Why people who love food love sex

LUST FOR LIFE: British cook Nigella Lawson has a healthy appetite.
LUST FOR LIFE: British cook Nigella Lawson has a healthy appetite.

I've been thinking about Nigella Lawson. She's just too much ... all her "plumptuous beauties" and "heady aromas" and "solitary pleasures" and "invitingly gooeys" and "lovely" this and "lovely" that. And that little self-satisfied tilt of the head thing she does with accompanying coquettish smile. Five minutes of her and I need to take a shower.

But while I'm delighted she's not dominating my TV at the moment, I'm full of admiration for the example she's setting. Because I know what else she can't live without . Sex.

No, I have no intimate experience to support my claim, but let's look at the facts.

A woman who eats like she does, with such rapturous pleasure, licking fingers, rolling eyes, tossing hair, has to be just as rapturous about other fleshy pleasures. A woman who eats with such abandon makes love with abandon - and some ability.

"If anyone chose chocolate over sex then I'd say they have a serious problem. I'm greedy," Lawson told Esquire magazine.

"I think one should be allowed everything."

Is there any wonder that 1.8 million people have watched a YouTube mash-up of Nigella clips titled Nigella Talks Dirty?

We've had our dalliances with New Year's resolutions; with our cleanses and our diets (mine lasted two days, one hour and 32 minutes - until someone thrust a piece of glorious cheese under my nose).

It's time now, it really is, to abandon our tremulous relationship with food. I mean, is it actually achieving anything?

Is it turning us into supermodels and putting Hollywood heartthrobs and American NFL quarterbacks on our mattresses and millions in our bank accounts? Is it giving us more confidence about prancing along a beach in a bikini? Is it really making us any healthier? Is it helping us love ourselves and our lives? And, if we're so consumed with anxiety about food, so beholden to that damaging, self-critical little voice in our heads, how can we possibly have the time, the energy, the focus and the self-confidence for shagging?

British restaurant critic, Jay Rayner, recently had some things to say about slow eaters.

"It's wrong. It's unnatural. It's a mark of bad character," he wrote.

"Greedy people are enthusiasts. They are there to suck the marrow from the roasted thigh bone of life. We recognise our appetites in all their forms and, unlike the buttoned-up, spank-me-now-and-call-me-Alice slow eaters, we are not ashamed of our true natures."

Rayner's comments might equally apply to the picky and the fussy, the lettuce-leaf-eaters and the calorie counters, the food shufflers and the turned-up-noses - to all those mentally and physically healthy women who have an ambiguous relationship with food.

Take those little matchstick girls Katie Holmes and Posh Spice, who a while back were spotted at a Hollywood restaurant delicately sharing a salad, a piece of steamed fish, a side of spinach and a bottle of mineral water.

Let's face it, hardly sucking the marrow from the roasted thigh bone of life, are they?

Hard to imagine they've ever immersed themselves in the wobbly lovely slipperiness of an egg or an oyster, or the fleshy insides of a fig, or picked up a bone in their fingers and greasily torn the meat off it. And you've got to wonder where David and Tom are finding their pleasures.

If Nigella is Exhibit A, Liz Taylor has to be Exhibit B. The passionate, man-loving Elizabeth Taylor adored food.

"She was like a luscious, opulent, ripe fruit. She enjoyed life to the max. She loved to eat and drink", Taylor-obsessed American feminist Camille Paglia wrote in after the star's death in March last year.

And so what if it wasn't always high cuisine or high health - Taylor liked peanut butter and bacon sandwiches on baguettes (with a 1945 Chateau Margaux), fried chicken, trifle and homemade potato chips - she ate and lived with gusto.

When she filmed Cleopatra in the early '60s she famously demanded that buckets of her favourite chilli be airlifted from the Los Angeles' restaurant Chasen's to the set in Rome. And just look what happened on that set. A volcano of passion erupted when she met Richard Burton - a love affair that continued for a decade.

So I'm going shopping. I'm going shopping for figs, watermelon, peaches and grapes, a wheel of dribbling brie and some buffalo mozzarella. A loaf or two of the best sourdough and some fine unsalted butter. Hand-made chocolates. And ice-cream. Buckets of it. And I'm going to enjoy it, rapturously.

- Sydney Morning Herald