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Camilla reveals she’s ‘never followed recipe in her life’ and prefers beans on toast over fancy nosh

The Duchess of Cornwall could grab the highest table at one of the world's best restaurants, but today she reveals her penchant for the simpler fare of fish and chips

The Duchess of Cornwall could snag the highest table at any of the world’s top restaurants, but today she reveals her penchant for the simpler fare of fish and chips, beans on toast – and a childhood obsession with ready-made meals. frozen cakes.

In an interview with her son Tom Parker Bowles in You magazine, she admits her kitchen skills are limited and reveals that she is in friendly competition with her husband, Prince Charles, over the fruits and vegetables they grow.

Camilla describes her culinary style as “nothing too crazy, or fussy or clumsy,” and says she learned to cook by watching her mother, Rosalind Shand, make food the “heart” of family life.

The Duchess of Cornwall could grab the highest table at one of the world's best restaurants, but today she reveals her penchant for the simpler fare of fish and chips

The Duchess of Cornwall could grab the highest table at one of the world’s best restaurants, but today she reveals her penchant for the simpler fare of fish and chips

“One of my earliest memories is podsing those peas and beans with my mother, a skilled cook,” she says. ‘I learned it from my mother. I’ve never followed a recipe in my life.’

“On Friday night, we got to choose our dinner,” she recalls. “To my mother’s dismay, I always went for frozen chicken pie.”

In the Swinging Sixties, the Duchess often frequented London’s best restaurants, such as Alexander’s on King’s Road. “I remember how excited I was when I first ate shrimp and avocado at Alexander’s… The combination seemed impossibly exotic,” Camilla says.

The Shand family spent their summers on the island of Ischia, near Naples, which the Duchess says “instilled a lifelong passion for Italian food.” Still, she takes little credit for the refined palate of her restaurant critic son, who describes herself as “never the most adventurous of cooks.”

She reveals that she has a friendly competition with her husband, Prince Charles, over the fruits and vegetables they grow

She reveals that she has a friendly competition with her husband, Prince Charles, over the fruits and vegetables they grow

She reveals that she has a friendly competition with her husband, Prince Charles, over the fruits and vegetables they grow

The Duchess specialized in simple, healthy food when Tom and his sister Laura were growing up in Wiltshire. ‘My cooking revolves around good ingredients. Nothing too crazy, or fussy or clumsy. Lots of tarragon chicken, scrambled eggs and bacon, and chicken casserole. On Sundays there were always roasts.

‘The children ate a lot of cheese on toast. We had a vegetable garden… so we ate seasonal before it became fashionable. You just did that on land.’

She recently teamed up with Mary Berry to judge the winning pudding recipe to mark the Queen’s platinum anniversary, but says she could “fill a book with all my cooking disasters.” I am not a natural baker to say the least.

“As for fried potatoes . . . many poor, burnt ones have been found at the bottom of the Aga, put in and then forgotten.”

The Duchess of Cornwall, 74, (pictured, left) joined Dame Mary Berry, 87, (pictured, right) to film a segment announcing the winner of the Platinum pudding contest.  The results will be announced on May 12th

The Duchess of Cornwall, 74, (pictured, left) joined Dame Mary Berry, 87, (pictured, right) to film a segment announcing the winner of the Platinum pudding contest.  The results will be announced on May 12th

The Duchess of Cornwall, 74, (pictured, left) joined Dame Mary Berry, 87, (pictured, right) to film a segment announcing the winner of the Platinum pudding contest. The results will be announced on May 12th

Camilla, who will appear on the cover of Vogue magazine in July to mark her 75th birthday, as The Mail on Sunday revealed last week, adds: ‘When I’m home, I still cook for myself. Simple things like fish en papillote with butter and herbs. And vegetables from the garden.

‘I like the vegetable garden. I am very proud of my white peaches. My husband is an excellent gardener and we are quite competitive about our fruits and vegetables.’

However, she admits: ‘One of my favorite dishes is baked beans on toast. Always Heinz.

‘And freshly cooked fish and chips wrapped in paper.

‘That smell. You can’t beat good fish and chips.’

My Life in Food: HRH The Duchess of Cornwall – ‘I could fill a book with my cooking disasters’

Our relationship with food says so much about who we are. In this new series, famous foodies talk to You restaurant critic Tom Parker Bowles about all things culinary, from earliest memories and favorite foods to things they can’t stand. We start with the woman who fed Tom for most of his life: his mother

Tom Parker Bowles and his mother, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall

Tom Parker Bowles and his mother, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall

Tom Parker Bowles and his mother, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall

by TOM PARKER BOWLES for You Magazine

I grew up in a very happy home, with good food at heart. I almost remember the rationing, but we grew everything from tomatoes and melons to peas, beans, carrots and new potatoes. One of my earliest memories is podsing those peas and beans with my mother, a skilled cook.

We always had to finish what was on our plates before we ate pudding. That wasn’t much of a problem when it was rice pudding, because I hated the stuff.

at my first school, Dumbrells in Ditchling, East Sussex, the food was, surprisingly, excellent. Lots of steamed puddings and once a week we were allowed to help the cook prepare lunch. I still dream about their potato and cheese pie.

Casa Malcovati on the island of Ischia

Casa Malcovati on the island of Ischia

Casa Malcovati on the island of Ischia

Every year we went on holiday to the island of Ischia, near Naples. There were endless lunches of vitello al limone? [veal escalope with lemon], fried zucchini, lots of fresh fish and pasta. It instilled a lifelong passion for Italian food.

Findus frozen chicken pie,

Findus frozen chicken pie,

Findus frozen chicken pie,

On Friday evening we were allowed to choose our dinner at home. I used to go for Findus Frozen Chicken Pie, much to the dismay of my mother. Eating at my grandmother’s was more formally French, which was very smart at the time. However, what I remembered the most there was the brown bread ice cream.

When it came to restaurants, there wasn’t much choice in the 60s London as it is now. But then we didn’t know any better. I’ve always preferred eating at home anyway. But I remember how excited I was when I first ate shrimp and avocado at Alexander’s in Chelsea. The combination seemed impossibly exotic. I had eaten avocados at home and hated them at first. But I eat them now most days. Daphne’s was another favorite, along with La Poule au Pot in Pimlico, which is still left. Best of all was The Causerie at Claridge’s which had an amazing round table with the most incredible buffet. Everyone was dressed up and it looked very glamorous.

I always cooked for the kids growing up, and they were good eaters, but I was never the most adventurous cook. When I was young I took a cooking class in Sussex, but I really learned it from my mother. I’ve never followed a recipe in my life.

My cooking revolves around good ingredients. Nothing too crazy or fussy or clumsy. Lots of tarragon chicken, scrambled eggs and bacon, and chicken casserole. There were always roasts on Sundays – pork and lamb chops, roast chicken. The kids ate a lot of cheese on toast. We had a vegetable garden and lots of chickens for the eggs, so we ate seasonally before it became fashionable. Because that’s what you did in the country back then. We used Love & Sons, the butchers, in Chippenham, Wiltshire. There was also a very good fishmonger, but that is long gone which is a shame. Britain has so many incredible products and our farmers are doing a great job. We must always support them.

Highgrove, the private home of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall

Highgrove, the private home of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall

Highgrove, the private home of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall

When Sainsbury’s in Chippenham opens In the early 80’s it was pretty exciting. So much choice. We ate a lot of chicken kievs.

I could fill a book with all my cooking disasters. I am not a natural baker to say the least. As for baked potatoes… many a poor, burnt copy has been found at the bottom of the Aga, put in and then forgotten.

I still cook for myself when at home. Simple things like fish en papillote with butter and herbs. And veggies from the garden: kale, purple sprouted broccoli, carrots, zucchini, and lots of peas and beans because they freeze so well. I love the vegetable garden, especially the summer. I am very proud of my white peaches. My husband is an excellent gardener and we are quite competitive about our fruits and vegetables.

Nowadays restaurants are a way to see my kids† They choose the restaurants, I pay the bill. I don’t like too much noise but we tend to go to the same places.

One of my favorite dishes is baked beans on toast

One of my favorite dishes is baked beans on toast

My last supper would probably include my own asparagus

My last supper would probably include my own asparagus

One of my favorite foods is baked beans on toast and my last supper would probably include my own asparagus

One of my favorite dishes is baked beans on toast† Always Heinz. And freshly cooked fish and chips, wrapped in paper. That smell. You can’t beat good fish and chips.

I can’t stand peppers raw or cooked. I’m also not a fan of offal, apart from a very good liver. And I also avoid chili and garlic, unlike my son.

My last supper would probably include my own asparagus, with lots of butter. Angela Hartnett’s Risotto. I love her cooking. Lemon sole meunière, with ratte potatoes and fresh broad beans and peas from the garden. Some bitter chocolate ice cream. Plus strawberries and raspberries and lots of clotted cream. Along with a really good glass of red claret. And since it’s my last supper, probably two.

  • Her Royal Highness is Patron of UKHarvest, a charity with a mission to eradicate hunger and reduce food waste by redistributing quality food and educating everyone on how to reduce household food waste. By collecting excess food from suppliers and delivering it directly to charities, they support people with food insecurity to live well and grow old healthily. Their ‘Nourish Hubs’ also combat social isolation by providing meals and a meeting place for local communities. More details at ukharvest.org.uk