HYACINTH BUCKET'S BOOK OF BETTER-CLASS BRITISH COOKERY was written in response to the many requests from the readers of Aunt Hyacinth's Etiquette Column on Brian Sturges' "Keeping Up Appearances" website. During the three years I wrote that column, many people expressed an interest in learning how to reproduce a 'Hyacinth Bucket Moment' on their own dining room tables. They asked, particularly, for recipes. And so Brian, who is a chef by trade (Hyacinth would be thrilled to know he once worked aboard the QE2!) and I decided to collaborate on a Cookery Book. I went through my tapes of "Keeping Up Appearances," made appropriate notes and and listed every food shown or mentioned on the 44 episodes. Brian Sturges developed many of the recipes and also contributed the graphics. Without him and his wonderful KUA Website, you would not be reading this book. (A little 'aside' -- I sent a manuscript for this book to BBC Books but have never received a response from them and so I take that as their way of giving me the freedom to publish HYACINTH BUCKET'S BOOK OF BETTER-CLASS BRITISH COOKERY here. I hope, if they see it, they will agree.)
Sharon Kay Doty deserves a very special note of praise. Her work in researching many of the recipes has been invaluable to the success of this book -- in fact, without Sharon Kay, this book would not exist. She and I met on the KUA website and became friends on email. She posted several lovely menus and recipes on the KUA bulletin board and I mentioned to her -- in passing (I thought) -- that she ought to collaborate with me on the Cookbook, which had been only partially begun the year before and lay 'stalled' in my files. This book exists not only because Sharon Kay provided many of the recipes but because of her wonderful enthusiasm and support.
It's a rare person who can sustain the writing of a book clear through to the end all by herself or have the perspective necessary to edit it alone. I certainly could not have done it and am fortunate to have three very dear friends who have encouraged me, cheered me, and when I've needed it -- nagged me -- to finish this book. They are all good cooks (which I am not) and have read various portions of the manuscript, given me their comments and suggestions -- and in many cases, even 'beta tested' the recipes. I am forever grateful to Ruth Vinton Walters, Nancy Caperton, and Ray Skelly.
And as it is written: The first shall be last. And so lastly I thank my dear husband Jim, who has encouraged and supported me daily and from the start; who has lived with me as I turned into 'Hyacinth' during the times of writing this book; and who has, like 'Richard', often lay awake far into the night, listening to all of my (or are they Hyacinth's?) grandiose ideas.
The acknowledgements are not complete without thanking Roy Clarke, the writer of "Keeping Up Appearances" and the originator of the effervescent Hyacinth Bucket. I am also grateful to Patricia Routledge for her superb portrayal of that character and to all the cast of KUA: in particular, Clive Swift as Richard; Geoffrey Hughes as Onslow; Judy Cornwell as Daisy; Josephine Tewson as Elizabeth; David Griffin as Emmet; and the late Mary Millar, as our beloved Rose. Visions of them and the sounds of their voices were in my head for the year it took me to finish this book.
Thank you each and everyone for helping to make
BUCKET'S BOOK OF BETTER-CLASS BRITISH COOKERY a
turn the page to The Table of Contents.
Copyright December 2000.