Dahl dazzles crowds at Thame Literary Festival

Sophie Dahl speaks at Thame Literary Festival - pictured at Towersey Manor
Sophie Dahl speaks at Thame Literary Festival - pictured at Towersey Manor

SOPHIE Dahl talked about her famous grandfather, being a new mum and life with husband musician Jamie Cullum when she appeared at Towersey Manor Barn on Saturday as part of the Thame Arts and Literature Festival.

More than 2,000 people attended one of 35 shows over the three-day event, which included live music, theatre performances, writing workshops, and talks from leading authors and journalists.

Dahl, a model until 2006, Vogue magazine columnist and TV presenter, talked about her new book From Season to Season – a Year in Recipes.

The 33 year old describes herself as a writer, not a chef, and in the book talks about the emotions she associates with food.

Recipes include heartbreak carbonara.

During the talk, Dahl spoke about her passion for food, admitting that she goes to bed reading recipe books and ‘can do a food diary remembering meals I had when I was 17 years old’.

She said: “Growing up in a family that revolved around the kitchen table and good food, that is what I take from my childhood.”

Dahl described herself as ‘old fashioned’ saying: “I just had a very definite idea as child that I wanted to have a very domestic life.”

She started a relationship with musician Jamie Cullum in 2007, and gave birth to their first child Lyra seven months ago.

The writer admits that at home she does not spend each night slaving over complicated recipes, and along with her husband will often enjoy ‘cosy comfort food’ such as steak and mash potato, and even takeaways. Unlike celebrity chefs, Dahl says: “I don’t come with an agenda.”

Despite just publishing her second cookery book, she modestly admits that the recent ‘saturation’ of TV cookery shows or books does not inspire families to make meals.

“We watch so many cookery TV shows, we buy so many cook books and yet so few people cook.”

She talked about the Italians, who she says pass recipes down through the generations and ‘don’t buy many cookery books’.

She told the audience that the reason she wrote her cook books is simply because she ‘had always wanted to’.

When asked about her grandad she said: “He informed a large part of my childhood, but he died when I was 13.”

Adding: “What is great about him is that he lives on through his books.”

> Next year’s festival takes place from October 12 to 14.