Monday, July 16, 2012

‘That Kitchen Goddess’

When it is five minutes to ten at night, I gear up for one of my most favourite cookery shows – Nigella’s Kitchen. Be it Nigella’s Bites, Nigella’s Express, I am a BIG fan. To watch her cook is like a stress buster for me. And with that gorgeous smile on her face, as she whips up cake after cake, cooking does seems less stressful.

The joy in watching her in action is because she is not ‘perfect’. And she does not claim to be one either. You see her snipping the tomatoes into smaller pieces with a pair of scissors as they sit on the blazing pan, I mean how many professional chefs would do that. That is the key.

A person with no professional qualification, she is mightily steered ahead with pure, naked passion for food. When she adds icing to her creations, she mostly prefers to draw in soft peaks and hypnotic swirls, not your usual flat and pristine icing of a pro. It makes one feel comfy in the kitchen, not getting one’s nerves so high strung. She makes me feel that is it alright not to fret if I can’t produce a cut, chop and slice that is immaculate. And I thank her greatly for that feeling. When she roughly chops up the herbs with her crescent mezzaluna, it gives the cooking a beautiful rustic feel. Remember how sometimes we crave for ‘ghar ka khana’? Nigella’s cooking is just that. My cousin does not take too kindly to her. “She is so.” She prefers your pristine kitchen, mostly like Donna Hayes (her’s has to be the one sans mess). Aah, but who argues. To each his own.

Nigella has the most amazing way to get her kind of cooking across to the masses. She does not patronise the viewer as she attends to her meatloaf with care. However, when she talks about it, she uses phrases which convey that she too had to battle some problems in the kitchen, but not that they could not be sorted.

Everytime, she drops in a huge chuck of butter into the pan, or throws in oodles of chocolate, my mother will always shudder and get upset.

“Look at the amount of butter she uses. You would think she had nothing to worry about!”

It is said that one should not trust a skinny chef, and that is was I told my mother last night. She eats heartily and of quality ingredients. Maybe that is why she is still so radient at her age.

Many have accused her of indulging in food porn, but who cares when you see the food she whips up so effortlessly. Good food is also meant to be savoured with the eyes, and her food delivers it without a doubt.

Short cuts is also one of her methods. But, sometimes when facing a time crunch, it is practical. One has seen her add ready made green curry paste to a mixer filled with green peas and cream, or quickly empty a packet of gnocchi. But that is alright in normal life. It is not the Masterchef kitchen, where using packet custard would be like a spear through Gary’s side.

And last but not the least, as the credits roll at the bottom of the screen, you see her inevitably reaching to her fridge at night and slipping the last slice of meatloaf between bread and digging in. That is what I relate to the MOST!

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