Sorry Nigella, I've lost my appetite
08:43 GMT, 24 September 2012
This Thursday is the biggest day of the year for publishers as the best-selling authors in Britain, J. K. Rowling and Jamie Oliver, launch their latest books.
With a barrage of expensive publicity, this is a heavily hyped contest designed to extract millions of pounds from a public with less cash to spend on luxuries.
Nigella Lawson, who has come up with a recipe for pizza which uses meatballs as the base
Both pricey volumes are already heavily discounted to seduce us — online, Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals is slashed from 26 to 13, and Rowling’s first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy, from 20 to 9.86, though you’ll have to pay extra for postage.
I will be buying Rowling’s book out of curiosity, to see if her observations of life in a small town are as spot on as her gift for weaving spells.
JK Rowling and Nigel Slater are both releasing new books this week
More importantly, I don’t need another jumbo cookery book filled with pictures of food porn. Surely, we’ve bought enough of these already. I must own at least 20. What more can there be left to say about whipping up a quick plate of pasta or cooking a chop
These lavish cookery books suddenly seem as redundant as a monster handbag, now deemed pass by the fashion police in the age of the iPad-sized clutch.
Yet publishers are still churning them out in all their bloated glory — we’ve just seen the battle of the male and female Nigels, Slater vs Lawson, whose books were offered at 30 (cut to 20) and 26 (reduced to 13).
I used to love Nigel Slater; sadly, now I think he’s having a laugh at my expense.
Are we British so stupid that we need
to pay 30 to find out how to make tomato and basil bruschetta
(ingredients: tomatoes, bread, basil, olive oil and artichokes), which
starts with the order: ‘Get an overhead grill hot’ Surely not.
I thought you made toast by sticking a bit of bread on your head and dancing around in your pants.
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Nigella has come up with a pizza that uses meatballs as a base: it sounds disgusting. Recently, Nigel Slater offered a recipe that featured old mashed potato and a cooked sausage rolled up in a grilled wrap — will anyone really pay 30 to find out how to create a stodgy snack with leftovers
Nigel, Nigella and Jamie write books that are about them and how lovely they look (Nigella has morphed into Sixties Italian movie star Anita Ekberg crossed with Anna Magnani) and how wonderful their kitchens, local shops and gardens are.
And, for some bizarre reason, we have been willing to pay a fortune to join their middle-class cosy clubs.
An astonishing six out of the 20 best-selling books on Amazon yesterday were expensive cookery manuals — including Jerusalem, co-written by trendy chef Yotam Ottolenghi, weighing in at 27 (reduced to 15) and Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course at 25 (reduced to 12).
Owning these status symbols is an expensive addiction — which could fund quite a few takeaways. And in spite of purchasing huge numbers of these books and tuning into telly such as the Great British Bake Off in our millions, we still stick to the same handful of recipes.
A survey last year by the Good Food Channel found that most women cook only seven dishes from scratch, and eight out of ten of us prepare the same meals over and over again.
All of which are very good reasons for buying Rowling’s book this Thursday and settling down to read it with fish and chips.
Goldie's golden discs
A rainy Sunday morning was forgotten yesterday, listening to bubbly Goldie Hawn on Desert Island Discs, talking about running a dancing school at the age of 18, meeting her partner Kurt Russell and choosing fabulous records such as Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me To The Moon and Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black.
Goldie has a wonderful voice: warm, friendly and inclusive — a fabulous start to the new series.
The only duff moment was when Kirsty Young asked Goldie, now 65, about working in movies.
She replied: ‘These days I work with neuroscientists and educationalists.’
Her charitable foundation helps underprivileged children learn about their emotions in order to perform better at school.
Last week I lamented the absence of
Senior Olympics in Britain — they are currently taking place across the
U.S. In China, another version of the Olympics, the Peasant Games, are
in their seventh year. Forget dressage and fencing, these ‘sports’
include tyre-rolling, carrying food in straw baskets and planting rice
on artificial paddies at high speed. The events take place in a brand
new 35,000-seater stadium in Nanyang — and to build it the local
authorities knocked down 50,000 homes, most of which belonged to
Cater for all pupils
Over a quarter of children entitled to free school meals are not taking them because they do not want to be different to other kids.
Researchers found when mothers in deprived areas were offered free meals they preferred to give their children packed lunches, which are often nutritionally poor.
In some schools, pupils with packed lunches were seated separately and the school meals were mainly taken up by children from poorer backgrounds.
When will Education Secretary Michael Gove realise choice is a destructive option: the sooner all children have to eat compulsory school meals the better Gove had the guts to reform GCSEs and bin useless qualifications; now he should ban packed lunches, which usually contain utter rubbish.
The only way to improve school catering will be if everyone eats it, with parents involved in menus and catering standards.
Take that, bad manners
Proud new dad Robbie Williams posts a picture of baby Theodora Rose online and tells us: ‘All I want her to have is manners…. and be kind… if she has those qualities, she can get away with murder with me.’
Proud dad! Robbie Williams wants his daughter to be kind and well mannered
I wonder if the mum of mouthy Tory MP Andrew Mitchell had the same aspirations for her son He’s turned out to be an abrasive boor, nicknamed Thrasher at school and described as ‘crazy with ambition’.
I don’t care about the details of Mr Mitchell’s rant at a policeman in Downing Street, but the incident reinforces the image of politicians inhabiting a different world from the rest of us, cushioned by expenses, lovely pensions and an over-whelming sense of their own importance.
As their popularity ratings plummet to the lowest level since polling began, Mr Mitchell revealed in one unguarded moment what we always suspected.
Instead of working for us, they think we’re plebs to serve them. David Cameron couldn’t wait to ditch his connections with Eton and join the middle classes.
John Bercow wants Parliament to have ‘dress down Fridays’ and modernise the language used in the House.
That’s window dressing.
Tune in to Prime Minister’s Questions and you’ll see braying, catcalling and nastiness: discourteous behaviour that wouldn’t be tolerated in the workplace or on public transport.