle class dinner parties.

Marguerite was given a brief revival in the early nineties by Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan on their “This Morning” programme. Richard and Judy were clearly just as interested in Marguerite’s anecdotes of 40s television as they were in her cookery!

The government is thinking about reintroducing cookery into schools to improve the nation’s nutrition. They could do a lot worse than by using some of Marguerite’s recipies to do it.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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Liverpool, Friday 29 September 2023