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Thursday, Jan 7, 2010
by PopMatters Staff
by Jenny Lawson
M/C Journal (December 2009)

“At the end of the episode “Crowd Pleasers,” from her television series Nigella Feasts, we see British food writer and television cook Nigella Lawson in her nightgown opening her fridge in the dark. The fridge light reveals the remnant dishes of chili con carne that she prepared earlier on in the programme. She scoops up a dollop of soured cream and chili onto a spoon and shovels it into her mouth, nods approvingly and then picks up the entire chili dish. She eats another mouthful, utters a satisfied “umm” sound, closes the fridge door and walks away, taking the dish of chili with her.


This recurring scenario at the end of Nigella’s programmes is paradoxically constructed as a private moment to be witnessed by many viewers. It resembles acts of secret eating, personal food habits and offers a glimpse of the performed self, adding to Nigella’s persona. Throughout Nigella’s programmes there is a conscious tension between the private and public. This tension is confounded by Nigella’s acknowledgement of, and direct address to, the viewers, characterised by the knowing look she gives to the camera when she tastes her food, licks her fingers as she cooks, or reveals her secret chocolate stash in her store cupboard; the overt performance of supposedly surreptitious gestures. Through her look-back at the camera Nigella performs both sin and confession, communicating her guilty-pleasure as she self-consciously reveals this pleasure to the viewers.”


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