3:00pm Wednesday 16th April 2014
Edington villager Vera Tottingham was featured in BBC2 programme Great British Menu this week, when her granddaughter-in-law competed in the north-west heats of the competition.
The Great British Menu – now in its ninth series – has 24 leading chefs competing in regional heats to win a chance to serve war veterans at a banquet in St Paul’s Cathedral, London.
This year’s programme marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day, with the chefs given the task of preparing dishes evoking the wartime spirit to honour the bravery shown throughout the Second World War.
Mrs Tottingham appeared on the programme to speak to her grandson’s wife Mary-Ellen McTague about her experiences on the home front.
Mrs Tottingham, 89, who has lived in the village for six years, said: “My grandson’s wife hopes to cook the main meal at St Paul’s Cathedral, so she came and spoke to me about my experiences during the war.
“We spoke about the sort of food that we ate and I also had a recipe book by Lord Woolton, who was the minister of food at the time, which helped her come up with some of the dishes.
“My husband Bill was in the Navy on HMS Wensleydale. He spoke about how they were not allowed to have hot food at sea so as not to create smoke, but when they got back to shore they would bung everything in a pot and do a sort of stew.
“One of the dishes Mary-Ellen did was inspired by the stew called Bill’s pot mess. I also told her how we used carrots in cakes to keep them moist.”
Mrs McTague, who also appeared on the programme in 2013, formerly worked at Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck.
She now has her own restaurant in Manchester with her husband.
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