Nigellissima. October 2012.

Dear Rowley,

Am I alone in thinking Nigella Lawson a total self-parody these days. One always suspects people who talk about themselves in the third person are howling at the moon. Nigella’s new cooking programme is called Nigellissima and is inspired by her memories of Italy as a teenage chambermaid. Need I say more?

Nigella has slimmed down as has her Eton Square mansion that has been replicated in a television studio because she doesn’t wish to invade the privacy of husband Charles Saatchi and her kids from the previous marriage to the chap who tragically died of cancer before Nigella was famous. Isn’t life grand that a lady born into privilege has ‘made it’ on TV thanks to delectable curves, an ability to make love to the camera and a surprisingly slovenly approach to cooking?

Isn’t it too sweet that she includes her children and their friends on set? It must be surreal being in a facsimile of one’s kitchen at home while your mother is shaking a breast into the coffee ice cream and making love to the camera? She ‘diddles things into her fingers to mix’ and whips the coffee ice cream into ‘stiff little peaks’ while giving a knowing look to the camera. She also ‘whisks ferociously’. Max Mosley must be foaming at the mouth.

I don’t approve of food porn. I don’t approve of food anywhere near a marital bed full stop or mention of ‘squidgy insides’ on a pre-watershed television programme. The production company should be shot for allowing a woman in the autumn of her life to talk about savoury juices flowing into the mixture. It may make many lonely men very happy on a Monday night but quite frankly turns my stomach over.

With her chicken ‘en truss’ with strings that can be snipped swiftly and painlessly, Nigellissima is the Barbara Windsor of British cookery programmes. I much prefer Paul Hollywood of The Great British Bake Off with whom I tore a crab claw at Sheekey’s earlier this year. Nigellissima calls to mind Mae West in her last big screen appearance in Sextette when she was 80 if she was a day. If she hasn’t got a banana shallot in the house she improvises with garlic oil that delights Nigella. One wonders how, where and why? Until next time…