Mary Berry recalls taking pigs to bed during childhood on family smallholding

TV presenter Mary Berry has recalled sleeping with pigs during her childhood on the family’s smallholding.

The former Great British Bake Off judge, 85, said there is “nothing dirty” about the animals and she would often take the runt to bed.

Mary Berry
Mary Berry

She told the Radio Times: “I was known to swaddle one and take it to bed with me. Only the runt, the little one that we had to feed from a bottle.

“There’s nothing dirty about a pig, don’t believe otherwise.”

And despite sleeping with the pigs, Berry said she never forgot the realities of livestock farming and the family would end up eating the animals.

She said: “Dad was very hands-on, we’d have the carcass back and he’d cut it up. We even made sausages, and of course nothing was wasted. It was just what we accepted.”

Berry will return to her roots when guest editing Countryfile on Sunday. The episode will see her trying her hand at a traditional method of cheese-making and corralling an amorous Longhorn bull and its herd.

Berry welcomed the break enforced by the coronavirus lockdown.

“Lockdown gave us all so much time, peace, no urgency to do anything,” she said. “I love that. I’m looking at the sloes in the hedge, the willowherb. So lucky not to be in a town or a high-rise flat. It’s the first thing I do if I have to go to London for the day – come home, and say ‘I’ll do the dogs this afternoon’. I feel so much better for it.”

Read the full interview in the Radio Times.