Thursday, December 2, 2010 |
Before Nigella Lawson rose to fame in the kitchen, things were different in the world of food writing.
Melted butter and chocolate wasn't always a "ravishing pool," the combination of eggs, sugar and flour wasn't "a lovely, golden ointment" and white pasta sauce wasn't "beautiful, pale and heavenly."
Lawson has brought a rich flavour of her own to the genre since releasing her debut cookbook, How to Eat in 1998. The message of that book was simple: take pleasure in feeding people and don't be afraid of the kitchen.
Twelve years on, she stays true to that message in Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home, her latest cookbook. In it, Lawson combines her trademark commonsense culinary wisdom with an appealing playfulness and those delectable descriptions of food. Cooking and eating well, Lawson says, is something anyone can do.
"It seems to me so absurd that cooking gets taken over by experts with a capital 'e'," she told Q host Jian Ghomeshi. "I don't feel that I have a mission except that I do really hate seeing people berate themselves for not being chefs."
Even so, Lawson understands where this fear of cooking might come from.
"We project too much of ourselves on cooking," Lawson said. "We want to be loved, and we want to be appreciated, and we want to be valued. And the fear that what we're going to do will not bring us any of those things is inherently terrifying."
Kitchen displays a more realistic side to Lawson's culinary activities, showing what really happens when the cameras are off. It turns out that she too makes mistakes, forgets ingredients and yet boldly soldiers on. Nevertheless, the main theme of the book is that cooking in an ordinary way is not difficult. But it can be incredibly delicious.
Of course, it helps that Lawson makes cooking look good — something that critics and fans alike appreciate. The possibility that some people may be drawn to her shows or books for the presentation rather than the content doesn't bother the popular food writer.
"I can't be responsible for other people's reactions or opinions," Lawson explained. "I remember someone once saying to me, what other people think of you is none of your business, and I think that's quite a good line to take."
Q is giving away two signed copies of Kitchen. Head to their website and share the story of your worst ever kitchen purchase (in 25 words or less) for a chance to win.