‘Bake sale’ envy

Thursday, February 2, 2012 Permalink

Although I watch an inordinate amount of television it may surprise you that I do actually have certain standards and boundaries.

bake sale envyI do not, for example, just have the television on in the background for company (unless it’s Saturday morning and I’m playing music videos while breakfasting or on the computer). So it was unusual one evening this week that I had the television on while I was preparing and cooking my dinner. (I suspect I was waiting for something to come on and switched it on unthinkingly.)

Nigella was on. Now I’m sure Aussies and UK residents will all know who I mean when I say that, but I’m not sure how well-known Nigella Lawson is in the US.

In these parts (anyway), she’s seen as some sort of television domestic goddess… alluringly voluptuous but warm and welcoming as she whips up some culinary delights in front of leering cameras and gazillions of viewers.

I’m actually not a fan of cooking shows, so while others (literally) salivate over the brilliance plated-up on Masterchef and the like, I change channels as soon as the pots and pans appear.

However, I left Nigella on in the background and even plonked myself down in front of her on a couple of occasions while things were boiling and zapping and so forth (not being a domestic goddess; or indeed, any kind of goddess myself).

I’m not even sure what the show was called as I know she’s had several TV series (and am too lazy to Google) but it involved a few different recipes over the course of the program. But what interested me the most (leading to this inane and pointless blog post) was that she ‘reported’ that her daughter had arrived home from school saying she had to take something for a school Bake Sale the next day. Like any hardworking mother, she was shirty that the daughter only told her the afternoon before, but unlike other mothers, she had a myriad of goodies on hand and an ability held by few.

Chocolate cherry cupcakes (Source: www.nigella.com)

It occurred to me though, that I found the notion bewildering. Oh my god…! Imagine being another mother in Nigella’s kid’s class. How self-conscious would you feel making your dodgy pikelets or dry cupcakes, when Nigella’s concoctions are going to appear. I mean, should one even TRY to compete with that? Or should you send the kids off to school with a packet of biscuits from the supermarket. Or perhaps you could zip off to the nearest bakery and claim a professional’s delight as your own.

I often read about mothers feeling self-conscious when they do the before or after-school pickup. They sometimes feel the need to primp and preen to avoid embarrassing their child in a world of luxury car-driving yummy mummies decked out in Dolce and Gabbana at 8 o’clock in the morning. So I can only imagine a child’s shame when a $2 sticker is placed atop a misshapen sponge cake they brought for the Bake Sale; and a $20 tag adorns a triple chocolate flour-free gateau (thingy) lugged to school by child-of-Nigella. Years of therapy may ensue.

Cake fail Complete

Cake fail. Not mine, though it could be!

When Nigella first appeared on the scene I recall many women groaning: no longer could they convince their loved ones that being able to cook AND look good, was nigh on impossible. But, it seems to me that over the years as others have come and go, and cooking shows exploded in popularity, we have accepted Nigella into our hearts and homes (and our bosoms – yes, I DID need to go there!) and appreciate her homespun glamour.

We didn’t see the outcome of the Bake Sale. Perhaps on occasions such as these, the domestic goddess is outnumbered by the other mothers who merely roll their eyes and cling to their failed offerings with pride.

*It should be noted that (in this episode) Nigella made chocolate brownies for school. So… perhaps she’s not OTT when it comes to ‘bring a plate’ day at school and the like.

Disclaimer: I cannot believe I’ve put this much thought into something that I really care so little about!

11 Comments
  • Sasha
    February 2, 2012

    “some sort of television domestic goddess… alluringly voluptuous but warm and welcoming as she whips up some culinary delights in front of leering cameras and gazillions of viewers.”… So, like, Martha Stewart but with sex appeal? I’ve heard of Nigella, but I don’t watch TV and my (limited) familiarity with pop culture comes from the web – so I have no idea how well known she is in Canada.

    But yes, I can see how being another mom in that class could be scary. I mean, my daughters are only in preschool and I was caught between mortification and disbelief when they came home last year with valentines day cards. Seriously? Totally hadn’t even been on my radar. Now I’m wondering whether I should go to the trouble of trying to make some of these, posted by my friend Sara the wonder-woman who, with two boys and expecting a third, still finds time for this stuff…. oh, and a busy photography business and a blog. http://mypointsofview.ca/2012/01/31/tidy-up-tuesday-70-cards-later/

    • rockafellaskank
      February 2, 2012

      Very true Sasha. Though I don’t have kids and try to steer clear of mummy (mommy) bloggers, I see enough to realise that it’s a competitive world out there!

      Deb

  • Sasha
    February 2, 2012

    PS. Love the blog title.

  • m3lly78
    February 3, 2012

    she is a total goddess! have you seen her recently though? she’s lost so much weight I kind of feel disenchanted with her…

    • rockafellaskank
      February 4, 2012

      I think I wrote about her and Dawn French’s weight loss in the Diet Schmiet blog, so I had heard. (The show I watched was obviously an oldie!)

  • Carol Hess
    February 3, 2012

    This is hysterical!

    I’m an American who has always found Nigella to be rather affected. That said, I would hate to compete with her food masterpieces in any way, shape, or form. Being the twisted plus-size person that I am, I am not happy to hear she has lost weight. Somehow her voluptuous figure oohing and aahing over food (however affected that oohing and aahing may have appeared to this cynical viewer) made my own even more voluptous figure and more authentic oohing and aahing over food okay.

    • rockafellaskank
      February 4, 2012

      Carol, there were also these two UK TV chefs (Two Fat Ladies, I think they were called) who cooked with loads of oil, and cream and the like; and I can’t help but think Nigella was somewhere in between the perky TV cooks and the Two Fat Ladies! My previous commenter Melly also mentioned her weight loss, and I’d written a Diet Schmiet post about it I think. She was still looking very voluptuous in the show I saw, though it may have been old. Having trawled through Flickr to find photos of her and seen a lot of her out and about in real life, I suspect the tight-fitting sweaters were more for the viewing pleasure of her TV fans!

      Deb

  • Ed @ The Tunnel
    December 8, 2014

    And now there is the added layer of Nigella’s unhappy home life to make her flirty efficiency look all the more impressive. Cooking last minute chocolate brownies (“Damn you, Mimi!”) whilst arguing with the husband (“Damn you, Charles!”) and the hired help (“Damn you all!”). And whilst wearing a girdle!

    • Debbish
      December 8, 2014

      Yes, I haven’t heard much from Nigella recently… but I would wonder what’s in the brownies… !!!

  • Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    December 8, 2014

    I actually never give it a second thought but you’re right! I bet my kid’s school mates parents must look at some of my offerings over the year and shook their head! Poor Nigella, had a shit life really – thanks for linking!

    • Debbish
      December 8, 2014

      Yes… my blog post was before all of that happened… (seems so long ago!)

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