The “queen of food porn” is back with tantalising TV for BBC Two’s Nigella: Cook, Eat, Repeat – here’s why she always leaves us hungry for more
By Laura Rutkowski, Staff Writer
The new series puts food writer and chef Nigella Lawson back on our telly menu three years after Nigella: At My Table. Nigella: Cook, Eat, Repeat, which accompanies her most recent book of the same name, features new feel-good recipes and stories. “More than just a mantra, “cook, eat, repeat” is the story of my life,” Nigella says.
She started out as a restaurant critic for The Spectator and deputy literary editor for The Sunday Times, before becoming a cooking columnist for Vogue in 1997. Her background is evident in the easy-to-understand, but beautiful, language she uses to describe ingredients, as well as how she words her recipes.
Nigella has always been unashamedly obsessed with food and her passion has rubbed off on us. In her debut cookbook from 1998, How To Eat: The Pleasures And Principles Of Good Food, she wrote: “I am not a chef. I am not even a trained or professional cook. My qualification is as an eater… I have nothing to declare but my greed.”
In the new six-part series, which includes a Christmas special, Nigella will masterfully create dishes that include chocolate peanut butter cake and crab mac ’n’ cheese, leaving the whole nation salivating. Never one to skimp on the good stuff, Nigella is a big fan of comfort foods, dolloping on some cream here or pouring in some sugar there, which works well for the upcoming festivities that are defined by the sound of belts unbuckling from being too full.
To work up an appetite for Nigella: Cook, Eat, Repeat, here are a few reasons why one serving of Nigella is never enough…
It’s not what she says, but how she says it
If YouTube comments on Nigella’s videos are anything to go by, people love to listen to the sound of her voice, no matter what she’s saying. In fact, people tune out of the cooking chat just to hear her dulcet tones. Folding whipped cream into the mixture? Not entirely sure what that means, but it sounds good! Did she say something about making sure we grew our own strawberries and then plucked them to use in this dessert? Ah well, no time for that now, we’ll just use store-bought ones.
Whatever, we’re just here for Nigella’s audiobook-worthy voice – and the good news is she has in fact narrated audiobooks, like How To Eat. Her Wikipedia page has a “Nigella Lawson’s voice” section, an honour we’re pretty sure is not bestowed on all Wiki pages.
OK, it IS about what she says
Who are we kidding, this is one of the major reasons we love her! Nigella is an absolute flirt! Harry Hill’s TV Burp even had a segment called “Nigella’s Innuendo Countdown.” Not only does she shorten pavlova to “pav” (so cool), but as she pours the mixture on to the baking tray, she says things like “mound pleasurably slowly”.
Other highlights that make us go all blush face emoji include “This lovely pale flesh and that rosy blush around the rim,” in which she’s talking about… peaches, giving Call Me By Your Name’s peach scene a serious run for its money. And if you’re up for a bit of kink, Nigella believes “There is always room for a bit of brutality in the kitchen.” Well, alrighty then!
This magazine cover
Nigella guest-edited a December 2011 edition of Stylist, which focused on her “love affair with salted caramel”, as she put it. “Ticking off the holy trinity of sugar, salt and fat – salted caramel is the class A drug of the confectionery world,” she wrote in the issue. She was also covered in it for the photo shoot, and the result is downright delicious and so damn #onbrand. We dread to think how long it took to scrub the sauce off her face and out of her hair…
She serves up a #RecipeOfTheDay on her Twitter account
From the sweet, including this scrumptious-looking devil’s food cake or a marmalade pudding cake, to the savoury, including how to make your own tagliatelle or cook Moroccan chicken, Nigella lures you in with a mouth-watering photo and then links to her website for the recipe. Whether you prefer to use the metric system or cups (for all the UK-residing Americans out there), there’s a handy slider that converts everything for you, which saves you the agony of doing the maths yourself!
She’s not afraid to be controversial with her cooking
Depending on where your loyalties lie, you’ll either love or hate her spaghetti with Marmite, a dish that will make some shudder, and others lick their lips. Either way, Nigella’s not afraid to take risks.
Nigella included the original recipe for her spaghetti with Marmite in her book Kitchen ten years ago before it reappeared across her social media accounts this September. On her website, she says she came across this recipe in food writer Anna Del Conte’s memoirs, Risotto With Nettles. Apparently, Nigella “hasn’t as yet found a child who doesn’t like it”. A decade later, the recipe is still as devisive as ever, with journalist Sali Hughes gushing in a tweet: “I’ve made this many times and can confirm its amazingness.” Others aren’t as convinced, with one Instagram user simply writing, “Nooooooo!”
She understands the work-life balance
In her series Nigella Bites, filmed in her West London home, she had a whole section devoted to TV dinners, which she introduced by saying, “The truth is, I love good food and lots of it at any time, but I know too that at the end of a long day, cooking can seem just like another exhausting chore, so what we need is simple food you can face cooking on those days when you just have to hit that kitchen running.” Now we’re talking! Nigella moves around the kitchen with ease, showing us how we too can navigate cooking at the end of the day, quickly and easily.
“What’s cookin’ good lookin’?”
When Nigella Bites aired in the US, a critic from The New York Times said, “Lawson’s sexy roundness mixed with her speed-demon technique makes cooking dinner with Nigella look like a prelude to an orgy.” That sounds like a compliment to us.
This is a woman who brings her linguine to the boil and then goes off to “slip into something a little more comfortable” (she literally says this) and then returns for the finishing touches in a silk, sea-green dressing gown. She then takes the dish up to her room, announcing, “bed, television, food.” BOLD. ICONIC. NIGELLA.
Nigella: Cook, Eat, Repeat bingo card
When you tune in for a Nigella show, there are certain things you can expect – the aforementioned innuendos being one of them. Check out our printable bingo card below and cross off each one as they happen, or just eat a square (or bar) of chocolate to keep track. We think Nigella would approve.
When is BBC Two’s Nigella: Cook, Eat, Repeat on TV?
Nigella: Cook, Eat, Repeat airs on BBC Two HD (CH 102) on Mondays at 8pm, with the first episode screening on November 9th. It is also available for 30 days in Catch Up > Channels > BBC iPlayer.
The six-part series will subsequently air every week until Monday 14 December.
TV channels: Channels, content and features available depend on your chosen package. Channel line-ups and content are subject to change at any time and to regional variations.
HD: HD TV set, V HD Box, TiVo box or Virgin TV V6 connected with HDMI cables required for HD channels. Number of inclusive HD channels depends on package.
Catch Up TV: Catch Up TV content available for up to 7 days or up to 30 days after broadcast, depending on content.
Image credits: Nigella: Cook, Eat, Repeat © BBC / Jay Brookes