Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Nigella Lawson

Ok let’s get the obvious out of the way. As the stand up comedians say, ‘‘it’s impossible to talk about ____  [INSERT BUXOM CELEBRITY’S NAME HERE] without using your hands”.

And yes, that is a prominent aspect that strikes you – the abundant, bountiful, wholesome, hearty goodness – a figure like the Venus de Milo sculpture and the voluptuous women from the renaissance paintings.   (It ‘d be easier and less offensive for women to describe her – Seema Goswami, an editor with HT described Nigella’s cleavage ‘quivering like a well set blancmange’).  So yes, that's the obvious that everyone knows and likes, but there's a lot more...

There was a day long marathon of Nigella’s TV shows on TLC recently, and it was easy to naturally return to her programs when you completed watching your other regular programs (yes, yes, I really need to go out more often!)

And that’s why she’s one of my favourites.  It’s so easy to watch her programs again and again, and no it’s not just because she’s easy on the eye.   BTW I love watching food programs, and I have watched all the programs - even the ones on Doordarshan, and even the non-vegetarian recipes (though I don’t even eat eggs). The Asian Food channel and Food Food would be among my favourites.  But you can easily figure out some just don’t make the cut. Very few are watchable a second time.

Not so with Nigella – it’s a delight to watch her programs for the nth time.  The day long marathon was helpful, in reconnecting with the celebratory nature of the program. It’s not just about food, it’s about indulgence and loving it and how (possible - if you can you write a book called the domestic goddess?).

The production values are superlative – from the music, the lighting, the camera work, the editing. But what stands out most are of course, the recipes themselves and especially the script and its delivery.

The recipes are easy to prepare ones, and Nigella makes no bones about using shortcuts. In fact an entire TV series was about preparing great food the express way.   Nigella also loves to show she’s not fond of perfection and in some cases (I think deliberately going out all the way) during her show she makes a great show of how it’s perfectly fine if you carve your meat in different shapes or going eyeball with the measurements.  But the end result would be a delight in terms of preparation and presentation – a convenient, tasty delight that the creator would be happy to eat and proud to present to her guests.

If you have only seen her TV shows and liked her script, its time to also read her books and you can figure out that they are such an easy read. And that’s because of the easy to understand, and well written script.  You start coming across phrases like ‘don’t be timid’, ‘I put the kitsch in kitchen’ etc.

Then of course there’s the delivery. Nigella seems to speak from her heart and does she bare it during the episodes.  So she doesn’t restrain her delight – there are the mmmms, ooohs, aaahs, slurps, gurgles,  etc. – noises she makes unabashedly that ensure attention doesn’t waver during the viewing. 

And lastly each episode shows how she loves cheating on her diet (errr… diet?) and always has a midnight snack, and goes to the kitchen to only wolf down a huge portion of leftover (which’d be twice a supermodel’s weekly calorie intake!). 

Perhaps that’s where the human connection that Nigella’s shows really establish – it’s indulgent, its celebratory, its saving one the trouble by finding an easier way that works, and just being human with all our foibles.

Watch Nigella and discover a whole new world of pleasures… 

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