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Home: The Toast

Previously by Jasmine Guillory: If Lupita Nyong’o Were Your Girlfriend

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, all of your books will be food-stained.

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, whenever you said you were too full to eat any more, she would playfully poke your belly and say “But darling! You look like you’re losing weight! You need to keep your strength up!” She’d wink, you’ll sigh, and eat another lemon curd-laden scone.

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, you’d start saying aubergine and rocket, but you’d draw the line at calling soccer “football.”

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, you’d have to teach her how to cook Mexican food, because bless her heart, she’s English. But she’d dive into it enthusiastically, and soon every weekend would include a taco truck tour of Fruitvale for “research purposes.”

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, she’d keep trying to get you to like vegemite, and you’d keep trying to get her to like Kraft singles. It would never work, on either end, but those would be the only foods you’d ever disagree on.

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, whenever you had a hard day, she’d greet you at the door with a glass of red wine and a bowl of chocolate ganache.

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, you’d make brunch together on weekend mornings: strata that you prepped last night and popped in the oven, chilaquiles with avocado, bacon, sausage links, and golden buttered toast. And when people came over, you’d add stacks and stacks of pancakes and chocolate-stuffed French toast.

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, you would no longer be lactose-intolerant.

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, your bed would be the most comfortable bed in the world. It wouldn’t look like one of those beds from the catalog — your pillow cases might be mismatched, the duvet would always be rumpled, the bed skirt wouldn’t be aligned correctly so people could see some of the shoes and books accidentally kicked under the bed — but it would be the perfect balance between firm and pillowy, with sheets that were both crisp and nicely worn in. Your bed would be the right temperature all year round: in the summer, it would stay cool all the time, even with blankets on, and in the winter, sliding into your bed will be like sliding into a warm cocoon.

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, the two of you would get a puppy. She would be either a husky or a black lab, one of those puppies that is little and cute, but with enormous floppy ears and big paws that show how big she’ll grow up to be. Sometimes she would bark when Nigella was in the middle of filming, and you’d have to run in and pick her up to soothe her. She’d always eat the corners of cookbooks, and she wouldn’t be great at getting house-trained right away. But she’d jump on your lap whenever you sat down on the couch, she’d always eat anything that spilled in the kitchen so you wouldn’t have to clean the kitchen floor anymore, and when you and Nigella got home, she’d RUN across the house from wherever she was to greet you, her little tail waggling madly.
If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, she’d always bring you flowers, just because. Not perfect bouquets, or a dozen roses, or any of that stuff. Just colorful bunches of stems that remind her of you, tied together with twine, that you’d stick around the house in whatever vases they fit in. They would have a fragrance, but not enough to make the whole room smell like flowers — just enough so that when you stuck your nose down in them, you’d feel, just for a second, like you were in a garden.

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, she’d invite J.K. Rowling to one of her parties just so you could meet her. J.K. Rowling would tell you to call her “Jo” and would be super patient while signing all seven of your books, your Kindle, and also your forehead.

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, she’d be so excited that she finally had a reason to cook a real American Thanksgiving feast. Together you’d make three turkeys (one dry-brined, one spatchcoked, one deep-fried), five kinds of dressing, four different kinds of potatoes, and fourteen pies. Your grandmother would eat some of everything and say it was all delicious.

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, your sweat would smell like vanilla extract.

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, you’d spend rainy afternoons together reading mysteries on a chaise lounge, snacking on pork chops and fried halloumi.

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, you’d have an entire walk-in closet devoted to hats. Some of those enormous ones, sure, for church and garden parties, but also cute little fascinators for weddings, some with feathers for evening events, and a few with veils, because sometimes you just need to wear a hat with a veil, okay?

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, you would never have to wash another dish.

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, one day you’d say to her, “You know what I’m craving? Meatballs.” She’d open the fridge. “What kind? I have Italian, Swedish, lamb and feta, and just for kicks, turkey and spinach.”

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, she’d give you her secret for her lush, smooth, bouncy hair. (It would involve hollandaise sauce.)

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, she’d watch you and your mom cook together, but promise not to reveal any of your mother’s secret recipes. Your mom would say, “Okay, but maybe you could reveal ONE of them if you also named it after me.” And the first recipe in Nigella’s next cookbook would be “Louise’s Shrimp Toasts.”

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, every avocado you touch would be the perfect ripeness.

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, sometimes she’d roast an entire chicken just so you can eat all of the crispy chicken skin. (Don’t worry, she’d make chicken salad with the rest of the chicken; Nigella doesn’t waste food.)

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, her eyes would light up when you told her about your annual Christmas cookie exchange. She would host it at her house, serve roast beef and Yorkshire pudding to your whole group, and even help you fill your six dozen incredibly fussy but delicious sandwich cookies with the perfect kind of jam.

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, when she’s deep into writing, she’d apologize for having “no food” in the fridge. You’d open the fridge to find five kinds of cheese, homemade crackers, a pound of smoked salmon, an entire lasagna, three kinds of charcuterie, and a freshly frosted chocolate cake.

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, you’d finally be able to crimp pie crust edges the way they do in cookbooks.

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, you’d get up early on Saturday mornings (like, ten or so) and, after a leisurely brunch, you’d go together to yoga. After a lengthy post-yoga nap, you’d wake up but Nigella wouldn’t be in bed anymore. “That’s weird,” you’d think. “I wonder where she went?” A few minutes later, she’d climb back into bed with an enormous bowl of spaghetti carbonara and hand you a fork.

If Nigella Lawson were your girlfriend, you’d wander into the kitchen to find her whipping cream into firm peaks. You’d say “Ooh, what’s that for?” She’d raise an eyebrow, and after a long beat, say: “I was thinking…I’d make chocolate mousse?”

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Jasmine Guillory is a lawyer in Oakland, CA. She has very strong feelings about children's books, cheese-related snack foods, and Scandal.

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