The Haddock, The Rose and The Bumble Bee Too.

Well, it should read “The Dimbleby Too”, but one of my favourite food writers does not have a suitably convenient surname that would afford me a snappy blog title – I simply had to improvise – badly.
Joscelyn Dimbleby is the subject of my “Retro Cooks” article for the next edition of Flavour Magazine.
It therefore follows – hopefully- to the rocket scientists amongst my modest readership that “The Rose” Elliot was the subject of last months article –
a copy of which I am eagerly awaiting from the UK.
I suppose I want to foolishly run around to friends and family and show them my efforts, a bit like a gauche child who has just received a gold star on a picture they have drawn.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.
Preening over gold stars awarded for sterling effort at school is one thing, but crowing loudly about a modest piece of journalism is perhaps not playing by the accepted rules of engagement.
As I have never done it before I am unsure of the etiquette involved.
It is permissible I am sure to say that I feel happy and am surrounded by that “job well done” aura – I will omit the bit about skipping up and down on the spot-
Personal satisfaction should be guaranteed by one’s own hard efforts, but peer review and praise from an anonymous circle of critics is a bigger task to attain.
If “Success as a Writer” were a recipe I would suggest that the ingredients and method would be as follows:


One Determined Individual
Large Doses of Hard Work
Gallons of Focus (I am an Imperial girl at heart)
Several cook books

1.Combine all ingredients in a well equipped kitchen.
2.Add a laptop, and a generous handful books on food related subject matter
3. Allow individual to stew for several hours, reducing the amount of determination.
4. Cool down rapidly to avoid overheating.
5. Repeat this process until the required consistency is achieved.
5. Print, send and serve to appropriate individuals as desired.

Here is the article.
“To me, food means sensual, visual and oral pleasure, creativity and discovery, fun and adventure, conviviality and friendship – and, most importantly, the enjoyment of life” – Josceline Dimbleby

I first met Josceline Dimbleby in Sainsbury’s in the mid-eighties, not in person but gracing their shelves with her selection of fine cookery books.
She seemed worth a read and I used my precious staff discount vouchers to build up a modest collection of her writings. Money well spent.
My acquaintance with her culinary prowess is of many years standing, as she has a writing career spanning more than thirty years. Her career has not been confined to the domain of cook books:
Her achievements stretch to being a food and travel journalist,singer, photographer, public speaker, family biographer and contributor and presenter for television and radio. More recently she has acted as an adviser to her son Henry Dimbleby for his chain of restaurants, Leon.
It needs little elaboration to say that her high flying C.V. stands out alone, making her an obvious candidate for this piece. However, if we float gently back down to earth, we can see that on a grass roots level, she is a fine cook, and has an extraordinary talent for presenting this in the written word..
It is never easy to pin down exactly why you favour one particular food writer over another, or what it is you like about their style. Not so with Josceline Dimbleby.
Hers is the influence of the truly cosmopolitan eating tradition. Her childhood was punctuated with world wide travel and her recipes are ahead of their time when it comes to exploding the global food offer into the faces of her dedicated followers.
From a very early age she had seen the sites of the Middle East and South America. She evokes recipes from the culinary delights of Syria when she was just seven. Her honeymoon was spent in Morocco, and as a newly wed, she trod unfamiliar ground with her husband in Iran. Bali, India, Burma, Vietnam and Hong Kong are but a few of the culinary pit stops she makes in her books, drawn from her vibrant memories from these far flung places.
She was the trail blazer that others have followed to augment the canon of British cooking to make it the multi cultural phenomenon it is today.
As far back as the 70’s the pages of her book “A Taste of Dreams” were crammed with exotica – okra, nettles, fresh coriander, orange flower water, and saffron. She was combining Welsh lamb with cardamom, kippers with garlic and rosewater with cottage cheese. Food wizardry that at the time was surely beyond the dreams of many home cooks.
Her recipes have endured and judging by the huge listings of her work in the collector’s book market, she will enjoy that privilege for some time to come.
Cast your eye over the books I have suggested. Buy something she has written and cook a meal to dream about. Unfortunately they cannot any longer be bought with Sainsbury’s staff discount vouchers!
Josceline’s books are still available to buy from reputable book dealers. Here is a small selection for consideration to add to your own personal collection.
A Taste of Dreams
“….the imaginative diner-party recipes are an inspiration to anyone who likes to be really creative in the kitchen” – Delia Smith

Josceline Dimbleby’s Complete Cookbook.
A compilation of recipes written for the Sunday Telegraph – worth it just for the almost surreal offering of squid in red aspic jelly called “Scarlet Hearts”!
A Traveller’s Tastes
A backpacker’s cornucopia of recipes gleaned from her extensive worldwide travels. Sainsbury’s must have wept with joy when she wrote this little gem for them – demand for rare and unusual products must have rocketed.
Curries and Oriental Cookery
Another offering from the Sainsbury Cookbook range. A neat and compact companion for the wannabe curry chef at home – Authentic tastes and consumer appreciation guaranteed.

2 thoughts on “The Haddock, The Rose and The Bumble Bee Too.

  1. Joscelyn was kind enough to respond to this article on my Facebook page. This is what she said
    Dear Helen – I’ve now read your retro piece on me and feel flattered. Thank you for alerting me to it, and for writing it so well. Coincidentally I am working on a sort of travel and food journey through my life which starts in Syria aged 7 and will include chapters on several of the places you mention with some relevant recipes dropped in, and both old photos and new. It will be published next September by Quadrille – called Orchards in the Oasis – Travels, Food and Memories. So I hope some of my fans are still alive and will want to buy it! Best wishes, Josceline/Jossy

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