Friday, 21 November 2014

Nutella for Nigella !

The 20th November will henceforth be known as "Nigella Day" or "Nutella for Nigella day"... here is why!

I was very excited to receive an email from The School of Life about an event where Alain de Botton would be in conversation with Nigella Lawson on The Meaning of Food.. as a Nutrition graduate, food fanatic and all round worshipper of both Alain de Botton AND Nigella Lawson - I went swooping for my purse to book a ticket faster than ever....

In preparation for this special evening - I happen to know that Selfridges currently have a special Nutella stand in their food hall where you can get any name printed onto a jar of Nutella. So of course - I ask them to print one for Nigella (see below) - a huge success!

On the morning of the talk, I went to CocoMaya - my favourite bakery on Connaught Street to buy fresh Cronuts / Cocodoughs as I happen to know that she loves them too. Salted Caramel for @FevRave, chocolate for me.. pistachio for her!

The talk itself was, of course, a sell out. Hundreds of people filed into the Emmanuel Centre on Marsham Street. I was not too near the front, which was a clever and strategic move as I had a perfect view but was able to make a quick exit to meet her afterwards and avoid the queue. 

I find it very hard to sit still and tune into things (my mind wonders, as all minds do). But the moment Alain de B started to talk and ask questions... and Nigella gave us her pearls of wisdom - I was captivated. 

Here are some quotes from the evening - 

"There's nothing better than a soft boiled egg on toast"

"I don't like boorishness or bad manners around the dinner table but I like discussion."

"If food is the most important thing at a dinner party, there's something wrong"

"Those of us that like to cook are normally quite controlling"

"All things in moderation, including moderation"

"I don't believe in the 22 minute lunch break but I eat very fast." - ME TOO

"The older I get I feel that memories are so much more important than things"

"Lemons: people forget the absolutely exquisite pleasure of the sour"

"I don't like food snobbery. The upper middle classes are trying to feel superior 
by only eating seasonally"

"One shouldn't worry about being judged"

"When I read, I get a profound sense of whether I like the taste of a sentence"

'Writing and cooking are like reading and eating'

"I don't believe in comfort food...I believe in comfort cooking"

"Cooking isn't cooking if you are just following the recipe"

'If you're someone who has to get to a station hours early for a train, you should cook your chicken slowly"

Nigella liked food but not meal times as a child. She got interested in food through language and also cooking. 

Having had a rocky relationship with food, I came away feeling uplifted and inspired and in awe of her approach to food and eating. 

The questions from the audience were great too - someone asked what she thought about the "22 minute lunch hour" and the rise of Pret. I loved how she said that although her office is at home, everyone sits down for lunch away from phones and screens even though the topic of conversation over lunch might be work related..

I admire Nigella in so many ways. She is an Oxford University graduate and was once the Deputy Literary Editor of the Sunday Times before turning to food writing and publishing several extremely successful cookery books amongst many other things.

I felt I learnt more that evening than I did throughout my entire university degree. Much food for thought... haha. To be in the presence of food royalty, someone so highly intelligent, staggeringly beautiful and wise was a real privilege.

It was an added bonus to receive this tweet this morning - 

I say "Hurrah for Nutella. Hurrah for Nigella".

All in all, the whole evening was a total triumph and undoubtedly one of the biggest highlights of my year so far. 


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  2. I relate to a lot of Nigella's quotes here... I like cooking as a process but eating and foos has posed some anxiety since I was a teenager. I think relating the idea of food back to emotion and why we eat together is a brilliant pause for thought on this. xx