Friday, November 16, 2007

Behind that smile.

I am feeling sad about meeting Nigella, but I'm wondering if I should be feeling that way.

Last night I was feeling all a-flutter knowing that I will get to see Nigella again. The last time I saw her was when I went to her Heals signing in London two years ago. Nigella's site said that the event at Wholefoods would be a Q&A and a signing. I don't really much care for Wholefoods. But, it was Nigella, so I decided to just chill out and go. The bad feeling - the sadness - began as soon as we (me and Rafa) got to the place people pointed out the signing would take place. There was a long line, and I don't even think Nigella was there yet, and we wouldn't be able to get on line or even get a book signed unless we bought a Nigella Express there and then. It's not the first time that stores have had this policy, but in my experience, they weren't so strict about it as to not let you even get a book signed. And there was no Q&A. We stood on what felt like an extremely long line, just to gt a book signed. Just to get a few mere seconds with our idol. Or maybe Nigella isn't an idol to other people. But she is to me.

When I first joined over three years ago, I honestly thought I'd be there for a few weeks or months, and then move on. But I didn't. Somehow, I stuck around, through everything.The food, the warmth, the beautiful fairy cakes with the pink rose; they got into my blood and turned it feel-good blue. Even though the site is closed down, for who knows how long, I'll still be a Nigella fan... something about the message she gives, the way SHE sees life, and presents it in a glorious meal, will always attract me to the whole Nigella-ness. It was her sweet potato curry that my sister said was the best thing she had ever eaten. Or the chicken cacciatora that Rafa ate it in its entirety. Or the unbelievably proud moment when I made the most delicious chicken pot pie in the whole world. I made it. Nigella gave me the recipe.

So why am I feeling sad? I don't know. I feel like I don't have a pulse on things anymore. I feel like a lot of people are mad at Nigella and her people for the decisions they made, like Nigella owes them anything. I'm feeling sad because it all feels like it's pulling away somehow. Maybe Nigella does these rule-driven book signings because she doesn't care about doing this for much longer. Maybe the book will be her last hurrah, so why bother give a Q&A? Maybe she's sick of us fans. Maybe she wants to return to a normal life. Or maybe... they just didn't have the right venue for a Q&A. That her people didn't prepare in enough time. That I'm taking this stuff all too personally. She doesn't owe me anything either. I just felt like the love was lost. So much so that I let my shyness take over and didn't say more to Nigella other than a quick hello. So that's why I'm sad, I think. I expected a really wonderful experience, like the previous two times I met her, but it wasn't like that all. She was like any other chef in any city in any country, doing a book signing. Yes, that's why I'm most sad.


Kelly-Jane said...

I'm sorry to hear that you feel sad =( Did Nigella know you from your name? I hope she did, as I have always thought of you as a big name on

I've never managed to go to a signing yet, if she'd come to Scotland I would have tried hard, but she didn't.

Perhaps the q & a didn't happed due to the volume of people waiting for the signing? It's a lovely picture of you both anyhow =)

Sarah Nicole said...

Ilana you look sooo tiny next to Nigella LOL how cute! Anyway, maybe it was because the poor woman had just appeared on the Today Show so either there was no time or she was plain tiered. And not to mention the fact that a few days ago she was on the Rachael Ray Show. My goodness, she traveled so much of the United States in one go that she must have gotten to point where she just wanted to end it all.

She appears to be the same ol' Nigella when she is on interviews and such. I hope she really hasn't changed. All I know is that I want the forum back!


Lady M said...

Hey Sarah. Nigella is sitting on a stool! :) But, I am short compared to her, I admit.

All your mentions of Nigella being in the media is exactly what I mean. I didn't know she would be on the Today Show again, and I didn't know anything about Rachael Ray. Her News page on her website is not updated to show correct dates and times and appearances, so it would be just happenstance that I would find her on the TV.

I guess it's stupid to get upset about that... but I do.

KJ, Nigella didn't know me by name. I was too strapped of confidence to even mention to her. The Q&A was something that the News site said... all of the Wholefoods posters said booksigning only, so... I guess it is something they decided long before the signing. Who knows?


Sarah Nicole said...

LOL Ilana I'm barely 5'1 and I too have the boot calve problem thing by the way, so don't feel bad. :)

Ms O said...

Sorry you're sad. I often check the news section on and notice it's seriously lacking in
n e w s. I didn't know N. was going to be on the RR show. :(

Here's the link to the segment on RR. Hope it helps some.

Did you catch the Borders Books video with Nigella? It's really good.


Anna's kitchen table said...

I'm sorry you're feeling down about all this.
Maybe if you'd have gone in a group you would have felt differently? I hope so.
You're right, a lot has changed, I do hope the forum returns, but the more time it's away the less chance there is I feel.
The photo is lovely! Maybe there was no time for the Q&A? That would have been fun though!

Anonymous said...

Ilana - I can understand how you feel. I think trying to see her in NYC is part of the problem. I knew she was coming to the US and swore to myself that no matter where she stopped, I would go there to see her. Given a choice of NYC or Dallas ($500 plane ticket vs. a 4-hour drive) I chose to go to big D. The local bookselling folks were cool about bringing other books to sign. It was early in her trip and she was relaxed and gracious, and since there was a time during the "signing" when there was no line, I had a chance to just walk up and chat with her about the Forum. She seemed sincerely sad that they had to shut down the Forum (which I dearly miss too!) but her assistant mentioned that other ways of "controlling" it were being discussed, but no decision had been made.

I knew if I went to NYC to see her, I would stand in a long line, deal with "Only the NEW book will be signed" nonsense and get a brief moment of her time. Im sure she remembers this blonde woman who thanked her more than once for coming all the way to Texas! ChefLamb.

Georgina Ingham | CulinaryTravels said...

I'm sorry to hear you feel sad Ilana :(

I've never been to a book signing, somehow I imagined Nigella would be really chatty and remember many of us regular forum members. LOL I don't know why as there are so many of us and it's not like we're really a regular part of her life.

It bugs me that they shut the forum in the way they did but as you rightly point out, it's not like they owe us anything.

Great photo btw.

George xoxox

Sandy said...

You know, I had a certain, inexplicable 'blah' kind of feeling after I went to the signing a couple weeks ago in Toronto. I think I understand completely.