You ever have that dream? You know the one. It’s that recurring dream where you’re throwing a huge party and your culinary idol — let’s say, for the sake of this story, that it’s Nigella Lawson — is the guest of honor, and you’re hoping that you’re going to impress her with your culinary knowhow and maybe, maybe become her BFF forever, and then all of a sudden your gawping mouth says something so dumb, and she’s just staring at you with this look in her face, and your stomach is turning in on itself, and then the floor starts crumbling into the ocean and everyone’s faces turn into wolves and Edith Piaf music starts playing really, really slowly?
Sadly, this really happened to British writer Viv Groskop, except without all the Inception stuff. In a confession she wrote for the Guardian Observer’s Food Monthly, she recounts an all-too familiar tale of obsession with a certain chef, and the one moment where, after years of making pink grapefruit drizzle loafs and Nutella cake and poinsettia sugar things, she shamed herself in front of the Goddess:
About two years ago I was hosting a charity event for 150 people where Nigella was a guest of honour. I had got it into my head that she had provided the brownies. I’m now not sure whether she had. They were very nice brownies but they definitely weren’t a Nigella recipe. Nor were they home-baked. For some, possibly Prosecco-fuelled reason I grew deeply affronted by this grotesque treachery. When I stood up to speak I attempted to mask my sense of betrayal: “Don’t forget to enjoy the brownies from Nigella. Before she eats them all.”
There was a collective shocked silence. I then mumbled, glancing in her general direction, “Don’t worry, Nigella, no one here thinks you’re fat.” Which implied that they did. Which really they absolutely didn’t. And she isn’t. But I had said it. More silence. Nigella smiled serenely and soon after was whisked away. (From me, largely.) We didn’t meet.
Upon reading the article, Nigella graciously forgave Groskop, but we wouldn’t expect anything less, because, well, Nigella.
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