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Film Released: 1987
Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy
Film Directed by: David Jones based on a book by Helene Hanff
Cast/Actors include : Anne Bancroft, Anthony Hopkins, Judi Dench

The story starts in 1949 when Helene Hanff (played by Anne Bancroft), a script reader living in New York, writes to Marks & Company, an antiquarian book shop at 84 Charing Cross Road in London, having seen their advertisement in The Literary Review publication.

Helene has a passion for English literature, however most of the titles she’s interested in are out of print and impossible to get hold of in the US except for rare or first editions which, as a lowly script reader, she can’t afford. The manager of the bookstore, Frank Doel (played by Anthony Hopkins) replies in due course advising her that he has already found some of the books on her list which are well within her budget. So begins a string of correspondence which blooms into a warm, touching and humorous friendship, spanning two continents, twenty years and many books.

The food aspect actually plays a part in the story in that it brings all of the characters closer together. Food rationing was still in force in England at that time, as Helene found out through an English friend who lived upstairs to her and who sent food parcels to his family back in England via a company in Denmark. Helene decides to send Frank and his staff a Christmas hamper as a thank you for supplying books. Over a period of time she sends several food parcels which encourages the staff and even Frank’s wife (played by Judi Dench) to put pen to paper to thank her for her generosity. And so to the featured dish.

One evening, Helene cooks a joint farewell/birthday dinner for some of her friends - one is an actress who is about to leave for London, another the English friend mentioned above. She enters the room very steadily, carrying the large baking dish and accompanied by cheers from all and a remark “I drink to you and the best looking Yorkshire Pudding this side of the Atlantic.”


The next morning Helene writes back to Cecily, the secretary at Marks & Co who supplied her with the recipe “ Dear Cecily, Yorkshire pudding out of this world. We have nothing like it. I had to describe it to somebody as a high, curved smooth empty waffle."




Yorkshire Pudding    Veg HT   English 45mins

Serves 4      Hot   Traditional Vegetarian Accompaniment England British Europe

100g/4oz Plain Flour
˝  level teasp Salt
1 Egg
270ml/9fl.oz. Milk
Vegetable Oil


NB For individual Yorkshire Puddings see Popovers.

1. Preheat the oven to 220C, 425F, Gas mark 7. Put enough vegetable oil in a Yorkshire pudding tin to cover the base in a depth of approx 3mm/1/8 inch and place in the oven to get very hot. If roasting beef, you can use the fat from the roasting tin, made up with extra oil if necessary.

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2. Meanwhile, place the flour, milk, salt and egg in a large bowl and whisk together until smooth and lump free.

3. Carefully remove the tin from the oven, making sure the fat is very hot and immediately pour in the batter. Return to the oven straight away and bake for 35-40 minutes until well risen and golden. Serve immediately.

Traditionally served with Roast Beef



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