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Radio 4s Cassandra's Good Food Guide

"Cassandra" (Bill Connor) was a Fleet Street legend during the Daily Mirror's heyday, with his column running non stop, not counting global hostilities, for 35 years until 1967.
He could often be cantankerous and comically opinionated in what was described as his "polished-up barrack room" style of writing. Some of Cassandra's best columns, however, were not about people or institutions he wanted to admonish, but humorous personal tales about eating and drinking.
Here, we are encouraged to come into the garden by dead of night to listen to the rubbery, rustling noise of a vegetable growing in "How I Like My Cabbage." We learn from him the horrors of being brought up on "Miss Cowie's Porridge" ("If ever a word describing a food had the sound of its meaning, it is 'Porridge' - the slup and slur and costive slirrup of the uneatable.") Then there are the "Scrap Cakes" - his brilliant invention of artillery food that married couples can safely throw at each other ("They are convenient in size, fit the hand like a grenade and do not mark the carpet.") In the description of his calming encounter with the admirable Grocer in Harrods, he is on the trail of "Fried Za Zas", while in "The Prose of Sauce" he reveals "I have been a reader of sauce-bottle labels ever since I first got to eye-level with the kitchen table."
It has been said about Cassandra that he was outwardly stubborn and prickly, but inwardly a warm and friendly cove. An argument with him ended, as a rule, with his twinkling eyes peering over the steamed-up spectacles.
That is exactly the side of the man conveyed by this collection of columns.
Read by Roger Lloyd Pack
Producer: Neil Cargill
A Pier Production for BBC Radio


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