Sorry Nigella, I’ve lost my appetite
This Thursday is the biggest day of the year for publishers as the best-selling authors in Britain, J. K. Rowling and Jamie Oliver, launch their latest books.
With a barrage of expensive publicity, this is a heavily hyped contest designed to extract millions of pounds from a public with less cash to spend on luxuries.
Both pricey volumes are already heavily discounted to seduce us — online, Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals is slashed from £26 to £13, and Rowling’s first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy, from £20 to £9.86, though you’ll have to pay extra for postage.
I will be buying Rowling’s book out of curiosity, to see if her observations of life in a small town are as spot on as her gift for weaving spells.
More importantly, I don’t need another jumbo cookery book filled with pictures of food porn. Surely, we’ve bought enough of these already. I must own at least 20. What more can there be left to say about whipping up a quick plate of pasta or cooking a chop?
These lavish cookery books suddenly seem as redundant as a monster handbag, now deemed passé by the fashion police in the age of the iPad-sized clutch.
Yet publishers are still churning them out in all their bloated glory — we’ve just seen the battle of the male and female Nigels, Slater vs Lawson, whose books were offered at £30 (cut to £20) and £26 (reduced to £13).
I used to love Nigel Slater; sadly, now I think he’s having a laugh at my expense.
Are we British so stupid that we need to pay £30 to find out how to make tomato and basil bruschetta (ingredients: tomatoes, bread, basil, olive oil and artichokes), which starts with the order: ‘Get an overhead grill hot’? Surely not.
I thought you made toast by sticking a bit of bread on your head and dancing around in your pants.
Nigella has come up with a pizza that uses meatballs as a base: it sounds disgusting. Recently, Nigel Slater offered a recipe that featured old mashed potato and a cooked sausage rolled up in a grilled wrap — will anyone really pay £30 to find out how to create a stodgy snack with leftovers?
Nigel, Nigella and Jamie write books that are about them and how lovely they look (Nigella has morphed into Sixties Italian movie star Anita Ekberg crossed with Anna Magnani) and how wonderful their kitchens, local shops and gardens are.
And, for some bizarre reason, we have been willing to pay a fortune to join their middle-class cosy clubs.
An astonishing six out of the 20 best-selling books on Amazon yesterday were expensive cookery manuals — including Jerusalem, co-written by trendy chef Yotam Ottolenghi, weighing in at £27 (reduced to £15) and Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course at £25 (reduced to £12).
Owning these status symbols is an expensive addiction — which could fund quite a few takeaways. And in spite of purchasing huge numbers of these books and tuning into telly such as the Great British Bake Off in our millions, we still stick to the same handful of recipes.
A survey last year by the Good Food Channel found that most women cook only seven dishes from scratch, and eight out of ten of us prepare the same meals over and over again.
All of which are very good reasons for buying Rowling’s book this Thursday and settling down to read it with fish and chips.
Story in Daily Mail
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