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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 March 2005, 18:27 GMT
Delia Smith: Chef and canary
Delia Smith
Delia Smith has helped shift everything from pans to prunes
Delia Smith's rousing calls to supporters at Norwich City's home game against Manchester City on Tuesday were all part of her passion for the club.

But her enthusiasm only mirrors the profound effect Smith has had on the eating habits of the UK since her debut as a TV chef in the early 1970s.

As well as selling nearly 17m books, the phrase "Delia effect" has entered the language.

The "Delia effect" saw huge surges in demand for culinary devices or ingredients - sparked by their inclusion in a particular recipe - which overwhelmed supermarkets and suppliers.

The power of British television's best-known chef generated a national cranberry shortage in 1995, a rush for white eggs in 1999, for North Wales sea salt in 2000 and for prunes in 2002.

While some of her recipes could be elaborate, she has always been regarded as the people's chef, not afraid to go back to basics and tell people how to boil an egg.

Starting as a dishwasher at a restaurant in 1960s London, she became a Daily Mirror cookery writer in 1969, where she met husband Michael Wynn Jones.

Her mission was to shake off the dowdy image of British restaurants and cuisine in the 1960s and guide British diners away from chicken-in-a-basket.

The first cookery books soon followed and in 1973 she made her television bow with Family Fare.

Publishing sale

The 1990s were perhaps her most popular years, with TV series Delia Smith's Christmas, Delia Smith's Summer Collection and Delia Smith's Winter Collection, sparking three books which sold a combined 5.5m copies.

In December last year Smith announced her retirement from TV cooking, and in January this year, the sale of her publishing firm.

Now she is also well known for her director's role at Norwich City football club, inevitably steering the catering at the club since the start of her involvement in 1996.

She has not proved to be a Roman Abramovich figure for Norwich, but is respected by most fans as an enthusiastic supporter of the club, along with her husband.

The club has been widely tipped for relegation, but its fans will continue to have fond memories of their year in the Premiership and those who were involved with it.

And while younger gastronomes may be turning to trendier chefs like Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson, Delia Smith's impact will always be recognised.



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