Magazine article The Spectator

Over-Egging the Pudding

Magazine article The Spectator

Over-Egging the Pudding

Article excerpt


Hurrah, I have just had a baby girl and even though there's clearly not a shred of Delingpole in her - she looks all pretty and fawnish like her mother - I am rather looking forward to the day when she looks up at me with her as-yet-undecidedcoloured eyes and says in her Celia Johnson accent: `Oh Deddy, Deddy, you are so clever and handsome and wonderful and everything you say is so right and true.' Because that's the big advantage of girl babies over boy babies, isn't it? They never go through that Oedipal stage where they think you're a total prat or want to kill you.

As you can imagine, though, my brain's not really in work mode at the minute. All I really want to do is snuggle in bed with my enhanced family, drink cups of tea and read Harry Potter, but instead, besides journalism, I have to do all that knackering, multi-tasking stuff that girls are much better at than men even though they pretend they're not, like wiping surfaces, washing Babygros and so on. Nor does it help much that I'm trying to give up smoking, which means I don't even have nicotine to kickstart my synapses and make me write clever things. And of course I'm not getting enough sleep either.

If I were Nigella Lawson, however, none of this would be any problem. Because, as Nigella Bites (Channel 4, Wednesday) will insist on reminding us every second shot (Nigella picks up the kids from school, Nigella beavers away at word-processor, Nigella styles photo-shoot, Nigella uses gap between lunch and tea to pioneer new route up Everest, etc.), Nigella is a superwoman who can do absolutely everything without breaking into a sweat and still look immaculately soignee-yet-natural.

This is not a criticism of Nigella, by the way, who I think is a Good Thing. Rather it's a grumble about the way TV has to reduce everything to its lowest common denominator; to remove any hint of subtlety and spell everything out as if we were a Glassful of halfwits. Heaven forfend that we should simply infer from what Nigella says that she is a busy working mother. No, the point has to be made visually, frame by frame, because that's what they tell you at TV school probably. `Show, not tell.' God, I hate TV people. They're so crass and vulgar, yet they think they're really important and talented and that they deserve our respect.

Anyway, How To Eat, the book on which the series is based, is much less heavyhanded. Before I read it I was fairly down on Nigella - too pretty for her own good, only got where she is because of who her father is, looks a bit too haughty/shy for my liking, etc. …

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