Clarissa Dickson Wright, Co-star Of Two Fat Ladies, Has Died
Over the weekend I found out one of my favorite television cooks had passed away. Clarissa Dickson Wright was one (and has been pointed out the fatter of) the Two Fat Ladies. This show opened my eyes that not everyone eats the same things or cooks them the same ways.
Born Clarissa Theresa Philomena Aileen Mary Josephine Agnes Elsie Trilby Louise Esmeralda Dickson Wright, her life was crazier than her name. Her father was the first surgeon to remove a bullet from the spine of a patient without paralysing them. He also developed a method for removing varicose veins and his patients included the Queen of England. Apparently he was very cheap when it came to everything but food and Clarissa took advantage of the extravagant food including pigeons flown in from Cairo and caviar.
She became an exceptional lawyer then, after the death of her parents, an exceptional alcoholic and was disbarred. By age forty she had hit rock bottom. She had spent all her money on “yachts in the Caribbean, yachts in the Aegean, aeroplanes to the races—and drink.” She took up cooking and shortly thereafter was forced into rehab when she refused a breathalyzer.
After rehab she worked in cookbook shops in London and Edinburgh. From there she was paired with Jennifer Paterson and Two Fat Ladies was born. The show became a cult hit with it’s total disregard of calories or fat and it’s dedication to old-style cooking and recipes. The show aired for three and a half seasons. Paterson died midway through the filming of the fourth.
Clarissa Wright was known to be very pro-fox hunting in England, a very unpopular view with the non-aristocracy. In fact she was so pro-anything hunting that she said of a badger culling: “I would have no objection to eating badgers. I have no objection to eating anything very much, really.”
One of my favorite quotes from her is this very unscientific assertion: “The use of antidepressants is directly relatable to the decrease in use of animal fat (a stimulant of serotonin).”