'Two Fat Ladies' featured on DVD

Starting this week, the Two Fat Ladies will push their pudgy fingers into pork pies once again.

As captured in their heyday, of course. All 24 of the late-1990s BBC cookery-travelogue shows starring Clarissa Dickson Wright and the late Jennifer Paterson are being released in a boxed set of DVDs by Acorn Media (www.acornonline.com).

Viewed more than a decade after the first episode was filmed, their half-hour programs make many of today's cooking TV shows look, well, painfully thin. Paterson and Wright were unabashedly out of shape, lusty, busty and older than spring chickens; hence the title.

With no formal training, Paterson and Wright became accomplished cooks who had never met before the pilot. Perhaps that's one of the reasons the TFLs became so popular: They were just regular old girls, shoving off in a motorcycle with sidecar, earning the respect of those who sampled the picnics they catered in northern Wales, the pheasant shot and roasted in Scotland and the hearty bean soup that stirred university oarsmen in Cambridge.

What's best about their series is the obvious joy with which they imparted history, humor and acid-tongued opinion at the worktable while pioneering locavore aspects of cooking in terribly English kitchens. American audiences watched the series in 1998 on Food Network.

The DVD collection costs $59.99 and contains outtakes and a tribute to Paterson, a smoker who died of cancer in 1999 at age 71. Wright, 61, lives in Scotland and published her memoirs, "Spilling the Beans," last year.

— The Washington Post

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