Cooking up an Orgasm

IZZY PRITCHARD laments that flushed faces in the kitchen are being confused with sexual arousal, rather than overcooked carrots.

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Cookery programmes are the middle-aged, middle-class and perfectly respectable porn of our age.

And by the time it gets to Christmas, there’s even more reason to be afraid. The season to be jolly brings with it a platter of randy TV chefs cooking up festive feasts, all with rather threatening egos, and even more threatening sex drives. Ever since Eve pinched that Braeburn from the tree, food has been associated with lustful desires; with gluttony and sin. In the midst of an obesity crisis, food has become all the more naughty. Just ask Nigella.

None of us can help but feel a little aroused by Domestic Goddess of Aphrodite-like proportions as she pouts over that deliciously delectably moist cake batter or licks the deep, dark and dangerous melted chocolate from that spoon. The camera shot of her chopping onions takes more time lingering over her heaving bosom than in capturing her cooking technique (or her huge bottom).

Not a chicken fillet to be seen…

The beautiful Sophie Dahl is no better: a supermodel with a multitude of talents (mainly walking around scenic backdrops). The Delicious Miss Dahl floats from the organic delicatessen to the twee teahouse, wanders past the Cath Kidston shop, drifts around the duck pond and finally reaches the kitchen. With Delicious, we’re not even entitled to a recipe. Who needs a warm oven when your eyes can melt any man’s heart?

Everyone’s favourite old chesnut Delia is getting in on the action too this season, luring us all to our local Waitrose. Even she is considered to be a sex symbol in some circles – perhaps one of those perversions of the mother figure? She doesn’t do the coyness of Dahl, or make up sexy synonyms for toffee like Nigella, but I bet she’d whip out a good bacon sarnie and breakfast spread after a night of passion.

And the men are at it too. If we are searching for a self-proclaimed Almighty of the Kitchen, look no further than Mr. Gordon fucking Ramsay. At first glance, he’s not looking too hot: he managed to make the whole country grimace with the intro to ‘The F Word’ and visions of his wobbly topless self still haunt me. Surely enough to destroy any appetite? Not so. Women’s Republic review him as ‘the red hot devil of the cooking world.’ Apparently, ‘women love a man in control, a man with power. He’s the King of his kitchen and wouldn’t it be great to be his Queen’. I see, it’s a power thing. (Plus of course every woman dreams of sex in the kitchen. God forbid she would never have to leave the kitchen sink!)

Then there is Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, who casually flicks around his lusciously long and unhygienic locks whilst preparing that rosemary-and-garlic-infused pork joint. Lather me up, Hughie, I’m turned on. If pork’s not your thing, why not have a slice of Jamie – the perfect husband and family man. The hero who saved America from all its fast food habits. The man who fought the turkey twizzler and won. We all swoon at his devotion to his little darling daughters Poppy Honey, Daisy Boo and Petal Blossom Rainbow. If that’s not enough to inspire a night of passion, I don’t know what is.

The most prolific of the sexy chef species has to be Marco Pierre White, billed as the ‘brooding Byron’ of the kitchen. He tells of receiving women’s underwear in his mailbox, and has been known to have sex in his restaurant with female customers, whilst their husbands unwittingly polish off their scallops in pea puree. When his (third) ex-wife was asked about his status as a ‘Sex God’ she commented ‘he was a complete troglodyte when we met.’ Clearly something about being a Master of the Kitchen makes up for something that these men are lacking.

But don’t despair, over-sexed readers. There is some comfort at least in the fact that we are unlikely to see Anthony Worrell Thompson dressed up as a Sexy Santa this Christmas. And Lloyd Grossman is safely out of sight in the History of Art Department.  Heston Blumenthal must be compensating for an unsatisfied sex drive with power tools and chemistry experiments in his kitchen. Maybe the others will catch on soon and stop gyrating over their Agas.