Tim Walker: Oozing innocence from every pore

Tales From The Water Cooler: How could anybody think Nigella's cover picture was anything besides a simple celebration of warm, sweet, salty caramel?
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The Independent Online

If Nigella Lawson says she's not that kind of person, then I believe her. "I've never done double entendre in my life," she insisted this week. "I'm not that kind of person." The reason for this firm denial was the latest issue of Stylist magazine, which she guest-edited. Lawson, whom I shall henceforth refer to as Nigella, appears in close-up on its cover, face dripping with salted caramel ooze. "Nigella's Obsession," it says, "Stylist's guest editor on the joy of salted caramel."

That phrase, "the joy of ..." (more famously followed, in 1972, by the word "Sex") is surely accidental. For how could anybody think the picture was anything besides a simple, pure celebration of warm, sweet, salty caramel? Nigella seems about to smooth back her damp hair, as if she was just caught in a sudden shower of golden rain, or the lid popped off her blender while she was juicing mangoes. I was shocked, then, to discover a host of Nigella's TV clips on YouTube, edited by internet users to make her innocuous, food-based phrases sound like filth.

When Nigella mentions "golden globules", she is referring innocently to syrup. When she talks of a "dry rub", it is part of a pork recipe. And when she tells a teenage boy that he has "a very artistic package", she is simply pointing out that he's spilled his fajita on her tablecloth. Nigella is a cookery writer, not a purveyor of Penthouse-level smut. And if the dirty-minded were to read past the cover, then they might get as far as the magazine's recipes page, where they could indulge in a helping of Nigella's Salted Caramel Brandy Butter.

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