Day 9/10 of my cookbook challenge, the books and cooks who have influenced my kitchen over the past 40 years: Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess.
After many failed attempts at making so much as a passable Victoria sponge, I used to be quite convinced that (a) I was rubbish at baking and (b) that baking was strictly the preserve of old ladies and members of the WI; truly they alone had been granted baking super-powers. Then two things happened in the year 2000; I had the first brand new oven I’d ever owned installed in my new kitchen (game-changer, you can’t get good results from a dodgy oven) and then I spotted this on the shelf of my local bookstore where I had a gift voucher to spend. I already had the wonderful How to Eat by her and the cover and the title of this book just called out to me. I loved the cheekiness of the title, the simplicity of the graphic that was to become her brand icon and I think I was probably in need of a little comfort food at the time.
Before long, I was cranking out all manner of baked deliciousness and I have genuinely lost count of the number of times I have made her lemon and poppyseed cake and the banana loaf featured at the beginning of that book. My family would shamelessly and deliberately allow bananas to go brown and spotty because they knew I would be compelled to make a cake rather than see them go to waste. Now, of course, I have other baking titles in my library like Leith’s Baking Bible, a couple of Hummingbird Bakery titles Home Sweet Home and Cake Days as well as Mary Berry’s Baking Bible but it was Nigella who taught me to love baking and Nigella who made me believe being able to bake was not only achievable but also desirable and cool.