Friday Love Letters: Dear Nigella

Posted on August 26, 2011


Dear Nigella,

I have no interest in cooking, but still I watch your cooking show.  Actually, I didn’t even know it was a cooking show until the fourth episode when my wife returned home early and asked what I was watching.  I jumped out of my chair and answered, “Honey, I know what this looks like.  You have to believe this is the first time I’ve ever watched anything like this.  I was just flipping channels when you came in and I had no idea we had any adult channels.  That’s the only reason I was watching, so I could figure out how to not watch it in the future and to block it so the kids couldn’t watch it either.”  She gave me an odd look and replied, “Why are you acting so guilty?  This is Nigella Lawson.  It’s a cooking show.” 

Why did I feel guilty about watching your show?  Why did I always change the channel when I heard my wife coming?  Maybe it’s the way you lick frosting off your fingers ten times a show, even when preparing dishes that require no frosting.  Maybe it’s the way you hold the mixing bowl against your chest, rhythmically stirring then licking your lips as you cast a hungry smile at the camera.  Maybe it’s the way you lean forward and arch your neck while basting a pineapple ham.  Maybe it’s the sequence accompanying the closing credits when you wake up in the middle of the night, go to the kitchen to make a midnight snack, then bring the food back to bed, connecting the dots for the absolute thickest of viewers who didn’t catch your most conspicuous efforts to sexualize cooking. 

Don’t play innocent with me, Nigella.  You know your show isn’t about cooking.  You know what you’re doing.

I have very little interest in cooking or food, but I did develop a sudden interest after my wife told me we had your Nigella Express recipe book.  I never actually make any of the recipes, but I like to flip through and look at the pictures of you preparing the recipes.  My biggest complaint is that the recipe book doesn’t have more pictures of you.  Have you considered selling a book with only pictures of you eating the food?  Or maybe pictures of the two of us preparing and eating food?

Nigella, your ability to flirt with viewers until they develop a sub-conscious interest in cooking makes me wonder if you could help me develop interest in other uninteresting topics by hosting a TV show on charity work, politics, or my children’s school plays.  Maybe flirtation is the missing motivation in all the responsible things I don’t feel like doing. 

I must warn you I might be difficult to cook for.  I’m a vegetarian and I don’t like desserts or fried foods or any food that Vin Diesel has ever eaten in any of his movies.  But I can offer excellent table manners, sparkling conversation, the wearing of a smoking jacket, and I’ll always remember to place a napkin on my lap.  And if you don’t feel like cooking, maybe I’ll cook, or at least flip through the pictures in your recipe book.

Posted in: Love Letters