Friday, November 16, 2007

What Nigella Lawson Said to Me

After hell, high water, and rush hour traffic, I made it to the Whole Foods on the Bowery by 7 pm on the dot for the Nigella Lawson book signing. I had planned to get there a bit earlier so I could eat dinner at one of the many food stops in Whole Foods--which is built more like a mammoth Jersey mall rather than even your average gargantuan supermarket--before waiting on the line. But my plans were no match for the Lincoln Tunnel at 5 pm.

When I arrived, the line was already quite long. All I wanted to do was sit and eat one of the many vegetarianorganicfreetradeglutenfree power bars I was standing by, or at least one of the scented candles, which might have tasted better. I was so hungry and tired. But I had a mission to get a book signed and knew I could hit up the food bars afterwards.

I've met a few celebrities, or at least people who are somewhat well known and do work I admire. But I never really want to sit and talk with them. What will I say that isn't incredibly dorky? And by the time I think of something great to say, my 30 seconds with the sharpie will be up. I'm over my adolescent celebrity worship, that feeling that I just know someone, that they're actually heroic. We're all just people. But some are extradordinary and get some attention for it and it would be disingenuous to say I haven't been shaped by that.

I don't think I'd be interested in food writing or even doing this blog if I hadn't come across Nigella Lawson's books a few years back. Yeah, I've always loved to eat (too much so) so it's not like I was uninterested in food before dipping my toe, just a little, in the foodie world. I've always been really aware of food. It wasn't, however, until I started cooking more than pancakes and scrambled eggs for myself, learned to read and follow recipes, and referred to various food magazines and cookbooks, that I actually brokered some sort of peace with my relationship with food. I stopped feeling as guilty about sometimes being a glutton and saw it as both a new hobby and a way to sustain my body, just as we all do. Prior to that, food was some weird, painful punishing reward. Now I'm not as controlled by food and I enjoy it more. I have to eat and I'm lucky I can afford to eat everyday and have access to such an amazing variety of food so I might as well lose the guilt trip. Funny, the seemingly two extremes of foodieness and doing Weight Watchers taught me that.

I'm by no means totally resolved. I still want chocolate, bread, and cheese, and lots of it, when I feel stressed or depressed (only really, really high levels of panic can still my appetite). I've gained some "love" pounds, as people say, since being with Brian but it's really just because I stopped running and started eating out a lot more. I, like most women, regularly plan and scheme about what I can do to be thinner. But I'm a lot happier now, and more realistic, than say, 10 years ago in the food department. Everyone has their thing. One of mine happens to be food and eating it. There are worse vices, and lesser joys.

So, here's how it went.

Nigella: Hello.
Me: [dorkily, really, really dorkily] Hello. I'm such a huge fan so it's really great to meet you.
Nigella: Thank you. [reading the post-it of my name one of the organizers put on my book so she'd know how to sign it] You have such a beautiful name.
Me: [beaming] Oh, thank you!
[silence and then someone tells me to get behind the table if I want my picture taken. Nigella tells her she's getting very good at taking pictures. The girl takes our picture].
Me: Thank you very much. Have a good night.
Nigella: Thank you. You too.

She is so gorgeous in person. Incredibly porcelain skin, great posture, lovely smile, very gracious. Brian asked if she'd really be as hot in person as she is on TV with all the lighting and yes, she was. When I told him about the signing and I said, "She's so beautiful." He said, "Should I be jealous?" Um....


Brian said...

Lovely picture, Joselle! Really! You two look like cohosts!

Can't wait to meet you tomorrow; although I'm anticipating a long line. Trying to think of what I'll say to you. Maybe I'll just give you a Post-It with the inscription, XOJPBKOX.



urban vegan said...


I have such a girl rush on Nigella and admire how deeply she thinks about food--she's a real artist in the kitchen.

Funny thing is, I paged through her new book and have no desire to buy it.

Make the lemon bars, BTW. Veganomicon also has a version which I haven't tried yet.

Sky said...

Awesome! You are both gorgeous. :)