|Great Dixter chimneys as seen from the top of a high compost heap.|
The British have long been a nation of growers and preservers, and the Dig for Victory instinct continues. Brits have not always been a nation of good eaters, of course. It might be that until recently the need to shore up was the driving force in domestic food production. Potatoes and apples stored, jams and jellies made: food shortages kept at bay. The eating experience was at its best about good plain British cooking, without ideas from Abroad.
|The kitchen garden at Great Dixter.|
Now, people who cook also like to grow things and people who grow things are learning to cook. At Great Dixter there was a cook until the 1970s but when he died Christopher Lloyd decided to learn to cook himself. "Christo was very greedy. He LOVED food," says my guide. Dinner might start with whiskey and walnuts, and after pudding there would be chocolate and coffee. It's very easy to imagine when you are at Great Dixter, with its comfortable kitchen and open fires. And yet home-grown and home-cooked is still quite a new idea: Christopher Lloyd's book Gardener Cook was published within fairly recent memory.
|Well-tempered leeks and bulbs for sale at the Great Dixter Fair last week.|