I practically ran down to my local booksellers on publication day when a collection of food writings originally published in The Telegraph were recently collected together and republished in one volume. I couldn't wait to snap up a copy. How To Jug A Hare has been compiled and edited by Sarah Rainey, with a foreword by Bee Wilson. What a lovely job it must have been to dive into those archives and discover the delights of culinary craftsmanship to share again with us hungry foodies. And what a lovely job they have done!
Fanny features heavily throughout, naturally, which is a real treat for us all. A selection of sixteen sublime articles, scooped up from storage and presented again for us to chortle along with. Let's not forget though, it's not all Fanny, many other fantastic food writers from history are expertly laid side by side. Fanny sits comfortably, almost dizzyingly, beside Egon Ronay, Clement Freud, Elizabeth David, Elizabeth Craig, Claudia Roden, Robert Carrier, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Josceline Dimbleby and many others. All brilliant names from through the years, and all brilliant pieces of food writing to show off. Fanny arches proudly across them all, she even receives the ultimate accolade from the editor - a whole chapter dedicated to 'Cranky Cradock'.
Fannys final entry in this collection is her 'Pet Hates of 1971' (although later columns do appear earlier) which so easily could've been published today. Fanny is cross about the endless cellophane 'over-wrapping' which often results in her struggling and breaking her nails trying to gain access to various products. She's fuming that manufacturers are disguising less product in larger packets. She's raging at marketing speak misusing the English language with frightful phrases like 'Fresh Frozen'. 'Fresh is one thing, Frozen is another, both can be very good but like male and female, they cannot be the same', Fanny tells us. The whole collection is a magnificently enjoyable read, wisely combined and wonderfully compelling. Whether or not Fanny would have preferred the whole volume to be dedicated to her and her alone remains unknown. Fanny Cradock can so often be overlooked in culinary history as simply a figure of fun. She undoubtedly was, but for me to see her re-placed in history as one of the great food writers is as reassuring and reprimanding as she herself was back in the day.