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Why Is Nigella 'Simply' Not Good Enough?

25/11/2015 17:36 GMT | Updated 25/11/2016 10:12 GMT

Poor Nigella can't catch a break. As if it's not tough enough to have photographs of your husband with his hands around your neck strewn across the web, now, in an attempt to rebuild her life with a new show and book, the beloved TV chef has been bombarded with vitriol from fans and food critics.

Some, were confused by obscure ingredients:

While others found the recipes far too simple:

I'm not saying that avocado on toast is her most inventive recipe, she might as well have created a recipe for a boiled egg, but everyone seems to be forgetting that the show is called Simply Nigella - clearly the recipes are intended to be basic.

Like many chefs before her, Nigella is targeting everyday eating in which simplicity is surely the point? It's in the title people!

We are always complaining about the effort required to cook, making excuses like 'I don't have enough time' or 'I'm not experienced enough to tackle complicated recipes'. Jamie Oliver addressed this with 15 Minute Meals, Gordon Ramsay did it with Ultimate Home Cooking... Nigella jumps on the bandwagon and people go bonkers.

So why are people kicking up such a fuss?

Of course, Nigella is famed for her creamy, rich and innuendo-prompting indulgent bakes, so it's understandable why super fans may feel slightly betrayed by the sudden shift from sugar to medjool dates.

But lets look at the facts: the bestsellers list on Amazon has been topped by healthy foodies all year with vegan blogger Deliciously Ella leading the way and coconut oil-loving foodies like the Hemsley sisters, Joe Wicks and Madeleine Shaw following closely behind.

Thanks to social media and an increasing curiosity in fitness and nutrition, the food industry is experiencing a bigger demand for healthy recipes than ever before.

Juice bars are popping up on every corner, coffee shops serve matcha lattes - you can even buy cauliflower cous cous in Tesco! Let's face it; in 2015, healthy is hip.

In an industry that is clearly progressing into a healthier sphere, Nigella is merely 'keeping up with the Joneses'. And she isn't the first famous chef to integrate trendy free from recipes into her repertoire: Wolfgang Puck Makes it Healthy in his latest book, Gordon Ramsay's latest recipes are predominantly vegetarian and Jamie Oliver even has a whole section on his website dedicated to veganism.

Competing in a field that is arguably dominated by men, one can't help but wonder whether the outrage geared towards Nigella's new direction has something to do with the fact that she is a woman.

Pre-Simply Nigella, the Nigella brand was all about indulgence and comfort food and for some, this would have been strengthened by Nigella's inherently feminine and maternal nature, the very demeanour that made her identifiable for so many women.

Perhaps it is harder for a female chef to move away from this, to change her image in the public eye by acknowledging the shift in food trends that her male competitors seem to have done with ease.

In spite of this, the backlash she has faced is far from fair. Let's not forget that Nigella hasn't had the easiest of times lately. Is it really that surprising that, after a public showdown with her husband and a messy divorce, the woman has put the Ben and Jerry's away, lost a few kilos and started eating a little healthier? Fans should be supporting her rather than trolling her. Besides, replacing our buttery, sugary, heart attack inducing chocolate cake for a vegan alternative once in a while won't do us any harm.

Anyway, after airing the contestable avocado toast recipe, the Mail reported that Waitrose experienced a 30% increase in avocado sales. So while Twitter trolls may be having the last hashtag, perhaps Nigella is having the last laugh.