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About Jennifer Mary Paterson
Jennifer Mary Paterson
(3 April 1928 – 10 August 1999) was a British celebrity chef, actress and television personality who appeared on the television programme Two Fat Ladies with Clarissa Dickson Wright.
The pair were famous for their rich traditional meals made from scratch. Paterson was known for her liberal use of butter and cream, remarking on her television show in her usual manner with a shake of the hand, that yogurt was only fit for vegetarians and those with "a dicky tummy." Their preferred means of transportation was a motorcycle with sidecar, which Paterson drove.
Paterson's life was as unconventional as her on-screen persona suggested. She came from an army family, of which she later wrote, "My mother had no idea of how to cook and no wish to learn, existing on gorgonzola, coffee, and chocolates after the demise of any form of servant. My father, having gone through two world wars, was far too frightened to put on a kettle and my brothers who married young to very good wives...never showed any signs of wanting to whip up something delicious for a treat."
Paterson was expelled from convent school at 15 for being disruptive.
Paterson later became a matron at a girls' boarding school near Reading before ending up as a cook for the Ugandan legation in London and becoming a well-known figure on the London party circuit. She worked on the ITV show Candid Camera and later became a food writer for The Spectator and provided weekly lunches for personalities, including the Prince of Wales, for 15 years. She later wrote a book of recipes and reminiscences from her time at The Spectator entitled Feast Days, Recipes from The Spectator, in the introduction to which the English writer A.N. Wilson professed, "Jennifer Paterson is the best cook I know."
Paterson was a devout Roman Catholic who never married. She died in 1999 of lung cancer in London. She asked for caviar for her last meal but died before she could eat it. She was cremated at Putney Vale Crematorium, and her ashes were then buried in the cemetery there.
She was survived by an uncle, Anthony Bartlett OBE (who died in 2000), a close associate of Cardinal Basil Hume to whom he was Gentiluomo.
Paterson was a parishioner of the London Oratory. She would cook for the Fathers on a weekly basis. A portrait of her hangs in the Kitchen of Oratory House.
The Two Fat Ladies DVD set contains a 40-minute BBC tribute to Paterson that aired in 2004. The DVD box set was released in the United States in July 2008. The Acorn Media release contains all 24 episodes across four discs. The show previously was released in Britain as a Region 2 DVD set.
1.^ Jennifer Paterson (1990). Feast Days, Recipes from The Spectator (London: John Murray Publishers), p. xi. 2.^ New York Times (11 August 1999)Jennifer Paterson obituary. 3.^ Paterson, Feast Days, p. v. 4.^ DVD Spin Doctor review
Jennifer Paterson at the Internet Movie Database Jennifer Paterson at Find a Grave Jennifer Paterson at BBC Food