Don’t throw out good leftovers
Marguerite Patten was the cook who taught the nation how to scrimp, save and creatively cook with meagre rations during the war.
She was also the first familiar face to cook up a storm on the television. It was she who coined the famous phrase “...and here’s one I did earlier” as she whipped out a finished dish from the oven – and she also introduced a post-war nation to interesting new recipes including quiche, baked Alaska and cheese soufflé.
But it was for her Radio programme The Kitchen Front during the war that she first made her name, helping people eke out scant provisions with recipes including eggless fruitcake and mock duck – and inventive ways for making a tin of Spam for appetising.
Marguerite had begun family cooking before her teens, after her father died and her mother returned to work as a teacher. In later life, she loathed being acclaimed as a ‘celebrity chef.’ She was proud to be a home economist expert at helping people create interesting nutritional meals from the often limited contents of their kitchen cupboards.
During her lifetime, she wrote scores of cookery books, which sold more than 17 million copies.
She was proud to be an advocate of good, straightforward cooking that everyone could afford to make – and the family would enjoy. And she could never abide waste, expressing dismay in 2009 at just how much good food we throw away.
“No one would want to go back to doing things the way we did during the war," she told The Independent, “but maybe it's not such a bad thing if circumstances make people look again at how they shop and eat.”