Clarrisa Dickson Wright is one half of British television’s Two Fat Ladies cooking team. When her autobiography was first published in the UK in 2007, it was met with wide acclaim. It’s not hard to see why.
The first official U.S. edition becomes available this month from Overlook Press and it’s a surprisingly complete book. In a way, Spilling the Beans has everything: fame, celebrity, addiction, heartbreak… and, of course, food. Lots and lots of food.
The only reason I can think of that it’s taken this long for Spilling the Beans to get to this side of the water is the very real possibility that a lot of people in the U.S. have never heard of Two Fat Ladies, or at least, had not until 2008 when the series that ended in 1998 after the death of Dickson Wright’s cooking partner, Jennifer Paterson, was released here.
Spilling the Beans recounts some of that time but the Fat Ladies years are only a small part of Dickson Wright’s journey to date. At its core, Spilling the Beans is a story of redemption. About the little rich girl — Dickson Wright, of course — with an abusive, alcoholic father. She grows to be a brilliant young woman (and ends up being the youngest woman in the UK ever called to the bar), a dilettante (she ends up partying away a significant fortune), her recovery through AA, then traveling the English countryside in the sidecar of a motorcycle with the late Paterson.
This is a well told, joyous memoir that, for me, is all about finding your way back. Even those largely unfamiliar with Dickson Wright will enjoy her humor and wit.