On Set: The Anglers Arms

On Set: The Anglers Arms

Anglers Arms signage on the Food Over 50 set

​​For anyone who watches Food Over 50 it should be no secret that I am a fishing nut. Given the chance I'll plunge a hook and line into a rain puddle! This is why our production visits to Scotland are nearly all about fish and seafood. Of course having a small salmon river, as well as the bountiful Atlantic right outside the cottage certainly helps!

So, it's no wonder that one of my favorite set design pieces in our desert-based Food Over 50 studio kitchen is my cherished pub sign from The Angler's Arms. It constantly reminds me of all those trout, crab, cod, salmon, lobster, herring, scallops, mackerel and mussels I am missing while I'm amongst the cacti and coyotes. The Anglers Arms hangs over the sink in our TV kitchen, mostly unseen during the cooking segments, but visible over Elizabeth's shoulder during our Second Helpings segments and behind me during the recap segment of each show.

The scaly brute that stands out in relief in the middle of the sign resembles what the English refer to as a Coarse Fish; a Carp, Chub or Bream, rather than a Game Fish like a Salmon or Sea Trout. Giles ; the crew named him Giles - broils happily away over a bed of painted-on coals. To either side, bunting ribbons bear the messages "Good Gillies" and "Live Bait." In England, Scotland and Wales a "Gillie" is a fishing guide. The sign also touts that The Anglers Arms offers "Strong Ale" and "Good Food." Definitely my kind of place!

The Anglers Arms was a 50th birthday present from dear friends in Holland. They found it hanging in a ritzy fish restaurant in Dordrecht and somehow talked the restaurateur into selling it to them. Then they brought it all the way to Palm Springs and surprised me with it during a visit. The very minute I conceived the idea of our show I knew that it absolutely belonged on the set. After all, it was one of the inspirations for our title, Food Over 50!
By the way, there's one little secret to the sign you may not have noticed. At the very bottom, below the bed of coals, is a color-matched board we adhered over a line of text my production crew decided was a little too "salty" for Public Television viewers. They're such prudes! Begrudgingly I agreed, so we covered it. But if we ever encounter one another at a food event just ask me about it. I'll whisper it to you.