HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >


Two Fat Ladies

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Good, I really enjoyed this program.

      1. re: maria lorraine

        Thanks for the tip Yayadave. I always loved the Two Fat Ladies, not only for their cooking, they were quite the characters too! Watching their tours through the English countryside (on their motorcycle with side car) was an added bonus. A DVD to add to the Christmas list!

        1. re: Axalady

          Christmas list was my first thought, too. (Right after posting on Chowhound!) One for me and one for neighbor John.

      2. Thank you Dave! That was one show I just had to see each week. Such individual characters they were. Too bad about Jennifer.... and the absolutely horrible early life Clarrisa had. They certainly rose above their adversities and endeared themselves to a wide international audience. Long Live Butter and Cream!

        3 Replies
            1. re: Gio

              Oh, my! Just thinking about them makes me smile.

        1. When I was at journalism school a fellow student interview Jennifer Paterson for an assignment. She said she was lovely, but absolutely hatstand!

          9 Replies
          1. re: greedygirl


            Never knew the word, and just went and looked it up. Wonderful word.
            Thank you, greedygirl!

            1. re: greedygirl

              Jennifer, hatstand?! I'm gobsmacked!

              So much for the "Queen's English"!!!

              1. re: Axalady

                Hatstand = bonkers = crazy. I wasn't sure where it came from myself, and just looked it up. Apparently originated in a British comic called Viz. You live and learn.

              2. re: greedygirl

                There was a wonderful retrospective (maybe) that I saw of her life - it was so fascinating.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Do they run repeats of this anywhere? it sounds great but I never saw it.

                  1. re: sugarsnapp

                    I don't even remember where/when I saw it. I'll try googling a bit later and see what I find.

                    1. re: sugarsnapp

                      It's on Cooking Channel on Saturday nights.

                      1. re: sugarsnapp

                        Sugarsnapp, if you are still reading CH and were referring to the JP restrospective, it is a Special Feature on the last of the 4 DVDs in the Two Fat Ladies series. It's available on Netflix. As a young woman, Jennifer resembled Katy Perry - another entertaining exhibitionist!

                        The first episode on each of the 4 DVDs is captioned but the others aren't. However, I discovered that if you access an episode individually (rather than clicking the Play All option), it will have captioning. On my TV anyway. Go figure.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          I just went to youtube and watched her/them on it.
                          a bit hard to follow because words are heard before their mouths move, but................still very enjoyable.
                          I'll be Jennifer was a tigress........... :)

                  2. I used to catch them on PBS and always got a kick out of them. One the food was really interesting (they used things I had never used in cooking), two who they cooked for was always a hoot and three I got a kick out of the massive amounts of butter and bacon they used! Oh they were fun to watch!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: libgirl2

                      i tried to find some online video for the show and couldnt find squat. oh well.

                    2. Anyone else creeped out at the Food Network (or is it Cooking Channel) promotional commercials for the Two Fat Ladies? There's the brunette dancing...and she's dead!
                      ps...loved their show. 2 great broads!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: monavano

                        Been creeped out by the Food Network ever since they started to prefer Sandra Lee and Rachel Ray clones to real cooks.

                      2. I loved the program remembering Jennifer. How when the doctor told her the cancer was terminal, he asked her if there was anything he could do for her. He said she looked at him and said, "Yes! I would love a gin and a cigarette!"

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jmckee

                          and she probably followed it up with a big fat streaky bacon sammie! loved her.

                        2. They were the first chefs on FoodTV that I used to turn off regularly. I loved them for entertainment but the food they cooked was, if memory serves me right, disgusting. Made me want to run and get a good healthy plate of bangers and mash.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: nobadfoodplz

                            Actually, there was absolutely nothing whatsoever "disgusting" about their food at all. In fact, all they were doing were basically cooking from old-time traditional recipes. Again - nothing "disgusting" about them at all.

                            And with just a mere whit of personal ingenuity, it's really easy to make their recipes healthier if that's what you choose. But none of the recipes as they are are "disgusting".

                            1. re: Breezychow

                              Actually, their take on Huevos Rancheros on an episode devoted to breakfast food was pretty bad, though not quite disgusting. They should have stuck to British Food.

                              1. re: TroyTempest

                                Ha! I loved when they stuffed some banana peppers and called them jalapenos!

                                1. re: sandylc

                                  And they pronounce Ha-La-pay-nos, like they are so exotic, which i guess to them they were.

                                  1. re: TroyTempest

                                    And, even a number of years on, we still don't usually refer to chillis by name - in the supermarkets they're usually just red/green/birdseye.

                                    1. re: Harters

                                      I regret that when i was in London for a week a few years ago, i would have visited a London supermarket just to see the difference.

                                      1. re: Harters

                                        ^^harters^^ what? birdseyes? what'r they? now you got my attention :)

                                          1. re: Harters

                                            we have those here too, and by that term.

                            2. Loved them - larger than life personalities. They sure didn't hesitate throwing in all those double cream, fat & lard into their cooking! :-D

                              I remembered shedding a tear when I heard Jennifer died.

                              1. One of my fondest memories of all our trips to England is of meeting Clarissa. She interviewed me for her "Clarissa and the Countryman" series (had nothing to do with food and lots to do with dogs). I can't remember if that series ever showed on BBC America. I have a DVD of it someplace.)

                                Earlier that morning, she cooked me a bacon and egg bap from a camp stove in the back of her pickup truck. She's funny, witty, friendly and a huge lover of greyhounds. My kinda gal!

                                6 Replies
                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                      There's a very long, funny story about how I came to meet her and be part of her BBC series... but it has nothing to do with food, so I'll refrain.

                                      Her "Clarissa and the Countryman" series was all about country life and sport, not food.

                                      But, on the day I met her, she had quite the set-up in the back of her truck. She was standing back there, slinging bacon/eggs/cheese onto buns and handing them out to anyone who could belly up and grab one! This was at a HUGE dog sport event, with thousands of people. I was blessed to have made friends with a guy who knew her. So, I was escorted to the front of the line to get a bacon bap from her!

                                      It was a fun day and I cherish the memory, though I HATE how I looked on the telly show!!!

                                  1. re: onrushpam

                                    Pam, did you mean racing/coursing, or rescuing? I only discovered the series recently, since I don't have cable.
                                    Clarissa reminds me of a younger version of Margaret Rutherford's Miss Marple, and her erudition and voice call to mind a late friend of mine. But for better or (mostly) worse, CDW and I look rather alike, and I am also a "huge lover of greyhounds". Small world seems inappropriate here - more like plus size! ;-)

                                    1. re: greygarious

                                      I met Clarissa at a coursing meeting, the 2000 Waterloo Cup. I can't remember if she had a dog entered that year or not. I know she's also a big supporter of the Retired Greyhound Trust.

                                  2. Love their shows, but sure got a kick of their commericals, hadn't seem them before.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: hueyishere

                                      Yeah - I too am enjoying the commercials they obviously made for the BBC way back when, & that we're just getting to enjoy now in the U.S.

                                    2. Great! I loved this show, and am glad to see the Cooking Channel has it now.
                                      My favorite line from the series: "Everyone loves a nice fish pie." From the looks of that pie, I wouldn't go anywhere near it!

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: lawhound05

                                        Looks must be deceiving then, because let me tell you that I made that pie (have all their cookbooks), & it was FABULOUS!!!! I made it for guests & had people actually arguing re: who got to take home the leftovers - lol!

                                        1. re: Breezychow

                                          Really? I'm going to have to rethink this, then. Which cookbook is it in?

                                        2. re: lawhound05

                                          The recipe is from the very first episode.
                                          I believe the ingredients mentioned are spinach, flaked poached fish + bechamel sauce + anchovy essence, and shrimp, layered and topped with mashed potato, then baked.
                                          I remember looking at two of their books from the local library but, unfortunately, haven't found a recipe index for them.

                                          1. re: DiveFan

                                            topped with mashed potato, wow shepherd's pie...er, i mean cottage, no...er it must be a fisherman's pie.

                                        3. I was enjoyabley surprised to see Clarrisa Dickson Wright appear in an episode of the Brit comedy "Absolutely Fabulous" this past weekend as a royal gamekeeper. What fun!

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Breezychow

                                            That's an old episode - almost 10 years ago!

                                            1. re: jeanmarieok

                                              So what. It's the first time I'd seen it & it was thoroughly enjoyable. For what it's worth, many of the old Ab Fab episodes are just being aired here now. Lots of golden oldies popping uip.

                                          2. I loved their show and they always made me laugh so hard -

                                            I just saw a few episodes on "the cooking channel" this past weekend and i squealed with delight. (I think that is the name of the channel - not FoodTV but the other newer one)

                                            I'm hoping they will be airing them regularly!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: thimes

                                              The "Cooking Channel" shows two 1/2-hour back-to-back episodes of "Two Fat Ladies" every Saturday night at 10 p.m.

                                            2. The DVDs are truly worth watching (even though I've seen every episode at least a few times). You get to see all the stuff that got edited out for the 1/2 hour time slot (some of it might offend our delicate North american sensibilites, I guess...).

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: kcshigekawa

                                                Yup - I have all of their shows on DVD, & particularly enjoy sticking them into the player & enjoying them with a nice hot cup of tea on a snowy afternoon.

                                              2. I like watching the show, but I don't have any desire to cook or eat any of their recipes. No wonder the Brits like Indian food.

                                                11 Replies
                                                1. re: Antilope

                                                  I agree somewhat. The shows are fun, & I have all of their cookbooks, which I've enjoyed reading, but many of the recipes are a bit offputting for one reason or another. And it's not because I don't like to cook &/or try different things - just that a lot of the combinations simply don't appeal to me.

                                                  I remember trying one recipe that called for "pickled walnuts", simply because my mother sent me a jar specifically for that recipe. Ugh. Not necessarily "bad", but definitely an acquired taste.

                                                  1. re: Bacardi1

                                                    Pickled walnuts are almost an essential ingredient with any game casserole made in this house. Or on a turkey sandwich.

                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                      Oh I'm not dissing them - they're just not to my taste.

                                                  2. re: Antilope

                                                    Many of the dishes they cooked are quite good (I know because I tried making them after seeing the shows). The unusual combinations in many of the old, traditional recipes are what piqued my interest.
                                                    Frankly, I'd take many of the things they cooked on the show over the last few restaurant meals I've eaten.

                                                    1. re: Antilope

                                                      We also like traditional British food (obviously). And Mediterranean food. And Chinese food. And even American food.

                                                      That said, we recently looked back at our Fat Ladies cookbooks and couldnt really find anything we wanted to eat. It all seemed so old-fashioned. Not traditional cooking as such but just old hat. The re-interpretation of the those sort of dishes is now being done much better than the Fat Ladies did them.

                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                        "...and 'even' American food."


                                                      2. re: Antilope

                                                        To me they seem to be twin British Paula Deen's. ;-)

                                                        1. re: Antilope

                                                          there were a couple of things they made that I'd attempt to eat
                                                          like the bubbles and squeak (if that's what it's even called). I thought they were so engaging to watch. very cute gals.

                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                            Bubble & squeak is certainly what it's called - and it makes a regular appearance in this house. Great leftovers dish of potato and cabbage - basically just mixed together and fried - buit also worth making just to have.


                                                            "Bubble" also forms part of a full fried breakfast but, as far as I know, only in the London area. In the rest of the country, we're happy with bacon, sausage, black pudding, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and fried bread

                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                              Another "Bubbles & Squeak" fan here! I've made it using leftover mash & the traditional leftover cabbage, but also with leftover kale & brussels sprouts as well - all delicious!

                                                              1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                There are Irish and Catalan versions as well, plus an Italian dish with polenta and cabbage (and beans).

                                                          2. Does it come with close captions? I have a hard time understanding their accent.

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: dondcook

                                                              Their accents are both "posh London" - if you struggle with understanding that one, then you'd probably have real difficulty understanding most of us who have more pronounced regional accents.

                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                I can understand Nigella, Jamie, Gordon, and Dr Who.

                                                                1. re: dondcook

                                                                  All of whom I trust speak either BBC or ITV.

                                                                  1. re: dondcook

                                                                    Blimey. I'm not sure I always understand Jamie (presumably Oliver?). The others tend to also have generic BBC "southern" accents what used to be called the "Home Counties" in England.

                                                                    And which Dr Who? Although they all tend to have pretty much the same accent - except Christopher Eccleston (who, like me, is northern). Even the 10th Doc, David Tennant, affected a fake southern English accent (he's Scottish)

                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                      There's some 'TFL's on Youtube.
                                                                      God help whoever had to help dear Clarisa into that side car!
                                                                      I heard somewhere a set of steps was used so she could walk up and step into the side car like 'a lady'. Can anyone repost the comment one of them made about eating pigeons in India? It was priceless.
                                                                      TFL's was one of the cooking shows that got me interested in cooking.

                                                                  2. re: Harters

                                                                    I work for a British based company and I definitely understand some of my British coworkers better than others! One of the people I talk to the most has a very northern British accent, which makes me STRONGLY prefer email as a contact medium :)

                                                                    1. re: coney with everything

                                                                      It's a matter of tuning in your ears to the accent.

                                                                      Location and class can make the difference as to whether foreigners can understand us easily. I am in north west England so may well one of the many that you couldnt readily understand. When my Kentucky lawyer friend visited, I made a point of speaking slower and without the use of regional slangwords that would be part of my normal speech. We got along fine, although he has another friend on the opposite side of the metro centre who, apparently, has a much more difficult to understand accent.

                                                                      In similar vein, until recent years, our trips to America were littered with examples of folk not recognising our accents as British - usually asking if we were from New Zealand (nope, my accent is nothing like the NZ one). I suspect that was because British regional accents feature much less frequently on your TV. We rarely have difficulty in understanding American accents and I assume that's because we get a lot of exposure to them on the TV and, to my ears, there isnt too much difference between them. Whereas, I reckon I could find you 4 or 5 distinct accents just in my own metro area - sufficiently different that I could probably place them to north/south/east/west and could make a decent guess as to whether they came from a middle or working class background. Throw in the use of particular words and I could guess at which town they were from. By the by, on our recent trip, we were in a restaurant in a small town in NC - the server spoke with such an accent that it barely sounded like English. Really difficult to understand and I had to interpret for my partner, who usually has very good "language ears"

                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                        When you were in Boston, Harters, I had little difficulty understanding you - unless you also dropped the regional slang words you'd normally use. The same for the recent audio link - no issue understanding either you or the interviewer.

                                                                2. I love those gals, and would gladly buy the entire series. I've seen them al at least twice, and would love to be able to watch them all the time.

                                                                    1. re: ninrn

                                                                      That is sad news indeed. Thanks for the link.