Remembering Jane

Jane Grigson’s friends and admirers share their personal memories, explain why her work was a source of inspiration and reflect on her legacy.

Clarissa Hyman

I have only one small, fleeting memory.  I only met Jane Grigson once. It was in the 1980s when I was working as a researcher on a regional Granada TV food programme.

The far-sighted producer was determined to smuggle in ‘serious’ food guests amongst the soap and quiz show celebs who were mandatory bookings ferried in to talk about their favourite meals.

We booked Jane to  do a demonstration of the legendary Sussex Pond Pudding (well, it wasn’t quite legendary then but I hope we helped give it the status it so deserved). She was a delight. Modest, gracious, practical and eloquent in equal measure. Alas, the head of Light Entertainment was not so impressed – I think he thought she should be dressed in sequins like Fanny Craddock and drop ingredients on the floor a la Julia Child. Sadly, the deadly strain of food tv as fun-filled game show was even then in the ascendency.

However, all the production team went out for a Chinese meal afterwards with Jane where, despite my tongue-tied gaucheness, I asked her to sign my copy of ‘Good Things’. At the time, I had no idea that my future lay in food writing but that was the book that was to such a great inspiration. If I am ever asked to appear on Desert Island Discs, that will be the one I take with me.