My Aunt Carole gave me this book this past Christmas, and I keep grabbing it off of my bookshelf in my bedroom. That’s right, it’s in my bedroom. Perhaps it’s the cupcake on the cover that puts me in a trance, causing me to lay down on my bedroom floor and pore over it for hours. Most likely, it’s Nigella’s writing and sense humor and the rest of the pretty pictures. I haven’t even tried any of the recipes (yet), I just like to read her commentary for now.
Nigella Lawson is one of my favorite people on this planet. She’s Oxford-educated (she has a Master’s in medieval and modern languages!) and she loves to eat. One of my favorite episodes of her show Nigella Bites ends with her grabbing a bar of chocolate out of her pantry and some warm milk before going to bed. Whenever someone shames me into eating a salad, I think of Nigella, and I ask myself if I really want that salad. I have a total woman-crush on Nigella.
Please ignore the gender-specific title. The contents of this book will appeal to men as much as it appeals to women. Nigella divides this book into the following sections: cakes; cookies, scones, and muffins; pies; desserts; chocolate; children [haha! Maybe it’s the wine talking, but listing this chapter seems to imply that she is baking children, which she is not, obviously, but it’s funny nonetheless, OK? Ahem.]; Christmas; bread and yeast; and the domestic goddess’s pantry. These recipes are for those who have access to a well-stocked grocery store. For instance, I don’t know where the heck to find fresh white currants to make the Black and White Tart. And some recipes call for lard, which is almost impossible to find in Southern California outside of the Mexican grocery stores. Not all recipes call for such hard-to-find ingredients, though. I think this book is intended for a mostly European audience, because she includes a recipe for “American Breakfast Pancakes” (which I will promptly make, but I am not looking forward to being taught how to make pancakes by a British woman). Americans who love to bake, however, will find this book just as drool-worthy. It’s a great (and pretty) asset to any kitchen bookshelf.