Ignore Nigella, keep it old school
There's such unfounded pressure in the everyday to create what really should be deemed extraordinary.
Recipe books sell for aspirational qualities, as they should, because the best-selling creations come from culinary superstars (which in itself is unpalatable).
I worked with Nigella Lawson on her Forever Summer series in London in 2002 and was flabbergasted by the intricacies.
I've since worked as an editor of lifestyle magazines and in food styling - not so interesting. In fact, dead boring. But it goes to show just how staged everything is when it's meant to be so 'normal'.
And then there's the case of Allyson Gofton, who left Food in a Minute partly as the dishes being prepared did not match her values for healthy food.
Meanwhile, Nici Wickes globetrots in World Kitchen but Tegal's sponsorship of the show means she cooks a lot of chicken dishes. Is that representative when goat is the world's most widely eaten meat?
It's fair to say the middle ground has been lost. Not all food should be found in a packet; just add water. However, if we all cooked like Nigella et al, we wouldn't even need to buy their cookbooks, let alone watch them on television. And if we all acted like Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen ... well, it makes me wonder about the old adage about food being cooked with love.
So, my opinion - which I live by - is to forget the comparisons blasted in your face and the stress. It's meant to be somewhat fun and at least easy. It's eaten in minutes anyway. Food is ultimately fuel - or should be.
Who cares if it's not up to Nigella standard. I grew up in the 70s and 80s and lived on my mum's bacon and egg pie (supermarket pastry), shepherd's pie, soup, scones, fish fingers, stews and casseroles. It was simple, classic, comfort, family food that we all helped cook.
Bottom line: Don't believe the hype. If we were all so brilliant, restaurants would be out of business. Good luck!
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