Angela Rippon on how sharing food is the recipe for a perfect Easter
We have all had reasons to be stressed over the past two years, and TV presenter Angela Rippon is no exception.
Losing valuable contact with friends, and with Covid calling a halt to her love affair with tennis, she’s had little to help her switch off from a manic work schedule.
Fresh in from time tending her garden, Rippon, 77, casually reveals she understands how difficult we have all found the last two years.
“Everybody feels there have been so many restrictions on what they can do, when they can do it, and where, that now we’re – sort of – out of the pandemic, there’s an opportunity to get out and enjoy [life].”
And Rippon explains Easter is the “perfect” time to see friends and family, indulge and unwind. When it comes to relieving stress, she likes to keep active and social.
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“My happy place is pottering in my garden,” Rippon says. “And my de-stressing activity is playing tennis. There’s nothing like whacking a tennis ball to get rid of your stress, if you give it a good wallop. You can’t really think about anything else, except how you’re going to get the ball back over the net, or what your partner is going to do.”
She’s keen to be calm and mindful, and finds a massage particularly helpful. “I really love massage. That’s the ultimate de-stress. To go and have a really lovely deep-tissue massage and come out feeling totally relaxed and refreshed.”
This Easter, she’ll be using the long weekend to explore and eat with friends, seeing as many as she can, making up for lost time.
“I have always loved having friends around for supper. I’m having lunch with friends on Good Friday and a lovely Easter lunch with other friends on Sunday.”
Cooking and eating for her is bliss. She enjoys the whole process, and finds joy in the methodical routine and excitement of bringing food and friends together. “It’s the things that are associated with food and cooking. I wouldn’t say I’m a brilliant cook, but I’m an enthusiastic cook. And I enjoy my cooking.”
We can be so quick to fall into a state of flustering when entertaining, but Rippon tries to enjoy every moment of it, cooking in a calm, stress-free way. She makes everything, buying as little as possible, and the pleasure of it all starts when she tries to think of what to cook.
“I must have something like 80 to 100 cookery books, and when I travel abroad, I buy a cookery book from each country. That’s part of the pleasure of organising a dinner party, thinking what my guests would like, finding the appropriate book and then going through it.”
But really, she says, the best part is when the doorbell rings and the first friends arrive – something we all missed enormously during lockdown.
She also plans to spend some of the long weekend reading and watching television. As a TV regular, she doesn’t tend to find much time for it, instead opting for relaxation through audio. “Radio 4 Extra has this huge archive of plays to listen to. I like to put my earphones in and listen to a whole play.
“Easter can be all rush, rush. Oh my goodness, all of a sudden, everybody’s going to be coming for lunch… We’ve got to go and see all of our friends… It can be stressful. But there’s no reason why it should be.”
It’s this mindset that lead her to narrate Maltesers Meditations, a new series of baking videos. Rippon is able to bring together the fun of food and the calm of mellow audio, to reframe Easter as a peaceful and pleasant time.
She shares, matter of fact, that “the only thing to be taken seriously is the idea that you should have some ‘me time’, whoever you are; a moment where you sit down and relax. Even if all you do is just watch one of these fun little videos”.
Angela Rippon narrates ‘Maltesers Meditations’, a new series of baking videos from Maltesers Bunny, which have been specifically designed to help people relax over the Easter weekend.