Monthly Archives: December 2009

A who’s who of British chick-lit

Tonight I was searching around for news on one of my favorite British authors (Katie Fforde), and I found this entertaining primer on British chick-lit, complete with a rating system for the social class each authoress tends to write about. If you like chick-lit, or you’re traveling someplace warm over the holidays and want something light to read on the beach, check out some of these titles.

If you like British chick lit, who are some of your favorite authors? I noticed Sophie Kinsella, for example, isn’t listed in this survey, probably one of the best-known Brit chick lit authors known here in the U.S.

Breakfast of Anglophiles

I was reading this interesting article over the weekend at the Guardian about why porridge is the new power breakfast. When I was a child, I was a voracious reader (well, I still am) who loved English novels, where porridge was always the holy grail of a starving orphan’s life. I used to wonder what the heck it was, never connecting it was the oatmeal I ate nearly every morning.

I didn’t know that there’s a porridge making contest every year, sort of an Iron Chef for oaties, in Carrbridge, Scotland. I’d love to see that. And taste … just as long as I can pass on any snail porridge on offer.

The Delia Effect

Last week in the U.K., British cookbook author Delia Smith (who’s a little bit like our Martha Stewart, except that she owns a football team and hasn’t done time) presented her first Christmas cooking program in 20 years, and it looks like it was a big hit. The Daily Mail entitled one of its articles, “Welcome Back, Saint Delia” and in a less effusive, but positive article, the Guardian admits “she doesn’t ponce around with all the extras Nigella [Lawson] insists on.”

What’s really interesting to me is the power Smith has with consumers. When she says she likes a certain omelet pan or praises the virtues of cranberries, she creates a run on these products. It’s called “the Delia effect,” and retailers love it. The phrase was even added to the Collins English Dictionary in 2001.

I own a couple of Delia’s cookbooks, and while I don’t use them that often, I like them. They’re homey, and what I reach for when I want to make the perfect gravy for roast beef or try my hand at a British classic like sticky toffee pudding. I’ve been eyeing Nigella’s new Christmas cookbook — new to us Americans anyway — but now I’m thinking of ordering Delia’s Happy Christmas, too. Decisions, decisions.

Mistresses Season 3 in the works!

**UPDATE: Read the latest on Mistresses Season 3**

I read in the Daily Mail this week that Joanna Lumley will have a role in the third season of BBC’s chickclick drama, Mistresses, which will start filming in April 2010. Woo-hoo! I was sure season two was the last with the way they ended the season. Fingers crossed the Brits will export this little gem to BBC America.

See Sting squirm


Ok, I came of age in the 80s and loved, loved, loved The Police, but Sting today? Pfft. Every time I think of the $20 I wasted buying Mrs. Sting’s cookbookthe most arrogant cookbook I’ve ever laid hands on if there is such a thing! — I’m driven to tears. Mr. Sting also strikes me as exceedingly arrogant man, so I sort of loved watching him simmer and squirm during the interview above with the BBC’s Jeremy Paxman. Heh.

Attention Anglophile shoppers

Liberty of London has announced a partnership with Target stores to sell a line of branded clothing and housewares under the aptly named “Flower Power Collection.” The collection, which will include everything from underwear to bicycles, will be available starting March 2010. Read more here.