Join Date: July 2005
Re: Nigella Lawson: ''The Joys of Food''
This may be a minor point, but I was delighted to learn that Nigella Lawson is a favourite of the Vatican, and that she, in turn, is gratified by the honour.
This is an endorsement par excellence:
NIGELLA LAWSON BOASTS FANS IN VATICAN
Monday September 6,2010
SHE'S renowned for turning grown men into dribbling fools with her way with a cupcake but is the Pope a fan of domestic goddess Nigella Lawson?
For the voluptuous cook says she is especially “proud” that her television shows are now being shown on Vatican TV, the specialist channel of the Holy See in Rome, which largely features religious-themed programmes.
I'm not really that surprised, though. Catholic art has always expressed a lush, opulent aesthetic, especially in the Counter-Reformation, to contrast itself with Protestant austerity. And the current pope is a great traditionalist, as the following article indicates, so it's all of a piece.
The love of "beauty" and "tradition" go hand in hand:
Pope's master of liturgy helps Benedict restore traditions
Saturday, December 25, 2010
A tall, reed-thin cleric with a receding hairline and wire-framed glasses, Guido Marini, 45, perched behind the pope's left shoulder, bowed with him at the altar and adjusted the pontiff's lush robes. As Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations, he shadows the pope's every move and makes sure that every candle, Gregorian chant and gilded vestment is exactly as he, the pope and God intended it to be.
"The criterion is that it is beautiful," Marini said.
Some of the key trappings of the Mass - the vestments and vernacular, the "smells and bells" - have taken on a more ancient air since Benedict succeeded John Paul II, and since Marini succeeded Piero Marini.
Since the Marini II era began in October 2007, the papal Masses clearly have a stronger traditional element.
For Marini, Gregorian chants must be the music of the church because they best interpret the liturgy. And in September, ahead of the pope's visit to Britain, Marini told the Scottish paper the Herald that the pope would celebrate all the Prefaces and Canons of his Masses in Latin.
"Now there is a different style, one that is more sober and more attentive to the essential things," said Guido Marini, who, like his predecessor, hails from northern Italy but who, like the pope, expresses admiration for the old Latin Mass.
Perhaps the most apparent and luxurious sign of the new era is the pope's vestments. Benedict has worn an ancient form of the pallium, or cloak, preferred by first-millennium pontiffs. He also brought back the ermine-trimmed red satin mozzetta, a short cape.
"The pope likes...antique things," explained Marini, who compared the pope's attire to someone in a family who likes..."the treasures of the family."
"It's hard work," Marini said. "But it's beautiful."
Nigella Lawson's sensual, indulgent philosophy about food fits in perfectly with a Baroque sensibility. It's another expression, I think, of today's society rejecting minimalism and the "aesthetics of guilt" and embracing a more lush sensibility, the kind that dominated the West in art and religion and culture prior to the 20th century.