‘All home cooks tend to have one major flaw,’ Nigella Lawson writes cryptically as the first line in her essay, Home Cooking Can Be A Feminist Act.
What could it possibly be? Do home cooks always fail to read the recipe? Do they not have good knife skills? Are we not using the right salt? What is it, Nigella? Tell us!
None of the above, actually. The biggest flaw all home cooks share, according to Queen Nigella, is apologising for the food we serve.
‘I spend my time on the road urging people to ... stop apologising, desist from outlining the ways in which our talents, abilities, and output fall short,’ she writes over at Lenny.
The reason we play down our home cooking, Nigella argues, is that the task falls under the category of “domestic work” usually done by women. It’s therefore contrasted starkly with the role of chef (a word which literally means “boss”) who are professional cooks and, most often, men.
When we apologise for our cooking, Nigella explains, what we’re trying to do is apologise for not being chefs plating up restaurant-quality food every night. An achievement, in her view, that isn’t all that anyway.
‘Restaurant cooking can be fabulous, inspiring, transcendent, and oh-so-marvelous in many ways, but for me it will always partly belong to the realm of theatre.’
For Nigella, relishing in the craft of cooking at home with whichever ingredients are to hand and savouring the chaos and uniqueness of a home-cooked meal has nothing to do with aspiring to haute cuisine. It’s an act of feminism.
‘Don’t apologise for that,’ says Nigella. ‘Revel in it.’
This article originally appeared on Foodiful.