“Samin Nosrat & Nigella Lawson” Transcript
Joy Wilson: Hi, this is Joy the baker, and you're listen to Radio Cherry Bombe. You're the bomb!
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Jess Zeidman: Hi Bombesquad. You're listening to radio Cherry Bombe. This is Associate Producer, Jess Zeidman. We just had our big jubilee conference last week, so Kerry is taking a little break. But don't worry, we'll still be talking to some of the most inspiring women in and around the world of food.
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Jess Zeidman: Now, for today's show. Because we at Cherry Bombe are all still in a jubilee frame of mind, we're airing a conversation between Samin Nosrat and Nigella Lawson from Jubilee 2018. Samin was one of the keynote speakers at this year's Jubilee, and we thought it would be fun to see what was on her mind exactly one year ago, and before the launch of her Netflix show. These women are so inspiring. I'm sure a lot of you own Nigella's cookbooks as well as her issue of Cherry Bombe, and I'm sure a lot of you have watched Samin's show. So this conversation is a fascinating throwback. I didn't attend jubilee last year, so this was my first time hearing this conversation. And I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Jess Zeidman: But first, a word from our sponsor. Handsome Brook Farm pasture-raised organic eggs.
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Jess Zeidman: Here's Samin Nosrat interviewing Nigella Lawson at last year's Jubilee.
Nigella Lawson: Oh, sorry. Oh, I'm sitting on your lap!
Nigella Lawson: I was nearly sitting on Samin's Lap.
Samin Nosrat: Oh, yeah! That would be ... I'm ... You're welcome.
Samin Nosrat: This is a dream. Hello.
Nigella Lawson: Hello. So, this is the thing, I'm so excited to talk to Samin and I love her book, and I love everything about her. So the minute I saw her backstage, I avoided her.
Samin Nosrat: I was like, "I can't talk to you!"
Nigella Lawson: Because I thought otherwise we'll say everything before. So then I had to say to her, "You do know I'm actually looking forward to speaking to you, don't you?" I realized the fact that actually I was avoiding her might have looked a bit unfriendly.
Samin Nosrat: No, I was like, "Please don't ask me any questions because I have to keep everything a surprise for out there!"
Nigella Lawson: Okay, so we both had the same idea.
Samin Nosrat: Yeah yeah. It's just ... You know, you ...
Nigella Lawson: I feel quiet, am I quiet?
Samin Nosrat: Are you? Okay.
Nigella Lawson: That says something about me.
Samin Nosrat: Oh yeah.
Samin Nosrat: Okay, so here's my plan.
Samin Nosrat: I've done some homework. But I have a thesis statement which rose out of the homework, which, okay, I believe that you and I are secretly destined to be best friends. And I'm going to spend this talk proving it to you.
Nigella Lawson: Okay. I accept that.
Samin Nosrat: Okay, great.
Samin Nosrat: So one of the things, Lani even mentioned it in her introduction, but it's really I would say one of your ... It seems to be like one of your biggest points. It's right there on the first page of the introduction of this book. But every interview everywhere, you're always saying, "I'm not a chef. I'm a home cook." And I remember as a cook also really putting a lot of thought into the distinction of that terminology and choosing to refer to myself as a cook or a professional cook and not a chef. And earlier today, I don't know if you were here yet, but the two beautiful Ruths also referred to themselves as ... Ruth Reichl had opened a restaurant for 15 years, and she wasn't a chef. And the other Ruth wasn't a chef.
Samin Nosrat: And so, I wonder if there's a way that you have ever put a little bit of thought into what it is about we women who choose ... you know. And for me, it's a very distinct and intentional choice-
Nigella Lawson: Yes, I think so.
Samin Nosrat: ... to make this distinction, and not go for "Chef."
Nigella Lawson: Yeah. So I think ... Obviously there is a distinction, and I think partly you could say it's about whether you cook primarily as a professional engagement. You can cook professionally, but you mightn't see yourself as a cook. So maybe, this is how I think of it, is I'm going to take that out of the equation, now, because we all cook in different ways. And they overlap or they're distinct, and that doesn't really matter.
Nigella Lawson: What I think is my notion of a chef comes from a slightly bullying macho male conflict-driven, ego-driven theater of war. And I think out of that conflict can come wonderful food. I understand that. And I think that I have friends who are male chefs who are not bullying, and who are not ego-driven. Everyone has to ... Ego plays a part in everything. You know, no one would get up int he morning without ego. So ego isn't ... so I'm not using ego as a swear word.
Nigella Lawson: But, nevertheless, I think sometimes my notion of a chef is ... What creates the food is a certain desire for conflict and a certain adrenaline-fueled mania. And I think that what I seek in my cooking is to diffuse the fact that oh there's plenty of adrenaline-fueled mania going on in my head. I cook to get rid of it. I don't channel it when I cook. I try to diffuse it. So I think for me, cooking is much more playful, and it's slightly about seeing ... It's finding a relationship with the food. And I think that's very interesting for women, because we often are forced into not terribly healthy relationships with food. So I think it's finding a relationship with food which means that you see what the food does when you cook, and yes you are imposing a certain amount of order. You're seeing how you take it that you can somehow have, as it were, how the food behaves and how you want it to be, to be slightly more in harmony. You're not trying to show the mastery over nature. I think, to some extent, I think cooking is a less confrontational pursuit than chef-ing, if that makes sense.
Samin Nosrat: That makes total sense. And I think it's ... I have this line that I always say, and I read it, and you basically said the same thing. But I always say that if I had time, or another lifetime, I would go back and do a dissertation on gender studies in the kitchen. I'm so just infuriated about the fact that ... 10,000 years ago humans started cooking. And for 10,000 years, women cooked. And then 200 years ago, it became professionalized, and there was money and glory involved. And, suddenly, it was the man's space.
Samin Nosrat: And, so, could you just read ... I printed out this amazing quote that you wrote in the Lenny letter this week, just here where it says "Lenny Letter" ...
Nigella Lawson: Okay, so this, yes, I will [inaudible 00:08:33] stuff.
Nigella Lawson: Of course, there's a reason why the home cook has always been seen as a lesser creature. Traditionally, chefs have been male and paid. Home cooking was ... I'm going to do it like the Simpsons ... women's work, unwaged, and taken for granted, sentimentally prized, but not essentially valued or respected. There was a time when denigrating cooking and insisting on how hopeless you were at it were ways of establishing distance from the role of domestic drudge. And yet, I have always felt that disparaging activity because it has been traditionally female, is itself anti-feminist.
Samin Nosrat: Yes!
Nigella Lawson: But I do think, you know, I do think there are intrinsic difficulties in the sense that the restaurant cooking does demand these terrible hours. Because in a way, you're always working when everyone you know isn't working. And I think there isn't really a way around that. And that's why I think that ... It's not my world, the restaurant world. I mean, I did wait at tables when I was at college.
Nigella Lawson: But what I do feel is that's why community is very important. So something that Cherry Bombe and creating this community of women in professional kitchens, I think, helps because there may not be an answer to, "How do you get around those hours?" There isn't. People are going to want to have dinner at night. And that means you're working at night. But, nevertheless, I think that it's perhaps now less isolating to be a woman in the business. I always feel quite odd, and I have to say, I do stress that I'm not a chef. And I think partly it's because I think there is a distinction and also because I think that I'm always slightly worried about being thought to be assuming too much for myself. Maybe this is actually quite a female-
Samin Nosrat: I have that too.
Nigella Lawson: ... thing, and I'm worried because in a way, when you write food books, you know, you can do demos. And I feel like, when I do demos, people must look and think, "What is going on? I can do better than that." And I'm sure they can. I mean, you don't need knife skills to make food taste good. And yet, I have to say, it can make me feel very nervous because I think of cooking as such a private activity, even though I do it for television, because I've had the same crew forever, and it's a very small crew. It still feels private to me.
Nigella Lawson: And so suddenly doing it in a public space, it can make me use my sense of what it is it feels like you're performing. And for me, cooking is not a performance.
Samin Nosrat: Oh, I love that. So I think at the heart of this conversation which has so many different arms and tentacles is something that I've been struggling with. I noticed I had a little Twitter spat with somebody the other day about the egg spoon. And I don't know if you're aware of the whole egg spoon thing. And it was a chef who focuses on molecular gastronomy who was really upset that I had compared the egg spoon, which is Alice Waters' famous egg spoon. You can read Kim Severson's amazing article about it. But it's this idea of cooking over a fire and that that has drawn a lot of negative attention.
Samin Nosrat: And so I said, "Well, you know, there's this to be said for the egg spoon. But is it really any less accessible than cooking an egg sous vide at home? Because both implements cost $300. And which one do we do on a daily basis? Yet somehow, the egg spoon is given this precious identity, and the sous vide is something aspirational because in general, that's assigned to males and that one's assigned to, in this case, is identified with a female.
Samin Nosrat: And so this molecular chef had taken umbrage with my description of it and started provoking me. And finally I realized ... I kept standing up for myself because he kept calling me ignorant. And then finally I was like, "Wait a minute, we're having a totally different argument. I'm talking about home cooking. And you're talking about the value of this thing in restaurants." And I think so much of the time, cooking is this huge thing that involves all of us. We all eat, and we all feel ownership of having opinions, and it's valid for all of us to have opinions. Yet, people love to make these sweeping generalizations about food or cooking, but restaurant cooking and home cooking are different.
Samin Nosrat: And also, many different kinds of restaurants exist.
Nigella Lawson: Indeed, and I know the chefs I know well and who cook for me in their homes, they cook differently. They understand the difference. But I also wanted to say, something came into my mind when you mentioned the sous vide. I don't know if anyone else feels like this, but I feel I don't enjoy any ... I've never cooked sous vide; I've never wanted to. But I don't enjoy any form of cooking that removes me from the food. Why do I want to put food in a bit of plastic and watch it cook? I mean I just don't understand.
Nigella Lawson: And I think that, in the same ways, I prefer using my stand mixer than a processor. I use a processor, but then it's got this casing on top and I can't interact with it. So in a funny way, I jealously guard my relationship with the food. I want to touch it. I want to smell it. I want to feel it. And that's all really important to me. So that's what came into mind with the sous vide.
Nigella Lawson: And I'm sure it's great. And I'm sure ... And I think, "Fantastic!" And let other people do it. I find that sometimes the texture is a bit spooky, but, nevertheless. But I can see that it works, and if you want to ... And I think maybe, just we're all different in life, and some people want to control what happens in cooking more. And I do want to control it, but only up a point. I quite like that random fact that really things change a bit. Your oven burns hotter one day than another, that if the weather's different, that your skillet's going to be colder or warmer when you start off. And all those things, which I know these variables, which I feel make it quite hard when explaining how long you cooking something for, nevertheless keep it alive a bit.
Samin Nosrat: Well, absolutely. And I think that's one thing I feel like I share with you very much is being drawn to the senses. And you're always using very sensual words. And I also, I'm always like, "You've gotta put your hands in it and feel it and smell it and touch it and taste it" and the adjectives. To me, if I can get anything across on the page, it's how should you feel, what should be going. And I think that that's something ... I've never thought about that, but that physical divorcing from the food is probably also a reason why-
Nigella Lawson: And I like an oven.
Samin Nosrat: ... Yeah.
Nigella Lawson: I'll just say. I'm not that ... You know, I do like an oven. I can open it, and I can see it. It's not that I don't like that. But it doesn't feel remote in the same way as the idea of sous vide or ...
Samin Nosrat: Absolutely. So, speaking of foods, so I ... Can you sum up ... So what appears to me is you've collected your winning home recipes, your winning ... But when I flip through this, I'm like ... My friend and I were looking at it, and he's like, "Wow, she's really just good at putting together all the dishes that you just wanna eat when you're drunk." And so it's really funny, because I actually put on Twitter a couple weeks ago. I said, "Does anyone have any questions for Nigella?" And they said, "What would she make for herself when she's drunk?" And I said, "I think she makes a lot of this stuff."
Samin Nosrat: I think one of my favorite things about you, and some of my friends' too, is that you have this ... It's these private moments. And cooking and eating, as much as it is about sharing around the table and taking care of people, it's also that emergency brownie at night, or the thing you eat when you send everyone away after the dinner party, and you're like cleaning up, and you're eating your own chicken because you didn't have it at the dinner table. So what is the role of private and public, you know, private eating?
Nigella Lawson: I think, and this is something that was really important to me when I started. I think it's women often feel they don't have permission to eat. They have permission to feed people, they're encouraged to feed other people, but we're not encouraged to feed ourselves. And when I grew up, people would say things like, "I shouldn't really be eating this." And I think that is a terrible thing. I mean my mother didn't eat. She cooked, but she didn't really eat. I think it's very important to learn the pleasure of eating. And I think it's actually the only way to have any sort of relationship with food, because as we all know, what you stop yourself from eating, you eat more of.
Nigella Lawson: When I started writing about food because I was journalist before who didn't write about food, a lot of my girlfriends kept saying, "But is it going to be safe?" I said, "I'm not working with nuclear waste here." But they really did think then I would just eat so much and it would be so difficult, and I just thought, "Yes, but that's your thinking all the time about what you mustn't eat. Therefore, it's making you crazy, and then you eat things you don't even get pleasure."
Nigella Lawson: My second book had a subtitle: "Baking and the art of comfort-cooking," because what's called "comfort eating" is often "discomfort eating." But comfort cooking is wonderful because it shores you up. You're feeding yourself. The act of saying, "I am worth taking care of and sustaining and keeping alive" is incredibly important. And I think that cooking is an act of generosity and kindness, and it's important to be generous and kind to oneself as well as to other people.
Nigella Lawson: And so I feel that's very important, and I like eating. I actually ... And sometimes, I just feel that, just like I like reading a book, I like to sit quietly and read a book, and I like to sit quietly and eat. I always feel awful, though, I eat so fast. It's over so quickly, sometimes I just think, that's it. I wish I could turn back the clock and just start at the beginning of the meal again because it was so good.
Nigella Lawson: But I feel that I suppose I never think, "Oh it's just me, therefore I won't bother." And it doesn't mean to say I always cook, because taking pleasure in food means taking pleasure in all food. Again, I think that just as we're encouraged to use food as a way of persecuting ourselves, we're often encouraged to use cooking as, "Oh, I'm such a great person." I always say to people, "It doesn't make you a great person. It's not a moral force for good. It's enormously enjoyable if you enjoy it." And often it's enjoyable if you think you don't, because you just have to get there.
Nigella Lawson: But I don't think it makes anyone better than anyone else. It's just pleasure. I mean I always think, it's just pleasure. And no life is such that I don't think any of us can afford to turn away from pleasure when it offers itself.
Samin Nosrat: I would agree with that, especially in this moment.
Nigella Lawson: Yeah.
Samin Nosrat: I mean, you are the patron saint of pleasure. I mean, it's this incredible through line through everything is enjoying the food. And I think there's a way where that can get twisted sometimes, you know. People's perception of it or projection of that onto the way that you are viewed or even the idea of what kind of food that it is that you're bringing. You know, but flipping through the book, there's so much what could be in any healthy eating book. So it's not that you're just-
Nigella Lawson: No, I know. People think certain things. But I love all food. I don't eat a bowl of kale to be good. I eat it because I love ... I love vegetables. Funnily enough, I once had to see someone, because I wasn't feeling very well, and she said to me, a nutritionist or doctor, that's it ... She said, "You're the first person I've ever told to eat fewer vegetables."
Samin Nosrat: ... That's amazing.
Nigella Lawson: I know. But you know, my first husband died of oral cancer. He was ill as I was writing my first book, and I so saw what it was like when food is taken away from someone, and they can't eat, and how important it is for our connections with one another. Not to realize how lucky it is to be able to eat, and you know also those of us in this room and in this ... All of us who can afford to eat, who have the blessing of food in our life, I think to take it lightly is a bad thing.
Nigella Lawson: One of the questions I'm always asked is, "What is your guilty pleasure?" Like, what has-
Samin Nosrat: Guilty about it? [crosstalk 00:21:53]
Nigella Lawson: ... What I always say to people is that I think the only thing you should feel guilty about is not taking pleasure. There are a lot of people who haven't got food, who haven't got all the things that we have to make our life feel materially and better that we're looked after. We can look after our kids or ourselves. And I think, for that reason, not to take pleasure in it, it seems such a distortion of any sensible value system.
Samin Nosrat: I would agree with that. That's amazing. I wonder about ... I was looking through this, and there's such an amazing combination of foods. And I just bookmarked a few, because my friend pointed out ... He said "The funny thing about this is so many of these recipes could be in someone else's cookbook." There's things that seem like they have the [inaudible 00:22:52] touch or they have the, I don't know, Samin touch, or all these things. But what's distinct about this is that the combination of them could only be yours. And I love that, and there's a really beautiful ... As part of your, I think, love of pleasure, it's ... One of the things that could absolutely be something that I eat, I don't know if I would have the courage to put it in a cookbook, is this: egg tortilla pie.
Nigella Lawson: Yes. I know, well that's the thing. It is-
Samin Nosrat: It's a very Samin midnight snack thing, where it's a flour tortilla with a cracked egg and ham and cheese. And my friend looked at me, and he's like, "Oh you'd totally make that and put another tortilla and hot sauce on top." And then it has another tortilla and hot sauce on top. It's just like the simplest things.
Nigella Lawson: ... I also think that, in a way, cooking ... Those of us who like recipes also know, and as anyone who cooks. Cooking isn't just about recipes. It's about ideas. So, sometimes, when ... I'm often told of having recipes that are too simple. And I feel like, "Well, it's an idea. You can read it as a recipe. I'm not saying you ... " You know, it's like sometimes I say, "It's hard to give a weight, enough brie to spread on bit of bread." Someone on Twitter once said to me, "Yeah, sure, like anyone ever makes themselves something to eat and then says, 'That was really delicious. A pity it was so simple to make.'" Sometimes it just looks like you're making a great claim that something's a recipe, like making that egg tortilla pie; it's not really a recipe. But because it's in a book of recipes, it seems to ... I don't take ... It's not there to be taken seriously. It's just there to be eaten.
Samin Nosrat: Thank you!
Samin Nosrat: The other thing I love is there's quite a lot of desserts in this book. And they're you're ... You know, to me, one of the things that is distinct about you as a person in the cooking world, is that I think of you equally as a sweet and a savory cook. Like often there are people who I look to for their baking recipes or their savory recipes. And I feel like that's a particularly British thing.
Samin Nosrat: Really, there is a way that the British really have a relationship to dessert that is different than we have here, I think, to sugar maybe as a whole. And on Tuesday, actually, I'm going to London, and one of my very favorite things to do is to go to Waitrose and walk up and down the baking aisle because there's just like ... If you guys ever go to England, you have to go to the grocery store because they have, in the baking aisles, there's like petit fours packets and chopped candy for your fruit bread. There's Pavlovas. I mean, people know what a pavlova is! And there's a way where ... There seems to be space of honor given at the table for dessert.
Nigella Lawson: I think it's very ... There are a few things I'd say about that which is our notion of dessert is very distinct from any French notion of patisserie. So it's very basic, often. But also, so I never baked, or didn't know that, and then when I wrote my first book, I thought, well, I will try some baking. I always thought there were cooks and there were bakers. They're very, very different.
Nigella Lawson: And then I thought, wait a minute. This is actually very easy. Bakers have this smug air like it's quite complicated. Like, "Okay, and you need this thing, the pastry hands. You need to be able to do this and do that." And actually, you don't. Yes you have to follow certain rules, but then after a while you're still thinking about flavor.
Nigella Lawson: And so that's why my second book, with the absolutely ironically titled, "How to be a Domestic Goddess." No one ever understands that, but still. I wrote about it because I came to baking so late, and so I always feel if I can do it, other people can because I didn't ... I thought I wasn't that kind of a person. And I think in life it's so wonderful to realize, sometimes, that actually you can be that kind of a person. And that makes a huge difference.
Nigella Lawson: Now the strange thing is, I don't have a particularly sweet tooth, but I absolutely adore baking. I mean, if you said to me, "What would you rather have, sweet or savory?" I would go for savory. I would not-
Samin Nosrat: I never would have guessed.
Nigella Lawson: ... But I would never rule out sweet things. But I like making them. And I try to make ... A lot of my sweet things aren't quite as sweet as say you might get in an American recipe.
Samin Nosrat: How do you think ... How do you view the two cultures' relationship to dessert differently?
Nigella Lawson: I feel that ... If I'm adapting an American recipe, if I'm cooking one, I know I will need to reduce the sugar an awful lot. But on the other hand, I think that it's ... I think there's a fantastic baking tradition. See I found ... You think the English bake, but I was inspired by the American vision, because I think there's a wonderful baking tradition in America. And it's perhaps more rural. So, that inspired me. And I think of my baking book a very much an American-inspired book.
Nigella Lawson: So I think perhaps in countries, I think there's more ... The rural versus urban, people have more in common with than where they're necessarily from, geographical differences. But what I was going to say about baking as well, it's just that I think that there's a magic about baking that plays into our desire for transformation, because it is much more alchemical. And that's a beautiful thing.
Samin Nosrat: I think though, you know, greater-than-the-sum-of-the-parts recipes are often the baking recipes, where it's like, "Flour and butter and sugar, how did it become this?"
Nigella Lawson: I think also, no one needs a cake. But that's what makes it something special and wonderful and a treat. And I think also, we need to get food on the table. And I love cooking. It can also be a chore sometimes. And in fact when I start, I sometimes think, "Ah, I just want to lie down. Okay, I'll get up and cook." And then I do, and I get up and cook, and then I feel a bit better.
Nigella Lawson: But baking is always something exciting and calming to do. And you don't need to, but you want to, in the same ways that you don't need to eat a cake, but you want to. So I think in that sense, it's so hugely enjoyable to do. And I love the feeling. I do enjoy baking, I have to say.
Samin Nosrat: You are so thoughtful. The way you speak, the way you put words together is so beautiful. And just listening, I could listen to you for so long. And I remember I felt that way from the very first way I read any of your works. And in "How to Eat," you have an essay, your first book, from 20 years ago ... You have an essay about mayonnaise that is so beautiful and literary. And there's just a way, even in the headnote for mayonnaise in this book, you made up amazing word saying like you love it so much, it makes you feel "condimental." You know? You play with words so beautifully. I mean, you had a whole career as a writer before you entered into the food world. And I feel like you really have this self-conception as a hedonist, in the best way.
Samin Nosrat: And yet, there's this thing that really sort of bugs me, because as I've been preparing and talking about you, and I was talking to one of my editors at the Times the other day, and she said, "You know, the thing that makes me ... I wish I could ask her, is... " Even when I was searching about you on the internet, so many of the descriptions are about the way you look. And people often think of your beauty and your body first, which is not a bad thing. It's amazing. But also, you are this ... There's so much more to you. And the self-conception and the message, if I didn't know what you looked like and I picked up your book, I would be like, "This woman, her food is so beautiful. The recipes work. The literature is so great. And I just wonder... " I was just watching an interview with you in Australia where the guy brought up these kinds of ... He was trying to push you into a corner about being sexy and stuff. And I just wonder, what do you feel about the thing that's projected onto you, versus who you are?
Nigella Lawson: Well, I feel that ... It always makes me feel really worried that I'm going to be a disappointment. That's what I think. Anyway-
Samin Nosrat: How?
Nigella Lawson: ... What I think is that television plays into that. You can't be on television where in a way that there's an idealized version of a person presented, and then complain. So I think that's difficult, but-
Samin Nosrat: You're freaking me out right now.
Nigella Lawson: ... But I do feel, and once you're on television, too, people project all sorts of things onto you, and you just have to sort of slightly disconnect from it, I think. But I do feel, and I do have a real relationship with my readers. And they understand me. And I have to say, I'm always being photographed around London, you know, with very, very ... You know, I haven't brushed my hair, and I'm not wearing makeup. And believe me, it's not a great sight. And I think the thing is, is that for me, although then I do feel a bit stressed, it's very important not to play into that.
Nigella Lawson: Now, of course, I'm sitting here. I've had my makeup done, and I've had my hair done, and I'm very happy about that, and thank you, Trish! But, I also feel that I need a certain amount of armor to come on a stage. I would feel slightly ... And I need that. And I think that perhaps, for me, that becomes a thing that makes me ... Because I'm actually quite ... I wouldn't say "reserved" is not the right word. I was always a very shy person. And I'm not really now, but I can be. And I think I can feel ... We all can feel quite vulnerable. You know?
Nigella Lawson: And so I think that is something I need. But then I know that by putting on that, by having all these things that slightly perfect one and make one look better than really real, you're playing into it. So I am .. As you could say, I don't have any answers there.
Samin Nosrat: Okay. Well you're also freaking me out, because I have been working on a show that's going to be released this year. And I spend a lot of time, I mean maybe not too much time, but definitely some time worrying about what it is that's going to be projected onto me. And so I was watching a food show that was recently released with a male host who rolled out of bed at 4:00 AM and went straight in the cab and immediately started filming. And I was like, "Interesting," you know, because I couldn't ... And I don't even, like I spent my life in kitchens. I'm not super versed in the makeups and the clothes and stuff.
Nigella Lawson: But are you going in for that? Are you doing makeup?
Samin Nosrat: I had to do it myself and stuff a little bit. But it's just-
Nigella Lawson: But in a way, you do need certain things. And I think it is quite difficult. I think as much as possible, you have to resist other peoples' accounts of you, or be pushed in a certain way. But it is difficult, because we're all humans, and we have ordinary human vanity, and we want to be made to look as good as we can and to hide certain ... You don't necessarily want to ... No one leaves the house ... Well I do, not on purpose. No one absolutely wants to say, "Here, dwell on the things I'm more uncomfortable with." I mean for me, the thing has always been on my weight and whether I'm thinner or fatter or this or that. And I always try and ignore that. But as a woman going on TV program, as not a thin woman, you get an enormous amount of aggressive behavior, as if somehow you've slightly offended all these perfect Adonises, these men, who are really upset you're not looking quite right. Or else, they're claiming that it's fine.
Nigella Lawson: So I sort of feel you ... In a way, I'm very glad I didn't do TV when I was young, because I think that would have been very, very disconcerting.
Samin Nosrat: Any other advice for me? Please help me, I'm looking-
Nigella Lawson: I think one of the ... I think it's much easier to be filmed, don't you, than to have your photograph taken because when you're filming, you're thinking and talking, so, therefore, you're not aware of yourself. But when you're having a photograph taken, you're an object much more. And I think that's harder. And I think ... I don't have any answers because I have a lot of questions myself about the whole thing, about being on TV and how you're presented.
Nigella Lawson: But in a way, I don't know how should a woman be? I mean we could be all sorts of different things, and we are. And so I think that's what television has to encompass.
Samin Nosrat: Yes, I mean that's why there just has to be more. Right? More of us on there. And so, yeah. To me, I wonder if, what is ... Has this sort of movement and this feminism really landed in your sphere, in London? Is this something that you are seeing changes being made, and are there more shows coming on with women?
Nigella Lawson: Well, we actually we do have quite a few shows. Doing the way ... There are certain things that ... I don't really belong in any worlds, you know, 'cause that's the thing, and I work in a ... I work at home. I don't know. I mean, it's always been important for me, and I certainly feel that I have never let anyone ... I don't let people tell me what to do. I have a thing of being slightly anxious to please, but I am my own boss. And I originate the material. I am not scripted. I originate material. I do a program when I want to, and I don't when I don't. And I'm in this lucky position which a lot of women aren't in, but then a lot of men aren't in, either.
Nigella Lawson: But I'm very interested in seeing a younger generation of women, and I know plenty of women in their 20s, and I'm very ... And I'm proud of how ... "Embattled" is the wrong word. They're not so much embattled, but they're going forth proudly, and they seem not to take any nonsense. My generation took a lot of rubbish. It's okay, we're here, and we've come out the other side, but I like it that they won't.
Samin Nosrat: I love that. I love that. Are there any ... This is my last question, is like which sort of cooks from this generation, and writers, contemporary writers, are the people who are inspiring you? I mean I know there's probably the Elizabeth Davids and the M.F.K. Fishers.
Nigella Lawson: Oh yeah, there's lots.
Samin Nosrat: Who's now who's just like filling you up with joy?
Nigella Lawson: Oh, well, you are.
Samin Nosrat: Oh, thanks!
Nigella Lawson: And you know that. You know that.
Nigella Lawson: You know, on my website, I have a little thing called "Cookbook Corner", because I think it's really important that we share one's enthusiasms, and I like that. So, I like Olia Hercules. Yasmin Kahn is here. She's great. And I feel that there are lots of writers I don't know about yet. And Diana Henry I like. And I feel there are a lot of writers I don't know about, and I'm always interested. And that's also why it's interesting for me to come to the States and see what's going on.
Nigella Lawson: And you know I think that, what I feel about cooking is that it is about ... It is really, I think, about sharing, and the thing about food is there's such a fantastic conversation. So there's always a fresh conversation to be had, and that-
Samin Nosrat: There really is. It's amazing. At the same time that there's sort of ... I would say there's nothing new in cooking, right? Everything's been done before. But also there's always something new.
Nigella Lawson: ... Yes and actually, it isn't newness that one seeks. It's connection. Isn't that the whole point about being alive? It's connection. And that's what I get when I read a new ... And the interesting thing about food is that you can feel the tremendous sense of connection with someone whose food is so very different, because it's how you approach it, how it's perceived. And, I'm sorry, I do carry on talking for too long.
Samin Nosrat: No, you could just talk forever, and we would just be here. I mean, thank you so much for coming. And, yeah.
Nigella Lawson: Thank you.
Samin Nosrat: Thank you.
Jess Zeidman: That's it for today's show. I wanted to say a special thank you to everyone who came, volunteered, and spoke at Jubilee this year. I could not have asked for a better first Jubilee. It was amazing to meet and enjoy such a wonderful day with the Bombesquad, and if you couldn't make it, don't worry. We'll be airing all the talks and conversations from Jubilee 2019 later this year on Radio Cherry Bombe.
Jess Zeidman: Thank you to our sponsor, Handsome Brook Farm, pasture-raised organic eggs, for supporting this season of radio Cherry Bombe. For more, visit HandsomeBrookFarm.com. Radio Cherry Bombe's regular hose is the one and only Kerry Diamond, who will be back next week. I promise! And our theme song is by the band Tralala. Thanks for listening, everybody! You're the bomb.
Clip From When Harry Met Sally: I'll have what she's having.
Kerry Diamond: Hi, my name's Kerry Diamond. I am the co-founder of Cherry Bombe, rescue cat mom, and coffee shop owner. You know who I think is the bomb? All the Jubilee volunteers. I just wanted to say thank you for all your time and your energy. We couldn't do Jubilee without you.
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