Not Quite Nigella

First the disclaimer: I am lucky enough to know Lorraine Elliott, the author of this book. I have attended events and function at which she was also a guest, but long before that I was a fan of her blog, Not Quite Nigella. I liked its cheeky and awesomely catchy name, of course, but more than that I was amazed at her diligence in posting daily irresistible recipes, restaurant reviews and (later) accounts of her travels, often taken with her husband, Mr NQN. I guess more than anything, I admired her unstoppable industrious work-ethic.

Of Singaporean-Chinese heritage, Lorraine’s ethnic boundaries stretched when she met her beloved, almost food-blind Mr NQN, from a Finnish background with ‘alternative’ overtones. Her life continued to change as she left her high-powered media strategist career (little realising it would provide invaluable skills for her next role) and with some trepidation began food-blogging fulltime.

It was no surprise to see that over time, the food-obsessed ‘Nigella’s’ honest and approachable style, spiced with humour, won her a wide following of hundreds of thousands of readers worldwide, many of whom each day take the time to comment on her posts.  

So it was a no-brainer, with such an assured readership, that a book explaining what she calls ‘my path to happiness through baking and blogging’ was commissioned and published by Penguin Books. These behind-the blog peeps of her daily life, peppered with family anecdotes, make for entertaining reading,; while the sheer grind of keeping it all happening, is inspiring, if not a little exhausting.

Lorraine, the book author, is just as warm and down-to-earth and self-deprecating as she is online. The very fact that her blog rose to the top out of the many thousands of food blogs in the world says much. In fact NQN is perhaps a little like an Australian Julia and Julia – the passionate cook who found a career born from her dream.

Of course Lorraine can’t help herself, and there are a few recipes in this book (even though it is decidedly not a cookbook). More than anything, though, it shows what has been her recipe for success. Passion, talent - and very hard work.

If you like fairy tale endings, if you like food, and especially if you ‘know’ Lorraine via her blog, you will love this book. 

Not Quite Nigella - my path to happiness through baking & blogging, by Lorraine Elliott, published by Penguin Books, 2013, paperback rrp A$29.99. ISBN 978 0670 075034.

 

- reviewed by Sally Hammond

 

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