Nigella Lawson talks her sofa food habits, Game of Thrones and TV as a spectator sport
Ahead of her new BBC series Nigella: at My Table, the chef chats about her viewing habits
We’ve seen you in the kitchen but what can you see from your sofa?
As I sit, or more characteristically, lie on my sofa, I survey my whole domain. Depending which side of the sofa I’m occupying, I have my kitchen to the left, with all my pots and pans hanging over the island; in front of me, a pair of wall-to-ceiling bookshelves; and in between them, an inset oblong space crammed with logs. I have a bit of a thing about piles of logs. I find it quite meditative just lying on my sofa gazing at them. Just to the right, perpendicular to the sofa, is a pair of zinc tables, one for eating on and the other for working on. But when I have more than 12 people over to eat, I push them together.
At night, the tables are peppered with tealights, and the wall behind them is atwinkle with fairy lights, as is the small garden beyond. It’s one of the great consolations of winter. It may be depressing when it starts getting dark in the afternoon, but once all my teeny-tiny fairy lights are on and glimmering softly, I’m happy.
Do you have a big, cosy sofa?
It is pretty huge. Or it is now. It started life as a very plain, big, low-backed Ikea sofa but I found an upholsterer who added another side to it, so it now faces two ways, and I lie and read and chat on one side, and we watch TV from the other. I sometimes worry that it dominates the room too much, but comfort is king – or rather queen – in my house.
What TV show do you get excited about?
I tried Game of Thrones three times before I could make it stick, and then I threw myself at it with the zeal of the convert. I was initially put off by the fantasy element, and even now I find that the least compelling part, however integral it is to the drama. So, to the true fan, I am an unworthy viewer.
I never missed an episode of The Good Wife when it was on, and I’m completely sold on its spin-off, The Good Fight. Madam Secretary is also on my watchlist. It was watching an episode of that that led me to get a waffle iron and write the waffle recipe that ended up in At My Table.
We imagine you eat delicious things while watching TV…
I’m not really a grazer. I like proper meals. But for all that, my new book is called At My Table. I have absolutely nothing against a sofa supper, but I can’t do food that needs a knife and fork. If it can be eaten out of a bowl, I’m very happy to eat while I watch. But I’m more likely to eat first, at the table, and then watch. This isn’t because I disapprove of eating in front of the TV, but because I so enjoy eating, I like to be able to be totally absorbed in it, and paying attention to anything other than conversation can take away some of the pleasure. Still, there are evenings when I like nothing better than to be spooning soup or noodles hypnotically into my mouth while watching TV.
Who do you sit on the sofa and watch telly with?
I watch mostly with my children [Cosima and Bruno] and for us, watching TV is a full-on spectator sport. We like to talk throughout. For me, that’s part of the pleasure: all the running commentaries, the debate about the plots, the critiquing and general group engagement.
If there’s nothing on TV, what do you do?
I potter about the kitchen and lounge about the sofa, reading and drinking tea.
Nigella: at My Table is on BBC2 at 8:30pm on Monday