Jane de Graaff,Â I Ate It All
Let it be noted- I officially give up the modern fight! If you want me I have retreated to the kitchen in a chintz apron, pastel blouse and a warm waft of freshly baking bread.
Such is the effect of the whimsical new cooking show from the delicate looking Sophie Dahl.
There\’s something to be said for the honesty that Miss Dahl opens her new series The Delicious Miss Dahl with- “In my time I have been as round as a Rubens\’ and a little slip-shadow of a creature”.
It\’s a statement that is both painfully honest and hugely poetic- a beautiful comment on her widely publicised battle with weight over the years. And it\’s an open beginning to what soon becomes a very personal expression of Miss Dahl and her relationship to food.
Her frankness, simplicity and easy presentation style breed an intimacy with the viewer that is hard to match, making it effortless to fall in love with the romantic surrounds and dreamy delights that are Miss Dahl\’s kitchen.
Make no mistake; this is a ladies kitchen- full of blowsy bunches of flowers, memories of childhood and dreams of yesteryear. And it\’s a kitchen I never want to leave.
Episode one walked us through the romance of feeding a suitor- a beautiful way of expressing love, both old and new. But there\’s plenty of other romance in food and we\’re ready for Miss Dahl to share it.
Filled with delightful cartoons and tidbits from around Miss Dahl\’s London, this is a show filled with more than just recipes. Her stories are peppered not just with instructions on making a better Eaton Mess, but with literary quotes and girly descriptions of flavour and fragrance.
It\’s an evocative series, reminding us that romance, magic and poetry are nowhere, if not in the kitchen.
But it\’s not all fluff and frills. Miss Dahl knows her food and shares her knowledge in delicious little parcels that are entertaining and easy to digest.
The setting is of course divine; gardens filled with bunting, generous bowls and pre-loved linen. But it\’s easy to see from her deft touch on the BBQ, or her playful fingering of whipped egg white, that Miss Dahl knows what she\’s doing- all whilst looking so pretty, pale and willowy in the sunlight.
Quick Questions with Sophie:
If you could cook one dish to sum you up as a person, what would it be and why?
“Something straightforward but with a sense of humour. I don\’t know â€“ help â€“ a raspberry fool?”
Have your experiences as a writer and a model influenced your cooking? Is so, how?
“I stopped modelling four years ago, which was somewhat of a relief, but the travelling I did then had a big impact on my cooking and the sort of food I was exposed to. I love that cooking has a narrative like writing. I think they are quite closely connected, in that they are both intuitive and full of humour and magic.”
Who has been your greatest cooking influence?
“I\’m a big fan of people who can write about food with the same alacrity that they cook it, Ambrose Heath from the 1940\’s, Simon Hopkinson, Nigel Slater, Nigella Lawson.”
What\’s your naughtiest cooking secret?
“I did once pretend that I made a cake that I very much did not make. It happened all by accident, someone had sent me a cake, and challenged me to a baking competition, and it was in my kitchen. I served it to some kids I teach an English class to and their parents who I did not know very well, said to them “Look Sophie\’s gone to all the trouble of making you this lovely cake.” At which I nodded and said “Uh huh,” somewhat vaguely. The irony is, it was a faaaaar better cake then I ever would have made, so the chick who sent it would have won the baking competition hands down.”
This is not the show to hone restaurant quality technique- if you want that, then back to the MasterChef kitchen with you!
No, this is the show to put love, romance and girlish glee back into food, cooking and life.
And yes, it is& delicious.
The Delicious Miss Dahl is on the Lifestyle Food Channel, every Monday at 7.30pm.