Mary Berry’s 1970s Cooking Segments Might Just Make Your Day

June 16, 2017

Season 4 of The Great British Bake Off airs tonight on PBS. If you follow the show, you probably already know it's the last season featuring the original hosts (Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc) and one of its judges, the charming Mary Berry. If this makes you sad and you find yourself stricken with the Mary Berry blues, I think I've found the cure.

I just came across this trove of old videos of Berry cooking, and they’re a total delight. As some television watchers decades older than me may remember, Berry, now 82, got her start on variety shows on the BBC and ThamesTV, including a variety show called Good Afternoon! that aired the 1970s.

ThamesTV’s YouTube channel has a nice catalog of these cookery segments, where Berry displays the same tart charisma that’s made a whole new generation fall under her spell on The Great British Bake Off. They're a window into another era that I, a millennial who fetishizes the 1970s, wish I lived through. I daresay I like these better than The Great British Bake Off. I'm hooked.

Slade's pie:

Named after a woman named Mrs. Slade.

Turkey mayonnaise:

Uh, have you ever turned your turkey into turkey mayo? Please let me know in the comments. I'm serious.

Simnel cake:

A fruitcake with almond paste that, somehow, sounds better than any I've ever had.

Mussels stuffed with snail butter:

The butter is green!

Fish pâté:

Perhaps the most charming video—she sticks some fish in a blender!

Have a favorite Mary Berry cooking segment? Let us know in the comments.

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This article was originally published in March, but we're still sad Mary is leaving and wanted to share it again.

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Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.


Caroline M. June 25, 2017
About the turkey mayonnaise - in Britain we have a dish called Coronation Chicken, which is cooked chicken in a curry-flavoured mayonnaise (supposedly originated at the coronation of Elizabeth II, in 1953). I think she's just ringing the changes on this theme by using turkey.
maggiesara June 16, 2017
Umm, did you actually watch the segments? "Turkey mayonnaise," as the segment makes clear, is just turkey with mayonnaise, the Brit term for what Americans would call "turkey salad." (When the Brits refer to "turkey salad," they mean a piece of turkey with some green salad on the side.)

Always a good idea to check before you haul out the snark, tempting though it may be to just snark away in ignorance.
melissa March 28, 2017
those videos led me to "Fanny Cradock Cooks Christmas Puddings":
Greenstuff March 28, 2017
I really enjoyed watching these, thanks! But I must note that if you're surprised that snail butter is green or that someone might put a fish in a blender (like me, you probably use the food processor?), you need to expand your horizons.
kpeck March 28, 2017
This is so fun to watch! Mary is simply divine! :)
Of course, the real tragedy is that the GBBO production company didn't keep the show with the BBC and sold out to the mainstream. The show will never be same ~ Thank goodness the DVDs come out next month so we can watch the Real GBBO :)
Whiteantlers March 27, 2017
Mary is a class act-then and now. Thanks for making Monday bright!
witloof March 27, 2017
Hearing that high pitched patrician voice declare "I made this crust from half lard and half CHEAP MAR-GAH-REEN made my day.
Eileen G. March 27, 2017
AJ K. March 27, 2017
Thank you for this. Coming across this early today started off my Monday right.