I like cooking, so can often be found dipping into some of the many cookery programmes on television, like those by Nigel Slater, Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I’ve even become a little obsessed with The Great British Bake Off.
But there is one programme that drives me nuts: Nigellissima. No, it’s not her endless flirtatious manner or the over-glossed lips, tousled hair, figure-hugging girdle, those dresses or the suggestive phrases, like ‘whip to soft, creamy peaks’ and ‘slip in the golden linguine’.
No, it’s none of those. It is the utter insensitivity of the programme in this age of austerity. I am sitting there watching Nigella spout on about how important it is to have a ‘walk-in larder, rather than a walk-in wardrobe’. Her larder was lined with enough Italian food to open a high street deli.
And her fridges were filled with food items for those ‘unexpected guests’ – ‘I always have smoked mackerel in the fridge for emergencies’. And the mass of kitchen equipment – no doubt product placement – the very prominent KitchenAid Artisan food mixer will set you back a cool £429. I’ll have two, please.
And we are supposed to believe that we are in Nigella’s kitchen. With those out-of-focus fairy lights, ridiculous bank of cookery books, impromptu meals, laughing children and the ‘unexpected guest who has just dropped by’, I don’t believe one bit of it.
The kitchen is a studio-based set, all as phony as Nigella’s silk dressing gown-clad midnight feasts featured in the last series.
The programme is as obscene as all those many smug people on Grand Designs flaunting their building overspends, who still manage to deck out their new builds with the very latest Bulthaup kitchens.
I can’t help but think of the many people struggling to live on a low wage and who have to put up with watching Nigellissima dressed up to the nines, cooking in that ridiculously overly equipped kitchen with its wall high fridges and multi cookers while she spouts on about her wonderful holidays in Tuscany.
Meanwhile, so many ordinary mere mortals have to struggle in a cramped kitchen space surrounded by kids. No walk in larder or wardrobe for them, nor holidays in Tuscany or a rambling house in Belgravia. I’m sure Slater, Oliver and Whittingstall also have it all, but they just don’t flaunt it. Indeed, they all have one thing which Nigella doesn’t, and that’s believability.
Nigella slumming it whilst strolling down the gold paved streets of Notting Hill, as far East as she dare go.