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.

Josceline Dimbleby

I met Jane Grigson in the late 1970s on my first experience of a culinary press trip. It was to Germany; we travelled from place to place by coach and wherever we stopped we were plied with huge amounts of sausages, rye breads and goose fat. In the coach I was thrilled to be sitting next to Jane, who I already revered. Our companions were a group of editors from various food and cookery publications. Jane and I were soon talking eagerly about things we loved to eat, in particular Sussex Pond Pudding, an old recipe for a steamed pudding made even more famous by Jane.

Mouths watering, we spoke of the way the river of melted butter and brown sugar mingled with the lemon juice which oozed out of the cooked lemon and burst through the crisply golden suet crust, and we sighed with pleasure as we remembered that indulgent taste of rich sweetness with a titillating tang. But suddenly we were aware of a hush around us.

‘I’ve NEVER heard anyone talk about food like this’, said one of the editors.The others nodded in agreement, and looked equally shocked. It was as if Jane and I were openly discussing our personal experience of a taboo sexual practice.We could hardly control our laughter; that moment was the start of a long, affectionate,and for me a wonderfully supportive friendship.