I was brought up by an Edwardian mother who considered my education at the hands of Belgium & Dutch nuns born before the the 1900‘s more Victorian than her own and yet in many ways these nuns were true feminist trailblazers.

Not only had they personally championed the suffrage of women & lived through two world wars but they still plenty of fight in them when it came to men lording it over them.

The weaponry they used in their combat against men who would oppress were deportment and elocution, food and fashion. A man may be taller and stronger but armed with deportment and elocution a girl can make him feel as small as she needs.   We were taught that cooking, while an excellent and creative way to give to others should not be used against us by men as yet another method to confine women to domestic drudgery.

Two of my nuns, a Flemish double act: Sister Bernard & Sister Veronica schooled Audrey Hepburn and “taught Cristian Dior how to cut” and while they spoke only rudimentary English they were determined to teach us the art of needlework and the artistry of tailoring and textiles along with the alchemy of haute cuisine.  Rather than merely teaching us to follow receipes they immersed us in the history of food both as art and as nutrition. We started with boiling an egg and ended with cordon bleu. After six years I obtained a Diploma of Culinary Arts and a degree in fashion which combined with motherhood and travel has enabled me to nourish and nurture my family and entertain my friends without panicking.