All throughout her career her 'big thing' was shouting loudly about historical recipes, historical techniques and presenting them in what seem like hysterical ways to today's eyes. She had her own hashtag before hashtags were invented, #BringingRetroBack, which I have adopted on her behalf now that she herself is seen as 'retro'. Later in her career, after the television work had come to an end, she resumed her life as an author. She didn't abandon food altogether of course, and found a way to combine history, food and fiction when she released the Sherlock Holmes Cookbook. The marketeer in her claimed to simply compile it, as it was written by Mrs Hudson, who for reasons unknown (apart from the *amazing* coincidence that she was Fanny's heroine) adopted some of the old recipes from Mrs Agnes B Marshall to serve to Sherlock, Watson and Mycroft.
Flash forward forty-odd years, and perhaps these types of food, history and popular culture mash-ups are more common. As well as Sherlock being a huge television revival in it's own right, Game of Thrones is, of course, massive. Back in 2012 a couple of savvy and sassy bloggers, Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer, turned their massively successful Game of Thrones inspired blog into a book as a 'unique combination of artistry, historical knowledge and love of food', A Feast of Ice and Fire - The Official Companion Cookbook. It's quite striking how, accidentally, similar in style it is to The Sherlock Holmes Cookbook. Fanny would've loved it, if she hadn't thought of it first. Swans feature heavily, as they do throughout Fanny's works too, and even in the same beloved 'template' style of instruction Fanny favoured.
Both books really are a celebration of long lost historical recipes, presented in different ways. A Feast of Fire and Ice has glorious photographs to tempt you to try either the Medieval or the Modern version of each recipe. Fanny, or sorry, Mrs Hudson, relies on sketches to transport you back in time. The Game of Thrones cookbook is divided into different geographical regions from the books, Sherlock Holmes is more traditional in it's 'menu' set-up, but is littered with quotes from, and references to, Arthur Conan Doyle. Fanny even manages to sneak in a few of her very favourite recipes (would Mrs Hudson really make Doughnuts I wonder?) shamelessly pretending they were cooked up in Baker Street.
Fanny wrote the introduction to the Sherlock Holmes book, outlining her idea. George R. R. Martin wrote the introduction to A Feast of Fire and Ice. He has a shameful secret to confess however. Something he has to get off his chest. He can't cook. I also have an equally shameful secret to share. I've never seen a single episode of Game of Thrones. Not a one. Never read any of the books. Not a line. I'm not sure which is more shocking. I'm more Knots Landing than Kings Landing. There I've said it. I was however very fortunate to have the chance to get to know Sariann when she lived in Edinburgh. We studied together. We never managed to cook and style a Fanny Cradock and Game of Thrones collaboration though. Maybe that's something for the future. Come back Sariann! Meantime, I'm on the look-out for the next big thing... Any ideas?