Blogging is, it seems, a sure fire way of ensuring I let pasta boil over and over cook - this is especially embarrassing when Nigella is on in the background (paying attention and not overcooking her pasta on Nigellissima) and I'm thinking about Nigel Slater's 'Kitchen Diaries'. Happily it didn't burn this time but it's still not my proudest moment.
'Nigellissima' is the first Nigella series that I made no effort to watch and the first of her books I didn't buy, 'Kitchen Diaries II' will almost certainly be the last of Slater's books I buy. 'Nigellissima' didn't appeal on a really fundamental level (I don't think I was alone on this, I certainly remember a number of fairly lacklustre reviews) I will always have a soft spot for her but the magic has gone for me. I feel very much the same about Nigel Slater - I used to love his books for the un fussy recipes with their emphasis on good quality seasonal ingredients presented in a no nonsense fashion.
It's hard to pin down how but I feel like much of that has gone, some of the change might be my own evolving tastes and prejudices. The pictures in 'Kitchen Diaries' for example are beautiful but I don't necessarily want a pretty cook book and purely decorative images of leaves and berries are a bit of a trigger for me suggestive of style over substance. It turns out that I don't much care for Nigel Slater's authorial voice either (prejudice again, born of envy, lots of envy) so I can't help feel that all the bits of the book that are him are so much space taken away from recipes. I know that's not altogether rational because I knew I was buying a book in a diary format and it's reasonable to suppose that you do that because you want to know more about the life, thoughts, and general opinions of the writer, and because a little bit about porridge has changed my breakfast for the better, but still... An entry about a new kitchen table (made to order from bog oak) is a perfect example of what got under my skin - it sets his kitchen to far apart from mine which is probably why this book has yet to make it into my kitchen despite my having bought it in January.
It's sat by my bed for a bit whilst I dipped in and out of it (getting increasingly chippy as I did so) and has spent a long time gathering dust on a sitting room shelf (I've been meaning to write about it all year) but it's never made it into the kitchen. This has to change, I'll find it a space tonight because I know there's good stuff in there but boy, is it ever disconcerting to realise you've fallen out of love with a previously admired writer.