It has been a long day celebrating a long life. Mortlake Crematorium was full: Marguerite’s family and friends, plus many of us from the world of food and cookery. Chefs now household names through TV mingled with home economists from industry and journalism, plus those who had been encouraged by the friendship and example of one of the most loved and prolific cookery writers and home economists of our time.
When Marguerite’s daughter Judith asked me to speak at todays funeral I was somewhat overwhelmed and, of course, utterly delighted. My memories came after Judith’s and before those of Anne Dolamore of Grub Street, who had latterly published Marguerite’s books. The tributes were rounded off by Jamie Oliver who was inspired by Marguerite for his Ministry of Food programmes and the on-going work that he is doing under that banner around the world.
Of course there was sadness. Marguerite was not only a friend to me but a point of reference, first in her books and then on the ‘phone. She has been a rudder and an inspiration ever since I decided to make cookery my career. Her long life was full of wonderful giving of herself through her writing, demonstrations and speaking engagements. Today could not but be a celebration of the legacy that she has left, in her books and in our memories. I am certain that we shall talk about her for at least the next three decades, if not more, as those of us who knew her will never forget Marguerite Patten.