For some reason, the Cooking Network stopped airing Nigella Lawson’s cooking show several years ago, or maybe they just figured people were tired of her show? I always loved the reruns and I find her cooking-show-style so comforting. She never cared about getting the measurements right. She never cared about spilling sh-t or making a mess. She always made desserts for every meal and she always planned out her meals so that she would have leftovers to snack on at night, when everyone was asleep. That, to me, is a good home cook. But like everyone else during the lockdown, Nigella has struggled to concentrate enough to really cook properly. And that makes me feel better about myself! I feel I’m being inundated by home cooks and home bakers who can sit there and concentrate on a recipe and manage to make something in an hour. HOW?
Lockdown isn’t easy for anyone, but when you’re isolating alone it can be even harder to find the motivation to keep up a routine – as Nigella Lawson has found. Although she’s been busy offering up advice about ingredient substitutions and sharing simple store cupboard recipes on Twitter, the TV chef and former Red cover star has admitted even she lost her focus in the kitchen for a while.
Writing in The Sunday Times Style, Nigella explained that she found the first few days of lockdown tricky to navigate, especially when it came to cooking for one.
‘I’ve always enjoyed cooking for myself, and yet the first 10 or so days of lockdown, I found myself in the uncharacteristic position of being too distracted to cook,’ she explained. ‘Frankly, I didn’t really feel I wanted to eat anything other than chocolate…Without the need to feed others, I found it all too easy to spiral out of any proper schedule.’
Now, she says, she’s ‘pulled myself back’ and cooks ‘something proper, something to look forward to, each evening’, even finding a silver lining in not having to cater for others. Something she thinks other keen home cooks, isolating alone, should try to enjoy right now, too.
‘If you are isolating at home alone, make the most of only having yourself to please,’ she wrote. ‘Find out what flavours you like, experiment as you cook…you can concentrate more on the process than on the result, shackled as it is so often with the dreadful weight of performance anxiety.’
The extent of my lockdown cooking has been pretty much the same as always – occasionally making pasta, sometimes with grilled chicken. That’s about it. But my guess is that more people are like me and like Nigella was at the start of the lockdown: unable to concentrate long enough to really make a real meal or cook for tons of people. Judging from what’s gone at the grocery store, people seem equally divided between “just making endless frozen pizzas” versus “finally trying to bake for the first time.”
Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red.