Rosamond Richardson

I love it when I have a new article published. It’s a chance to be lazy. Happy days as this month I have three articles due to be published.
So, without further ado, here is one from Flavour Magazine, a great veggie cook, Rosamond Richardson.

Retro Cooks Rosamond Richardson.

It seems that a desire to live in tune with the seasons and the availability of produce close to home has become almost a Holy Grail for the food lovers in the UK. Many influential chefs and food Tsars expound the virtue of the usage of what is fresh, local and in season. What excellent good sense. The French have been doing it forever though, and so has Rosamond Richardson.

Probably less well known by many, Rosamond Richardson wrote books that evoked the quintessential living in tune with Nature and it’s harvest.
Writing over twenty years ago, she was simply expounding the practices of generations who had lived lives in the country before her. Conserve, preserve and waste nothing, especially if it has come your way naturally. Wise words from a lady in the know.

Her career covered other areas of country crafts. Indeed she presented a BBC programme entitled Discovering Patchwork, and another called Discovering Hedgerows.
She was famous by association, working as a food consultant with Linda McCartney when she wrote her cookery books enjoyed by so many. She was commissioned by Sainsbury’s and Harrods to write for them also.

Hers was the domain of the vegetarian cook, and she produced some excellent and original recipes to bring to life what had been in the Seventies a somewhat heavy, pulse ridden and grey cuisine. Her association with Sainsbury’s proved that if you didn’t eat meat, it was still fine to pop into the local supermarket and pick up something for tea. It didn’t automatically mean that one was relinquished to the solitary “health food” shop with its dubious wares of tofu, meat substitute and dusty sacks of rice, grains and beans. Accessibility to her knowledge gave way to a healthier, happy veggie.

Cookery books of that era had a tendency to offer photographs for selected dishes only, making it difficult for the home cook to visualise the finished result of others. The shots often left something to be desired. Not so in this case. She had the vision to team up with Linda Burgess for her delightful book Alfresco Eating to produce a vibrant and exciting account of what she had conceived in her head . It looked enticing and people wanted to re-create it. I certainly did.

There have been in recent times, harsh criticisms of celebrity chefs who use food consultants on their works, almost suggesting that the bulk of the hard and thankless work has been borne by an anonymous person slaving away in the background – a bit like a scene from Charles Dickens.
I cannot agree with these sentiments, particularly when high profile chefs and food writers – Hugh Fearnely Whittingstall and Gordon Ramsay come to mind here – who are today actively crediting their collaborators on the front covers of the books they write.
It is no crime for someone lesser known to work with the Great and the Foodie Good to produce something for the public to enjoy. I strongly suspect that no the food consultants are forced into it – no doubt they enjoy the experience or they would not do it. Rosamond Richardson was accomplished in her own right, had appeared on TV and was an author of many credible books, both cookery and otherwise. She had nothing to prove.
Likewise, Linda McCartney was pleased to endorse her colleagues’ books with due credit and professional peer praise, describing one of them as “The ideal vegetarian cookbook, inspiring and practical” This surely leaves no doubt that a more modest aura of fame most certainly does not diminish the quality of the finished result. Try her Salade Gourmande With Sun Dried Tomato Alioli and you will see what I mean.

Country Harvest.
A compendium of countryside jewels to pore over and make. Anyone making a move out of town for the first time would benefit from the wisdom imparted here. Gluts of produce in Summer and early Autumn are turned into preserves that will delight for the entire year. The dishes and ingredients are photographed beautifully.

The Larder Shelf.
Books on thrift cooking are up there with the best sellers at the moment. For those who know that the Credit Crunch is not a breakfast cereal this little offering is crammed with tips and ideas to make the larder staples stretch effortlessly into a tasty meal.

Vegetarian Meals.
One of many food writers to produce a book for Sainsbury’s. It offers a varied selection of vegetarian meals that do not rely on specialist ingredients most of the population have never heard of.

The Great Vegetarian Cookbook / The Great Green Cookbook.
Published under different titles, this work justifiably has the word “great” incorporated into the title.
The recipes have a special creativity and flair that make them distinct from every day food. A multitude of international cuisines appear, offering a wide range of choice in the recipes. The colour very often missing from early vegetarian cooking starts to appear, lighting up mealtimes and the faces of the people who are about to eat it. Good stuff if you have a vegetarian coming around for dinner and don’t want to make them an omelette.

Credited jointly with the photographer Linda Burgess , this is a coffee table cookbook par excellence. Wonderfully illustrated , it encapsulates the heady days of Summer in pictures, settings and of course food. Given that the British Summer is all too short, this book allows the reader to fully exploit every last chance make it memorable, be it with a meal, some special tableware or seasonal setting.

2 thoughts on “Rosamond Richardson

  1. I am so glad to find another Rosamund Richardson fan.

    When I went vegetarian in 1985, her Sainsbury cookbooks were the first ones I bought. And her Eggs with Peppers was the first vegetarian meal I cooked. Still remember it to this day and it has now become my signature dish.

    Funnily enough, I have just written about her on my own food blog,

    I didn’t realise she’d worked with Linda McCartney. Brilliant article that I thoroughly enjoyed. Cheers

  2. Back in the mid 80’s I was close friends with her daughter and was the guinea pig for numerous veggie delights!
    Her Sainsbury’s receipe book was sensational!

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