Sex and the Kitchen
January 9, 2002 1:50 PM   Subscribe

Sex and the Kitchen (NYT article) Anyone watch TV cooking shows? "She is voluptuous. She licks her fingers and likes to flick her hair as she flirts with the camera. And her cooking show, "Nigella Bites," has created a sensation in Britain, where it is one of the country's most popular cooking programs." Our compatriots across the ocean have done quite a 180 since The Two Fat Ladies. Our Emeril's days are numbered. What is it about food and sex anyway?
posted by Voyageman (32 comments total)

posted by Voyageman at 1:55 PM on January 9, 2002

Sorry, I must've missed this 'sensation'. Presently, most of Britain's going mad over the other cooking sensation - Jamie Oliver. Nigella....whatshername... doesn't really figure, as far as I can see.
posted by metaxa at 1:58 PM on January 9, 2002

Well she's perfect. Intelligent, beautiful, funny, witty, writes well, cooks well, looks well... So much so that some envious souls hate her for it.
Her husband, John Diamond, was a brilliant journalist. He died last year. They were the perfect couple...

And still she keeps going, is a wonderful mother, is great on television and she's Jewish. :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:00 PM on January 9, 2002

she's a cracker nigella, can't believe her dad is nigel lawson, ex-chancellor of the exchequer, and why did he give her such a ridiculous female version of his own name?
posted by mokey at 2:00 PM on January 9, 2002

I have written Food TV here in the States four times about getting Nigella over here, and no response. I've only seen two episodes, but they are just delightful - she's down-to-earth, and obviously a real lover of good food. As much as I admire Martha Stewart, Martha comes across as cold and awkward with her guests, Nigella is just the opposite.

Her books are great, I think she will be the next big cooking show import from the UK.

And food and sex are two of our most basic drives, so why not connect them? Whipped cream, fudge sauce, Nutella, washable sheets, all these things are Good Things (speaking of Martha, who would probably loosen up on the air if she was getting any regularly).
posted by ebarker at 2:03 PM on January 9, 2002

let's kick her up a notch!
posted by Postroad at 2:03 PM on January 9, 2002

Nigella? Sounds suspiciously like "shigella" -- a group of enteric nasties that cause all manner of illness. Ironic choice for a food host, unless....

My god! The bacteria have rebelled and are on TV!
posted by aramaic at 2:12 PM on January 9, 2002

Mario Eats Italy please watch Nigella Bites.
posted by Voyageman at 2:19 PM on January 9, 2002

She's babe-a-licious.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:24 PM on January 9, 2002

Nigella is on in the United States: the Style Channel. It runs more or less constantly (or so it seems). I don't think too many people get that channel, although it just became part of basic cable where I live.
posted by cell divide at 2:26 PM on January 9, 2002

Nigella on US TV
posted by Voyageman at 2:31 PM on January 9, 2002

Isabel Allende wrote an interesting book on food and its intertwining with eroticism. Good recipes too.
posted by calistasm at 2:33 PM on January 9, 2002

The Sylvia-Kristel of Gastroporn.

Here's a good interview with her. And a tongue-in-cheek article from the Guardian about why in reality we all hate her, and why she'll never do well in America.
posted by dlewis at 2:38 PM on January 9, 2002

I'm in a play this summer, starring as the producer of a TV show "Cooking with Love", where the male chef cooks as sensually as possible, using as many classy double entendres as possible, and has a *huge* following of frumpy housewives. Hijinks ensue. I'll need to start watching Nigella for, um, research.
posted by ewagoner at 2:51 PM on January 9, 2002

she uses pretty sexy British phrases like "bung" (to throw in), "blitz" (to use the food processor) and "wodge" (a hunk of food).

they sounds sexy when she says them, at least.

the ladies that I know, favor the other young brit cook, The Naked Chef. i can't see why, though, he's hardly ever naked.
posted by tsarfan at 2:54 PM on January 9, 2002

Yes we do so love Jamie. Except when we hate him. I still miss Keith Floyd.
posted by prolific at 3:00 PM on January 9, 2002

that naked chef guy is too cool for his own good. he's so nonchalant and casual, it's hard not to think, "man, that guy is cool." i can imagine him having all the girls at a party and the guys not even being mad about it because of his coolness.. he's like louie, except without the whole dipping-his-balls-in-stuff deal.... his show is entertaining, but i still think he's a bastard for above reasons.

hmm.. tastes like jealousy.
posted by lotsofno at 3:00 PM on January 9, 2002

Well she's perfect. Intelligent, beautiful, funny, witty, writes well, cooks well, looks well...

And she likes to drink and have sex. And she has a fun vocabulary: "discombobulatingly." Wow.

and she's Jewish

Have Nigella?
posted by kirkaracha at 3:01 PM on January 9, 2002

On New Year's Eve, I was flying from Florida to Seattle on JetBlue* and, during the entire flight(s) (RSW to JFK, JFK to STL) I was captivated by a program on the TV Food Network called "Planet Food". Not only was it a fascinating show (think Travel Channel's "Lonely Planet" experience-wise) and the food looked amazing, but the hostess/correspondent was gorgeous. As I later found out, Padma Lakshmi is a fashion model-turned-author, and was both insightful and well-spoken.

* JetBlue is a fantastic airline, as far as airlines go. (And I hate flying.) Leather seats, more leg room, in-seat 24 channel DirecTV, nice flight crew. The CEO of the company even greeted the passengers and thanked us for flying before the flight from JFK to RSW a week earlier. All that, and the flights cost less than most airlines because they don't serve you lukewarm meals (which you don't want anyway), don't have preferred first class seating, and only make a few flights to each domestic destination per day. If I have to fly again any time soon, they'll be the first place I'll look.
posted by Danelope at 3:20 PM on January 9, 2002

Hard to imagine all of these TV chefs coming from England ~~ a place not really known for it's cuisine. Keith Floyd did pop up on US PBS not too long ago, drunkenly gallomphing around Africa.

Still, Alton Brown could kick all of their asses.
posted by crunchland at 3:52 PM on January 9, 2002

Its just an indication of how pathetic cooking shows are. Her recipes are boring stodge and she's even more pretentious than dear Jamie.

At least Jamie learnt to cook from a master TV chef, Antonio Carluccio. His "Italian Feast" series were absolutely sensational.
posted by lagado at 4:01 PM on January 9, 2002

Alton Brown... that's a good choice, crunchland. My GF and I watch his show regularly, we both absolutely love him. The best part about his show is the combination of science, common sense and well... Good Eats.

I saw Nigella's show briefly once, looks like a good show, but nothing spectacular. Jamie Oliver, Emeril... yuck. I'd much rather watch Iron Chef, Mario Batali and Ming Tsai... damn I need to get to Blue Ginger next time I'm in Boston!
posted by FullFrontalNerdity at 4:06 PM on January 9, 2002

As for mixing sex and food, don't forget Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel, an interesting and magical story about a girl in turn-of-the-century Mexico who is an amazing cook and whose emotions (love, envy, desire) are transmitted through her food. To me, it was slightly awkward read (probably because it is a translation), but the story was so original and fanciful it kept my attention. Plus, those recipes sounded soooo good...they made me hungry...for something....
posted by rio at 4:39 PM on January 9, 2002

They were the perfect couple...

I've just received word from a respectable source that this might not be true so I'd like to take it back. So Nigella Lawson might be very human and imperfect after all. 'Nuff said.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:28 PM on January 9, 2002

As someone with a *crush* on Nigella, I don't recall Emeril's "BAM!" ever being sexy.
on film-- Tampopo is another fine film. Off-subject, but does anyone know the name of the film (Japanese perhaps) that is more physically about food and sex with scenes involving the little live fish and the egg yolk ? I fell prey to the delight of many senses-- I don't recall whether there was a storyline or subtitles.
posted by G_Ask at 8:02 PM on January 9, 2002

G_Ask, isn't the film of which you ask "Tampopo", which you mentioned in your first sentence?

"The movie, written and directed by Juzo Itami, is sometimes called a "noodle western," but don't let that frighten you: It's meant to be a comedy. Interspersed with the main story are several side vignettes, many of which involve a present-day gangster and his moll and their adventures with food, sex, and food and sex (involving, in no particular order, honey, live shrimp, an egg yolk, salt and lemon, whipped cream, yam-flavored wild boar, and...well, you get the idea). "

posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:32 PM on January 9, 2002

Definitely Tampopo. Which I highly recommend, by the way. A must for foodies, sex fiends, and students of the Way of Noodles.

The egg yolk scene is particularly foodsexy.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:57 PM on January 9, 2002

A food movie that I heartily recommend is La Grande Bouffe. Its very gross, very foody and very funny. As for the best ever cooking scene in a movie, I reckon it has to be the omelette bit in Big Night. It isn't sexy, but it is utterly mesmerising.

I'm a fan of Nigella's desert recipes (I'm a savoury man myself, but a mate of mine has reproduced a fair few of them and they were all pretty good), but for me, the best food writers that have TV shows in the UK are Nigel Slater and Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall.

Nigel Slater's Real Food, The 30 Minute Cook and Real Fast Food have about them an ethos that can turn even the most ardent TV-dinner re-heater into a dab hand in the kitchen with a pretty decent repertoire to boot.

As for food writers who aren't necessarily 'TV chefs', Matthew Fort of the Guardian and Observer is excellent although, if I remember rightly, he did pop up on Nigel Slater's show a couple of times and certainly has a couple of recipes/methods espoused in Nigel Slater's books (as does Nigella Lawson).

Incidentally, today in the Guardian there is a rather amusing piece about selling Jamie Oliver and Delia Smith to the French, a rather ambitious and undoubtedly thankless task indeed.
posted by davehat at 3:37 AM on January 10, 2002

For what it's worth, "we Brits", according to the principle of build 'em up, knock 'em down don't love Jamie anymore...

And lagado, as for Antonio Carluccio being a master-chef, well I seem to remember some controversy about whether he is truly the Milli Vanilli of cooking... can't find a link though I'm afraid :-(
posted by bifter at 5:08 AM on January 10, 2002

I lost a lot of respect for Nigella when she declared a love for pigs ears as a treat.
Jamie Oliver is just too irritating, all that mockney (Mock Cockney geddit?) laddishness and staged cut scenes just detracts from the subject.
News on Radio 4 this morning carried a piece about the Grande Damme of British TV cooks Delia. Sine her latest TV series 'How to Cook' was aired on Tuesday, supermarkets have been selling out of prunes, dates and skewers (she can't live without a skewer apparently and she made a prune and date cake on the show). Such is her influence that whatever she recommends on the show is bought by the cartload by viewers (a couple of Christmasses ago fresh cranberries were the fruit de jour after her Christmas series).
posted by Markb at 5:32 AM on January 10, 2002

Pfft. Delia... nothing but a Martha Stewart wannabe.
posted by crunchland at 6:24 AM on January 10, 2002

Mr. Crash & Joe's Spleen-- many thanks! I will re-watch Tampopo (soberly). Having seen this 10-12 yrs ago, I don't identify the scenes I remember (food/sex) with the more chaste but romantic relationship btw the widow and the noodlemaker. Tampopo it is!
posted by G_Ask at 9:47 AM on January 10, 2002

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