About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Friday, February 15, 2008
The Nigella Effect
I had no idea, really, of the Nigella effect.

After writing the previous post on goose fat, in a quiet moment, I googled for information and discovered an article in The Guardian, which talked about how sales of goose fat in the UK went through the roof, after Nigella championed it as an essential Christmas ingredient, especially for roast potatoes. She caused the sales of it in some cases to double, as people were eager to follow in her footsteps.

Dubbed the Nigella effect.

But that is not the only effect she has. A few weeks ago, I read a review of her show, Nigella Feasts (ABC 6.30pm Wednedays) written by one of my favourite writers, Marieke Hardy. It was difficult to tell if she wrote the piece with her tongue firmly in her cheek or whether it lolled indelicately out one side of her mouth whilst panting heavily. You be the judge.

The unadulterated in-your-face smorgasboard of sexuality - for let us not pretend for a moment Nigella Feasts is anything but - is on display from the opening credits. A pair of lusty red animated lips opens up and makes good work of a glistening cherry. A curvaceous lemon is lustily sliced in two. A line of asparagus spears stand firm and erect, presumably awaiting a thorough blanching.
There's absolutely no escaping the orgiastic celebration of pulsating lust. Even in moments of idle chitchat Nigella sounds as though she's moments away from opening the door to a team of rowdy sailors looking for rumpo and giving them a full oil and lube. "I find it really...hard..." she breathes, gazing longingly into the lens, before throwing in as an almost whispered verbal postscript, "...to zest citrus fruit". "OOOOH, JUICY JUICY!" she climaxes later still, when a wayward lime threatens to drench the camera crew with its pulpy innards.

Marieke was only warming to the task in hand and went on to intemperately detail the salacious effect Nigella had upon her person, admitting along the way that she can't cook and has no interest in learning, but she planned to watch Nigella until the day she dies. Then a rather naughty thought occured to me. With sales of goose fat doubling after Nigella mentioned it, no doubt in her most come hither manner, I wondered with that sort of talk, which had such an arousing effect upon one of our own, were all those Poms planning on just roasting potatoes? Really? Or perhaps these words were emanating from English kitchens or wherever else they find such matters most comfortable, "Come here my little goose..."

The alternate Nigella effect.
  posted at 8:13 am

At 9:51 am, Blogger Vida said...

Well done Neil, very funny!! My nephew affectionately calls her "big boobs", he is only 3. His father is to blame as they sit side by side watching her. My niece (his twin) does not know she exists, I doubt I need to say more! V x

At 1:05 pm, Blogger Kalyn said...

Sadly enough I've never once seen her on TV!

At 1:57 pm, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Ha, you can't fool me Neil. Now, I know how you dream of "potatoes".
It is totally funny.

At 2:22 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi vida, I have a mate who can't cook to save himself, but he watches her every chance he gets, but judging by what Marieke wrote, it's just not a boy thing. I guess there is a whole lot to love...

Hi kalyn, I'm amazed that she's not on in the States. You're in for a real experience when she gets there!

Hi tanna, I strangely don't know what to say, I love potatoes of all sorts and sizes, the world would be a sad place without them. I would have loved to put the whole piece up that Marieke wrote, it's very funny.

At 6:09 pm, Blogger stickyfingers said...

Neil, I wondered the same when I read Marieke's article. But on The Guardian's food blog you'll find a whole host of readers who can't stand Nigella and her contrived OTT lusciousness. They hate that she has a fake house for TV that she films the show in, not to mention the 'stand in' friends, and that she is seen to tuck her kids into beds which are obviously not their own to continue the charade.

She has a great media network, and a team behind her who are responsible for writing her lovely recipes and scripts. A team of pro's who market her image and who merchandise and dress her, who ensure that in all instances that her TV unfriendly pear shaped physique is disguised.

My take is that she is 'Epicurean' eye candy and her lack of actual skill is aptly demonstrated by the fact that she knows not how to use a knife but resorts to using a mezzaluna on the most impractical things.

True lovers of things gourmand are probably immune to the spin cycle that surrounds her.

At 2:33 pm, Blogger thanh7580 said...

Neil, I read Marieke's article too and was rolling around in laughter. Having read all of Marieke's Green Guide articles and the sarcastic tones that she takes in them, I think she firmly had her tongue in her cheek.

I, for one, love Nigella. I know that her style is a bit over the top, but it doesn't make seeing those suggestive looks any less interesting.

The Nigella effect must be similar to the Oprah. Any time Oprah professes her love for a product, artist, book etc, that thing sells through the roof. The beef industry sued her for her remarks about mad cow disease that meant lots of people stopped buying beef and sales plummeted.

At 11:17 pm, Anonymous Ellie said...

I absolutely adored that article, though I must admit that frankly, I cannot watch Nigella at all. I adore her cookbooks and her writing style, but watching her show drives me utterly batty. Have seen the alternate Nigella effect on some of my male friends though, I almost felt like passing round tissues to mop up the drool!

At 4:52 am, Blogger katiez said...

Great excerpt!
I'm not certain what I want to do next: watch Nigella or buy goose fat (which is on sale everywhere here at Christmas),
And if I buy the goose fat I'm not sure what I should do with it: there's always cooking, of course, but that just seems so, well, pedestrian..... My mind is busy....
I'll let you know - or not!

At 1:37 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi stickyfingers, sounds like she has the whole Fantasy Island thing going on. She isn't really my cup of tea, but if she is turning on a new generation of cooks, good luck to her. I can't believe I wrote turning on, perhaps inspiring might be a better word!

Hi thanh, you really have to be careful what you say sometimes, but I gues the effect these people have is just on a larger scale than our everyday networking whereby if you say something is good, I'll go out and try it.

Hi ellie, I cracked up when I read it. I guess the tv Nigella isn't for experienced cooks and she certainly doesn't seem to be pitching for them, but if your male friends drool a bit and then go on and cook something, it's not all bad. Btw, tell them to clean up their drool!!!

Hi katiez, buy the goose fat and just go with the flow.


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