Nigella Reminds Us You Don’t Need to Be an Expert to Cook

Thanks to The Food Section I ran across this interesting Eater.com interview with Nigella Lawson, the buxom British cookbook writer and television host. I’ve been a fan of Nigella since I first bought How to Be a Domestic Goddess many years ago. I think she’s a terrific writer – her voice is so clear and distinctive. I can hear her talking as I read her words. Like her, I am a big proponent of getting people into the kitchen, and I’m also of the loosey-goosey, tailor-it-to-your-tastes school of cooking.

This was a somewhat serious interview about food, cooking, and class, and while I didn’t agree with everything Nigella said, I did find it thought-provoking. A few of the most interesting bits:

“There is something disenfranchising in making people feel they need a qualification or a great level of expertise before they are allowed in the kitchen.”

“In the Victorian age the peasants just ate local and in season and the aristocracy spent fortunes building greenhouses and growing pineapples. It was a class issue. It was about the elite. Now suddenly because of supermarkets and air travel, the masses — if you want to talk in class terms — can get out of season produce. So what do the elite do? They say If it is not seasonal, if it is not local, it isn’t good.”

“For me cooking is an act of independence. I don’t feel entirely comfortable handing over the means of sustenance and survival to someone else. It’s empowering.”

Click here to read the whole interview.

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