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David T. Cole

Mary Berry: HM Of Cakes

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I titled this thread because whenever I see Mary's name, I always think of her as Queen Mary. She is very regal and classy.

Have not had a chance to read her book, but I saw the BBC documentary about her life and it was interesting to hear talk about polio and work.

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My favorite bit about her may be her absolute love of booze in baking.   She apparently can really knock 'em back...

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I've just finished listening to the audiobook version of Mary Berry's autobiography, Recipe For Life and enjoyed it immensely. The book was written while season 4 was being filmed. At the end of each chapter, she provides a favorite recipe. Mary talks about Bake Off in the last two chapters.

 

She describes cooking with an AGA and offered cooking AGA cooking lessons for 16 years.  After hearing Mary's description, I have a lot of respect for Flora for baking on an AGA.

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I was paging through this cookbook, Tea and Cake with Lisa Faulkner, whom I'd seen on Extra Slice, and read this:

 

 

I remember once driving to a job halfway across the country. It was late, pouring with rain and the traffic was terrible. I stopped off the pick someone up and when I arrived at their house, tired and cold, I was greeted by a steaming cup of tea and homemade biscuits. It was exactly what I needed and I was overwhelmed by the warmth and kindness of this simple act. I couldn't stop thinking about it and it is finally what prompted me to write down all my recipes here for you to share. I think the moment was so very special because the person who demonstrated that love through her baking was one of my all-time heroes, Mary Berry. So, thank you, Mary, for inspiring me to write this book.

She really does seem like a lovely woman.  I don't bake much anymore, but I may have to buy one of Mary's cookbooks.  

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Reality Check,  I enjoyed reading your interesting post, but would you mind telling me what AGA is?  I've been trying to figure it out, but I can't think of what it might be.  I even went to Amazon and Google and saw references to it, but there was no explanation for what it meant. Thanks very much!

 

I didn't know that Mary had written a book.  I'd love to read it.  She is so attractive.  She strikes me as being a tough taskmaster but a lovely person.

 

Last night I googled Paul's affair, and I'm glad I did.  I had held that against him a little bit, but after reading about his remorse, it seems easy to forgive him that episode.  I thought it was interesting  (and unfair) that in all of the articles I read, while they named Marcella, they didn't seem to go after her for a quote. It takes two to tango.  Paul's wife is very pretty and apparently has some cooking credentials of her own.

 

ETA:  Now, having been to Amazon, I see that Mary has written a mini library full of books!

Edited by Lura
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RealityCheck, that was really nice of you to find that video.  I thought the AGA looked so interesting that I watched the video twice!  :)  I'd love to have one, but I guess they're only in England, and where would I put it, anyway?  I haven't actually figured out whether Mary works for AGA or just mentions it frequently.  I wonder whether, by any chance, AGA ovens are used on this show.  They look different from our U.S. ovens, but then maybe they would anyway.

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RealityCheck, that was really nice of you to find that video.  I thought the AGA looked so interesting that I watched the video twice!  :)  I'd love to have one, but I guess they're only in England, and where would I put it, anyway?  I haven't actually figured out whether Mary works for AGA or just mentions it frequently.  I wonder whether, by any chance, AGA ovens are used on this show.  They look different from our U.S. ovens, but then maybe they would anyway.

 

You can get an AGA in the USA, but they are extremely expensive and more or less have to be customized for your home. Here is the North American website for the brand.

 

Mary worked for AGA in the 50s and 60s before becoming an editor and then a TV host. For most upper class and many upper middle class British homes, AGAs are typical and quite amazing appliances. I'd love mine a lot if I had it too.

 

They do not use AGAs on the show; AGAs have a distinct look to them and they are never "off". Since they work in the conditions of the show, they wouldn't be able to use them.

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I don't have an AGA (or a Rayburn which is the other brand you find here) and I've never lived with one, so AGA-adoration might be something you just imbibe with your mother's milk, but I'm always perplexed that they're thought so desirable!

They're huge, expensive, difficult to cook on and massively - enormously!- fuel inefficient. Give me a modern gas hob and an electric oven, any day. The people I know who have AGAs nearly all have the conventional set up as well (sometimes hidden away in the 'utility' room. Hee!). Folk do love them though...

I kind of 'get it' if you live on a farm and are churning out breakfasts and lashings of tea to hungry, freezing-cold farm laborers in a big farmhouse kitchen full of muddy wellies, soggy overalls, a wet Labrador and a couple of orphaned lambs, but when I hear aspirational urban types lusting after one it just makes me laugh.

Side note: A novel which concerns itself with genteel middle class people suffering first world problems (while bonking each other) is known as an Aga Saga ;-)

Edited by ceebee
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I kind of 'get it' if you live on a farm and are churning out breakfasts and lashings of tea to hungry, freezing-cold farm laborers in a big farmhouse kitchen full of muddy wellies, soggy overalls, a wet Labrador and a couple of orphaned lambs

 

That's sort of my association with the Aga, from reading lots of midcentury British murder mysteries. Characters who had inherited oversized country houses, ill-suited to current needs, seemed to be forever saying that there was an Aga in the big old kitchen, but "of course they don't use it" -- they'd had a modern compact cooker installed that was plenty for their modest family meals.

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We lived in a country house in Oxfordshire for about 4 years and it had an AGA. it was great -- it basically provided heat for the kitchen and the bedrooms above it. In the summer, we used a regular electric stove. AGAs provide a steady heat and multiple ovens as well as room heat. A friend grew up in Scotland; his father was a shepherd and during lambing season, there were often lambs in their coolest warming oven waiting to be returned to the fields. He longer has a Rayburn but his coal fireplace has a hot water tank built in beside it. That's where his winter hot water for baths and kitchen come from.

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ETA:  Now, having been to Amazon, I see that Mary has written a mini library full of books!

My local library just added most if not all of her books as ebooks. I plan to check each out, browse, make a few recipes, and buy the ones I think I'll use most. Honestly, I've loved baking since I was a wee thing (thanks to my beloved late older sister, who patiently taught me not only how to bake but good habits like cleaning as I go that helped me love it forever) but bought my first kitchen scale (which I call Love of my Life) because of this show and to make the recipes, especially Mary's! 

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I have been watching Sue Perkins and Giles Coren's show The Supersizer's Eat on YT. They revisit the food and lifestyle of different eras in British history. It's really funny. For their Fifties show, Mary Berry is the cook.

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My word, the magic of styling. Just caught the very first 2 episodes of GBBO and Mary looks so much younger today than 5 years ago! Mary is a lovely human.

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I had no idea this was going to happen, but last night, my DVR recorded two GBBO Masterclass episodes. Watching Mary Berry bake is a joy. I must read her autobiography!

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Darian, I have an extra copy of Mary's autobiography that I will gift to you.  Is there a private message function on this board?

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1 hour ago, PaulaO said:

Darian, I have an extra copy of Mary's autobiography that I will gift to you.  Is there a private message function on this board?

You can also mouseover @Darian's username and there will be an option to message him.

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BBC have announced that Mary Berry will judge a new food competition show to look for Britain's Best Cook:

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The BBC said 10 contestants will compete across eight episodes, serving meals that reflect both the modern and classic dishes of British home cooking.

Berry said: "I am never more at home than when I have my judging hat on."

She continued: "This series is going to encourage proper home cooking, which I have always championed and I cannot wait to start. Claudia, for me, is the icing on the cake."

The 82-year-old will be joined by a second judge - but their identity hasn't yet been revealed.

New forum has been requested but the show likely won't air for some months, probably early 2018.

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I fervently hope that PBS will get this show for Mary Berry's legions of U.S. fans who are mourning the disappearance of the GBBS as we know it.

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Has anyone seen Mary's new program called Country Estate Secrets?  It is a new BBC show, but I was able to view it on You Tube.  Someone posted the link on FB.  There are 4 episodes so far. She visits estates  and also cooks .  One estate she visited is Highclare. The Downton Abbey estate.  She also sails, fishes and tracks deer.  She even had a wee dram while tracking deer in Scotland.  LOL. Also in Scotland she dances reels at an estate party.   I just love Mary. She is so spry for 83 years old.  Hope they make more episodes.

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Ooooh . . . thanks for this info.  Hubby and I visited Highclere a couple of years ago, so I'm going to surprise him with this episode on Youtube while we sit and eat dinner at our desk . . . 24" monitor, so we can both see it well!!!!

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3 hours ago, AZChristian said:

Ooooh . . . thanks for this info.  Hubby and I visited Highclere a couple of years ago, so I'm going to surprise him with this episode on Youtube while we sit and eat dinner at our desk . . . 24" monitor, so we can both see it well!!!!

I have a roku,so was able to watch it on my tv.   

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If any of you are fans of My So-Called Life, the episode of Country Estate Secrets is about Powderham Castle, which is where AJ Langer (who played Rayanne on MSCL) now live with her husband. It was like my tv worlds were colliding!

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You Can Join Your Favorite Great British Bake Off Judge For Afternoon Tea Aboard A Train In England

The luxurious and ultra-charming Belmond British Pullman train is hosting a four hour afternoon tea experience hosted by the one and only Great British Bake Off judge Mary Berry. Talk about an authentic U.K. experience—earl grey and scones with a national treasure. 

On May 3 and May 4, the series star will host an enchanting roundtrip ride from London to Weald of Kent. Aboard the train, guests will be served pots of hot tea, English sparkling wine, and some of Berry's personal favorites: cherry and almond tarts and strawberry mille-feuille. The acclaimed food writer and television presenter will mingle with patrons, sharing her wealth of baking knowledge, no doubt. According to the site, she'll also be passing out "surprise gifts."

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A San Francisco area brewery named a beer after Mary Berry. She sent them a cease and desist.

 "It's a massive pastry stout with over 200 pounds of raspberry puree, two kinds of single-source cacao from Dandelion Chocolates, vanilla, lactose — it's an absurd beer," explained Alex Zobel, co-founder of Armistice. "So we named it after after Mary Berry because she's the queen of pastries."

[...]

"It was totally intended as an homage," she says, "but I get it, people gotta protect their image to the public."

The beer is already finished and in packaging — wrapped with a label name they cannot legally use — so Zobel and her brother will need to sell the beer under another name. Luckily, they've already worked it out.

"It's called 'Cease and Desist Berry,'" she says. "The label has her image on it, so we're going to cover it up with upside-down smiley face stickers." 

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On 4/29/2020 at 5:06 PM, RealityCheck said:

About MARY BERRY

Thank you for this.  I didn't know that her hand was because of polio.    And I enjoyed seeing the footage from years ago.  

 

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I happened to find this this another show, Mary on Good Afternoon! on Thames TV from 1974. I don't even recognize her.

 

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