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Marguerite Patten


Marguerite Patten

Marguerite Patten c. 2000 at Glyndebourne
© Judith Patten


Marguerite Patten has had a very long career in the United Kingdom, writing about and teaching about food. Though she turned 85 in 2000, she was still working on books and magazines, despite being struck by arthritis later in her years, which she brought under control by diet. She continued to work until a stroke in 2011. Prior to that, she lived in Brighton, East Sussex and now lives in Richmond, Surrey (as of 2012.)

Very unpretentious, Patten has always made it clear that she's a "home economist, not a chef", though her favourite food books are those by Escoffier and Elizabeth David.

It was during the Second World War that she came to national prominence, working with the war effort on the home front helping people to eat well despite a limited range of goods. She was called "the Queen of ration book cuisine." And, as prosperity eluded the UK after the war, she even popularized cooking with SPAM in the UK in the 1950s.

As of 2006, she has published over 169 cookbooks, with over 17 million copies altogether being sold, making her one of the best-selling cookbook authors of all time.

Patten was born 4 November 1915 as Hilda Elsie Marguerite Brown in Bath, England. When she was young, her family moved to High Barnet near London in Hertfordshire. Upon her father's death in 1928 when she was 13, her mother, who had been a teacher, went back to work. As the eldest daughter, helping her working mother out with the cooking at home fell to her. Marguerite liked cooking, and when she left school, did a cooking course, then got her first job as a junior home economist at the Eastern Electricity Board.

Despite her early start at the career that would eventually bring her national recognition, she decided early on to try to pursue a more glamourous path, and so left her job with the Electricity Board, and joined an acting company, with the stage name of Marguerite Eve. She stayed with them for an entire nine-month season, during which she performed at Hampstead's Everyman Theatre and at the Oldham Repertory. With the season ended, though, and her out of work and needing money, she went to work for Frigidaire (the refrigerator company) as a senior home economist, doing demonstrations, aided by her acting skills. Her job was trying to persuade British housewives that they needed a refrigerator. She said it was very hard-going.

Chronology of her career

  • 1939 -- Marguerite returned to the Eastern Electricity Board.
  • 1940 -- War rationing of started in Britain in January 1940.
  • 1942 -- Marguerite was hired by the Ministry of Food to inspire people about what to cook with the limited range of food that was available. She was based out of Lincoln.
  • 1942 -- Marguerite marries Charles ("Bob") Alfred Patten. She had met him at Lincoln, where he was in the RAF posted on Lancaster bombers. Marguerite fell pregnant quickly, and left work with the Food Ministry and went to live with her mother who was still in High Barnet. There, she found that her mother had created a huge fruit and vegetable Victory garden. She and her mother saved up sugar from their rations to make fruit preserves.
  • 1943 -- Her daughter Judith is born. Marguerite returned to the Ministry of Food and was posted in the east end of London, which was being severely hit, visiting hospitals and factories. Marguerite was then posted to a bureau that the Ministry had opened right inside Harrod's, with a kitchen that Marguerite used to give cooking demonstrations.
  • 1944 -- Marguerite started appearing on the BBC Radio morning radio programme called "Kitchen Front", broadcast from studios in Oxford Street, London, with host Stuart Petre Brodie Mais (1885 to 1975.)
  • 1945 -- When the war was over, Harrod's reclaimed the space from the Ministry, and Marguerite switched to working for Harrod's directly, giving demonstrations of using appliances such as refrigerators, stoves and pressure cookers in the kitchen.
  • 1947 -- Marguerite's first cookbook, "Recipes by Harrods", was published by Harrod's. She was 32 years old at the time. In the same year, she had her first television appearance on the BBC television programme called "Designed for Women" (aka "Mainly for Women".) She was the expert that appeared in a segment of it set aside for cooking. Some writers say this made Marguerite the first cook on TV in Britain, but Marguerite herself thinks it was Philip Harben (who in fact did start appearing on TV in 1946), while the BBC thinks it might have been Moira Meighn or Marcel Boulestin. The programme continued with her on it until the early 1960s.
  • Early 1950s -- Marguerite was firmly a household name.
  • 1951 -- Marguerite left Harrod's to go freelance as a writer and presenter.
  • 1991 -- Marguerite was awarded the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE.)
  • 1997 -- Bob died.
  • 1999 -- BBC Radio 4. Marguerite did a series of 10 half-hour programmes called "Marguerite Patten's Century of British Cooking."
  • 2001 -- Marguerite helped Channel 4 and the Imperial War Museum design the "1940s house", which depicted the house of a British middle-class family during the war.
  • 2001 -- With Jeannette Ewin, published "Eat to Beat Arthritis". She eased the pain of her arthritis by following Giraud Campbell’s arthritis diet ‘The New Doctor’s Proven Home Cure for Arthritis’. She didn't like the recipes, though, so created a whole new set of more practical and appealing recipes to carry out the diet on.
  • 2007 -- Received the Woman of the Year award, Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2010 -- Marguerite was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE.)

Bibliography (in chronological order)

  • Recipes by Harrods. Harrods: London. 1947
  • Pressure Cooking by Harrods, including recipes. Harrods: London. 1949
  • Harrods Second Book of Recipes. Harrods Knightsbridge. 1950
  • Marguerite Patten's Cake and Biscuit Book, etc. Phoenix House: London. 1952
  • Marguerite Patten's Invalid Cookery Book, etc. Phoenix House: London. 1953
  • Learning to cook with Marguerite Patton, etc. Phoenix House: London. 1955
  • Cooking for Bachelors and Bachelor Girls. Robert Hale: London. 1958
  • Learning to cook. Pan Books: London. 1958
  • The Creda housecraft manual: a treasury of useful recipes and household information. Stoke-on-Trent: Simplex Electric Company. 1958
  • Cookery in Colour. A picture encyclopedia for every occasion. Edited by Marguerite Patten. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1960
  • Marguerite Patten's Book of Cakes and Baking. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1961.
  • Marguerite Patten's Book of Savoury Cooking, etc. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1961
  • 500 Recipes for Families. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1962
  • 500 Recipes for Quick Meals. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1962
  • 500 Recipes for Slimmers. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1962
  • 500 Recipes from abroad. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1962
  • 500 Recipes from around the world. London: Hamlyn. 1962
  • Marguerite Patten's Book of Fish, Meat, Poultry and Game. Main course dishes, basic and traditional, old and new, etc. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1962
  • Marguerite Patten's Book of Fruit and Vegetable Cookery-and eggs, cheese, bacon, pickles, chutneys, jams, homemade wines. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1962
  • 500 Recipes for Canned and Frozen Food. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1963
  • 500 Recipes for Home-made Wines and Drinks. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1963
  • 500 Recipes for Jams, Pickles, Chutneys, etc. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1963
  • 500 Recipes for Main Meals. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1963
  • 500 Recipes for Puddings and Sweets. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1963
  • 500 Recipes for Refrigerator Dishes. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1963
  • 500 Recipes for Suppers and Snacks. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1963
  • A to Z Cookery in Colour. 6 vol. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1963
  • Children's Parties. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1963
  • Cookery in Colour, etc. London. 1963
  • Learning to cook. London. 1963
  • Marguerite Patten's Book of Puddings and Desserts. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1963
  • Step-by-Step Cookery. With illustrations. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1963
  • 500 Recipes for Chicken Dishes. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1964
  • 500 Recipes for Meals without Meat. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1964
  • 500 recipes for meals without meat. London: Hamlyn. 1964
  • 500 Recipes for Sweets and Candies. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1964
  • Diets for Health. With plates. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1964
  • Marguerite Patten's Family Cookbook. With illustrations. Spring Books: London. 1964
  • Round the World Cookery. With plates. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1964
  • 1,000 Household Hints. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1965
  • 500 Recipes for Bread and Scones. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1965
  • 500 Recipes for Fish Dishes. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1965
  • 500 recipes for fish dishes. London: Hamlyn. 1965
  • 500 Recipes for Soups and Savouries. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1965
  • ABC of Simple Cooking. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1965
  • Cake icing & decoration. With plates. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1965
  • Cookery in colour, etc. London. 1965
  • Entertaining at Home. With plates. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1965
  • Marguerite Patten's Make a menu book, etc. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1965
  • Quick & easy cookbook in colour. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1965
  • Your Wedding. Paul Hamlyn: London. 1965
  • 500 recipes for dinners & supper parties. London: Hamlyn. 1966
  • 500 recipes for fruit dishes. London: Hamlyn. 1966
  • 500 recipes for meat dishes. London: Hamlyn. 1966
  • 500 recipes from Australia. London: Hamlyn. 1966
  • 500 recipes: eat and be healthy. London: Hamlyn. 1966
  • Cookery in colour, etc. London. 1966
  • Home making in colour. London: Hamlyn. 1966
  • Adventures in cookery. 2. Ginn. 1967
  • Adventures in cookery. l. Ginn. 1967
  • Marguerite Patten's Make a menu book. Reprinted. London: Paul Hamlyn. 1967
  • Marguerite Patten's Book of fruit and vegetable cookery. Fruit and vegetable cookery. London, etc.: Paul Hamlyn. 1968
  • Marguerite Patten's Book of savoury cooking. Savoury cooking. Revised ed. Feltham: Hamlyn. 1968
  • Adventures in cookery. London: Ginn. 1969
  • Classic dishes made simple. Feltham: Hamlyn. 1969
  • Book of cakes and baking. Cakes and baking. Revised edition. London, etc.: Hamlyn. 1970
  • Marguerite Patten's book of fish, meat, poultry and game. Fish, meat, poultry and game. Revised ed. Feltham: Hamlyn. 1970. 1970
  • 500 recipes for bedsitter cookery. London: Hamlyn. 1970
  • 500 recipes for working wives. London: Hamlyn. 1970
  • 500 recipes, electric mixers and blenders. London, etc.: Hamlyn. 1970
  • The how-to-cook book. London: Hamlyn. 1970
  • 500 recipes for jams, pickles, chutneys and preserves, etc. Revised edition. London, etc.: Hamlyn. 1971
  • 500 recipes for suppers and snacks. Revised ed. London: Hamlyn. 1971
  • Adventures in cookery / Revised metricated ed. London: Ginn. 1971
  • Adventures in cookery / Revised metricated ed. London: Ginn. 1971
  • Adventures in cookery. London: Ginn. 1971
  • Cooking today. London: Hamlyn. 1971
  • Junior cook book. London: Pan Books. 1971
  • The care of fabrics; drawings by Sherborne. London: Ginn. 1971
  • Cookery in colour: a picture encyclopaedia for every occasion. Edited by Marguerite Patten. Revised edition. London: Hamlyn. 1972
  • Health food cookery. London: Hamlyn. 1972
  • Learning to cook with Marguerite Patten. Revised ed. London: Pan Books. 1972
  • Marguerite Patten's international cookery in colour. London: Hamlyn. 1972
  • Perfect cooking. London: Octopus Books. 1972
  • Step by step guide to easy icing. London: Hamlyn. 1972
  • World cookery. London: Pan Books. 1972
  • Fondue and table-top cookbook. London & Glasgow: Collins. 1973
  • Baking for the family. London: Hamlyn. 1973
  • Budget meals. London: Hamlyn. 1973
  • Busy cook's book. London: Hamlyn. 1973
  • Casseroles. London: Hamlyn. 1973
  • Cooking for two. London: Hamlyn. 1973
  • Cooking in a hurry. London: Octopus Books. 1973
  • Cooking with chicken. London, etc.: Hamlyn. 1973
  • Cuisine, santé, beauté. Paris: Compagnie internationale du livre. 1973
  • Dinner and supper parties. London, etc.: Hamlyn. 1973
  • Entertaining economically. London: Octopus Books. 1973
  • Family cooking. London: Hamlyn. 1973
  • Family favourites. London: Octopus Books. 1973
  • Marguerite Patten's menu maker. London: Octopus Books. 1973
  • Marguerite Patten's step by step cookery. Revised ed. London: Hamlyn. 1973
  • Meals in a hurry. London: Hamlyn. 1973
  • Party fare. London: Hamlyn. 1973
  • Recipes for two. London: Hamlyn. 1973
  • Salads and vegetables. London, etc.: Hamlyn. 1973
  • Second piccolo cook book. London: Pan Books. 1973
  • Soups and starters. London, etc.: Hamlyn. 1973
  • Suppers and buffets. London: Octopus Books. 1973
  • The play & cook book. London: Collins. 1973
  • Women's Own 365 menu cookbook. London, etc.: Hamlyn. 1973
  • The how-to-cook book. London, etc.: Hamlyn. 1974
  • Books for cooks: a bibliography of cookery. London: Bowker. 1975
  • Marguerite Patten's all colour cookery. London: Hamlyn. 1975
  • Marguerite Patten's all-colour book of freezing. London, etc.: Hamlyn. 1975
  • The pure gold of Spain. London: Jupiter Books. 1975
  • Marguerite Patten's menu maker Marguerite Patten's 100 great menus. London: Octopus Books. 1976
  • Enjoy cooking with Marguerite Patten. London: Mills and Boon. 1976
  • Colourful family cooking. London: Octopus Books. 1977
  • Cooking in a hurry. London: Octopus Books. 1977
  • Marguerite Patten's pressure cookery. Glasgow: Collins. 1977
  • Second piccolo cook book Cook book. London: Severn House: Distributed by Hutchinson. 1978
  • 500 recipes for chicken dishes. London: Hamlyn. 1978
  • Cooking for special occasions. London: Severn House: Distributed by Hutchinson. 1978
  • Easy icing. Feltham: Hamlyn. 1978
  • Hamlyn's family cookbook. Feltham: Hamlyn. 1978
  • Vegetarian cooking for you. London: Hamlyn. 1978
  • Cooking for the family in colour. London: Octopus Books. 1979
  • Good cooking step by step. London: Hamlyn. 1979
  • Marguerite Patten's slimming cookbook. London: Octopus Books. 1979
  • The epicure's book of steak and beef dishes. London: Barrie and Jenkins. 1979
  • The epicure's book of steak and beef dishes. London: Treasure. 1979
  • Dear diary. London: Mirror. 1980
  • Marguerite Patten's holiday cooking: a guide to self-catering at home and abroad. Glasgow: Collins. 1980
  • Vegetarian cooking for you. Revised edition. London: Hamlyn. 1980
  • Marguerite Patten's slimming cookbook. Portuguese Cozinha para emagrecer. Lisboa: Ci´rculo de Leitores. 1981
  • Cooking in pictures. London: Mirror Books. 1981
  • Marguerite Patten's multi-mixer cookbook. Glasgow: Collins. 1981
  • The A-Z of economy with Magimix: 68 recipes written for food processors. Isleworth 25 Lower Sq., Isleworth, Middx: 1CTC. 1981
  • The A-Z of economy with Robot-Chef: 68 recipes written for food processors. Isleworth 25 Lower Sq., Isleworth, Middx: 1CTC. 1981
  • Marguerite Patten's Sunday lunch cookbook. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. 1983
  • 500 recipes for sweets and candies Sweets and candies. London: Hamlyn. 1984
  • New ways to perfect cooking. London: Octopus. 1984
  • The Country Life book of good cooking. Feltham: Hamlyn. 1984
  • The Piccolo cookbook. New extended edition. London: Piccolo. 1984
  • Good cooking: the second Piccolo cookbook, Revised and extended version. London: Piccolo. 1985
  • We'll eat again: a collection of recipes from the war years. Twickenham: Hamlyn in association with the Imperial War Museum. 1985
  • Chocolates and sweets. Twickenham: Hamlyn. 1986
  • Microwave for one. Twickenham: Hamlyn. 1987
  • Eat well stay well. Hamlyn. 1989
  • The complete book of teas. Piatkus. 1989
  • New ways to perfect cooking Cooking to perfection. Treasure Press. 1991
  • Eat well stay well. Mandarin. 1991
  • What's cooking?: recipes of a lifetime. London: Hawker. 1992
  • Marguerite Patten's family cookbook. Hamlyn. 1993
  • Classic British dishes. London: Bloomsbury. 1994
  • The victory cookbook. London: Hamlyn. 1995
  • The victory cookbook. London: Hamlyn. 1995
  • Soups. London: Bloomsbury. 1996
  • Soups: the best recipes from around the world. London: Bloomsbury. 1996
  • Marguerite Patten's post-war kitchen Post-war kitchen: nostalgic food and facts from 1945-1954. London: Hamlyn. 1998
  • Marguerite Patten's post-war kitchen: nostalgic food and facts from 1945-1954. London: Hamlyn. 1998
  • Post-war kitchen. London: Hamlyn. 1998
  • Century of British cooking Marguerite Patten's Century of British cooking. London: Grub Street. 1999
  • Spam, the cookbook. London: Hamlyn. 2000
  • Eat to beat arthritis: over 60 recipes and a self-treatment plan to transform your life. London: Thorsons. 2001
  • Jams, preserves and chutneys handbook. New edition. London: Grub Street. 2001
  • The basic basics baking. London: Grub Street. 2002
  • The Coronation Cookbook. London: Hamlyn. 2002
  • The healthy gut cookbook: how to keep in excellent digestive health with 60 recipes and nutrition advice. London: Thorsons. 2004


Sources

Prince, Rose. Brighton Belle (Marguerite Patten). London: Waitrose Magazine. September 1998.

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Citation

Oulton, Randal. "Marguerite Patten." CooksInfo.com. Published 08 September 2005; revised 17 November 2012. Web. Accessed 11/18/2017. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/marguerite-patten>.

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