The Best Episode of Nigella Bites Will Teach You How to Entertain - Food TV

The Best Episode of Nigella Bites Will Teach You How to Entertain - Food TV
From The Kitchn - December 6, 2017

When I am cooking for a dinner party, at some point I tell myself, "Food tastes fear."

Things have a way of not working out when I am thinking about them too hard. It's as true of first drafts as well as souffls: Thinking has very little to do with doing, and "doing" goes poorly if it's not the focus. (Side note: I would never make a souffl for guests, unless I hauled them into the kitchen and we mixed it up together so we could all get silly and breathless about the results.)

If you are on the cusp of home entertaining and feeling uncomfortable, fidgety, and nervous, I have a solutiona visual bible for home entertaining, a compressed pep talk full of recipes.

It's called "Entertaining," and it's the second episode of Nigella Lawson's circa 2001 show Nigella Bites.

Nigella is not a domestic goddess. Do not be intimidated by her beauty, her ease. She's not superhuman, she's deeply human, and that's what makes her advice so grounded and wise.

Strike all this deity talk from your vocabulary when it comes to the kitchen, where we are all just people trying to get fed and trying to feed each other. There's a term I heard ages ago in reference to Laurie Colwin that applies: domestic sensualist. Nigella is a domestic sensualist, steeped in the messy pleasure of having people over to eat. You can be too.

Here's what I learned about watching the very best episode of Nigella Bites.

1. You are enough.

"When I invite friends over for supper, I do not want to impress them with my cooking. I want to give them, and myself, pleasure," Nigella says in the introduction. She's snuggled into a velvet-covered chair, waving her hands animatedly as she speaks. "[Home cooked food] should reflect our personalities, not our aspirations."

Perfection is boring. Perfection is the occasional dominion of restaurant chefs. Perfection makes people uneasy, and that's the opposite of the goal of entertaining. Welcoming people into your home is a way of saying lets be at ease, together. The vision in your head, the one you ca not attain, would not make anyone involved in your meal have a better time.

"When you invite people over to eat, you are not inviting them to some grand ambassadorial event," Nigella says. "It's just your kitchen, your friends."

Guests at your table want to eat a meal with you. You are all in it together. They do not need a dog and pony show. And if they do, I do not know, what's going on? Are you okay? Does this feel like a good idea catering to the whims of judgmental people? I mean, we are not immortal.

2. Embrace abundance.

3. Keep it so simple.

4. Do not forget your cook's treat.


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