Watching Nigella Lawson’s new BBC series is like foreplay for your inner fatty. Who doesn't enjoy seeing her tiptoe down to the fridge in the middle of the night, chow down a slice of peanut-butter cheesecake and then slink back upstairs to sleep, all whilst alluringly wrapped in a silk dressing gown and looking like a 1950s screen siren? Her ability to be at once both greedy and glamorous is undeniably engaging.
What appeals about Nigella is not her food, although it always does look very delicious, but the delight she takes in cooking and eating it. The orgasmic eye rolls, the button-bursting voluptuousness of those cashmere twinsets and her fondness for tasting sauces with a saucily dipped finger are all so satisfying to behold. And beyond this wonderful watchability it’s her language, the pre-prandial pillow talk, which really seals the deal.
Tune into an episode of Nigella Kitchen and listen, just LISTEN to how she wallows in words! Such smut! Every utterance is rolled rapturously around the tongue, sounding as plentiful as her plate. Not for Nigella the straight and narrow of the metric system: she measures in dollops, drops, handfuls and heaped spoonfuls, conjures up golden, glistening and silky sauces and feasts gleefully upon self-named recipes such as “Slut’s Spaghetti” (yes, really).
Such prose aims deeper than Jamie Oliver’s pukka proclamations – Nigella really seems to feel the flavours, and rather poetically too. Her black squid ink risotto for example, a recipe taken from a favourite Oscar Wilde novel, reminds her of a “primeval soup” that “smells of the sea, like some deep experience long ago”. Half of the pleasure she finds in food is through describing it, and it’s this delayed gratification, the lingering love letter she writes to each dish before devouring it that makes living - well, eating - vicariously through her so effortlessly enjoyable.
How was it for you?