Cook Eat Repeat
Written by: Nigella Lawson
Penguin Random House
Reviewed by: Jo Lucre
I’m not quite sure where Cook, Eat, Repeat stops being a cookbook and starts being a novel; it’s like a melting pot of literary and culinary offerings.
A little bit of Lawson’s heart and soul seems to accompany her recipes. Inside you will find ingredients, recipes, and stories with her memories entwined. There’s the wistful fondness she feels for her spiced bulgur wheat with roast vegetables, as it was the last meal she cooked for friends before lockdown. There’s the soupy rice with celeriac and chestnuts, which Lawson says is a favourite in her home and I know why. It was rich, warm, and nutty. Satisfying pre-winter fare.
Cook, Eat, Repeat is not a quit sugar, ditch the cheese, and lose the dessert type cookbook. Instead there’s a whole chapter dedicated to pleasures and in classic Nigella fashion a whole narrative on the joy she celebrates in food. It’s just pleasures, no guilty involved. Food like pasta with clams and bottarga is to be enjoyed. There’s something here for all palates. There’s the black pudding meatballs, which for all intents and purposes look delicious but not enough to ever consume. For the brave and unsqueamish, they may just be a culinary delight. Oxtail bourguignon makes an appearance too, though again not on my table.
There’s pairings like pappardelle with cavolo nero and ‘Nduja. Lawson eloquently describes it as a “gorgeous and wintry, rib-sticker of a dish just right to bolster and brighten, where skies are dark and the air is chill”. There’s a little bit of poetry here and even a vegan lemon polenta cake that will not disappoint.
Cook, Eat, Repeat is exactly what you would expect from an author invested in food and the joy that comes with it. It seems on occasion Lawson’s voice leaps from the page as she shares her thoughts, inspirations, and kitchen temptations – like eating flapjacks before they are cold, unabashedly without a care for them falling apart.