This may sound slightly warped, but when I'm working out at the gym, I like to watch the Food Network. OK, so here's the reasoning: it distracts me, cheers me, inspires me and motivates me better than anything else while I slog through those long minutes on that elliptical machine. If other people are in the gym, they seem to like it too. Their eyes are glued to the screen in a way that I've never seen when the news or MTV is on. One woman commented that she didn't know whether it was torture or a good thing to watch the Food Network while she worked out. But like me, she admitted that she wanted to go home right now and make those spinach and fontina cheese bruschetta that Giada de Laurentiis was doing at 7:30 in the morning.
After the stunningly beautiful and enviably slender Giada comes Anne Burrell. Now, Anne is an unabashedly chunky girl with wild clothes and spiky short hair that is not a color of blond found in nature, but I've learned more from Anne Burrell than just about anyone who cooks. I love her style of cooking and her food. I love her energy and her enthusiasm. She's a great teacher and it's clear she loves her job. And she loves her food. And that's why Anne and I are soul sisters because I'm definitely a girl who loves her food. Before I was married, it didn't show how much I loved my food. Now? I have a few extra pounds to demonstrate my love. All of my love.
So it's encouraging to me as I push myself through my cardio workout to gaze up at the screen and see the next person in the morning line-up, the beautiful Nigella Lawson. Nigella is my mentor, my muse. She is gorgeous, seductive, curvaceous, a bit plumpish, and just downright sexy. She talks about food and how she prepares and presents it in a very sensual way. You can tell that she loves her ingredients, her pots and pans, her butcher, her fishmonger, her food processor, her oven, her guests, and most importantly, herself. When I watch her show, I'm not as likely to run home and look up her recipes on the web--her cooking style doesn't appeal to me as much as Anne, Giada, or even Tyler. But I love to watch her show just to gawk at her. The way she smiles and says, "Easy peasy," or "Let's just give this a blitz," in that seductive British accent. The way the cooking set is all soft and dimly lit. The silent understanding that you are invited to sit with her in her kitchen while she cooks for you. The way she so gracefully serves her guests. The way she confidently projects, "Hey, I'm a woman who loves to cook and loves to eat and loves to have people over for Sunday dinner. And I don't have to have a Bow Flex body to be beautiful, sexy and successful."
So Giada, I still adore you. You are so classy and easy on the eyes. And Anne, you're just plain fun and smart. Tyler, you're really cute and I really like your food. But Nigella, you're my idol. You got it goin' on, girl. Thanks for giving women like me the confidence that we can love our food and still be beautiful just the way we are.