Pippa Middleton—aunt of Britain's hottest fetus—has a new job, and it's making a lot of people in Britain upset. It was announced earlier this week that Middleton, who has written a poorly received party planning book, will soon be doling out "casual dining ideas and recipes" in a column for Waitrose Kitchen, the monthly magazine for the Waitrose chain of British supermarkets. Seems fairly inoffensive—but wait!
Middleton steps in at Waitrose as the beloved Delia Smith, who was axed as the face of the company in January, is on her way out. The Daily Mail puts it this way: "One has sold more than 21million cookery books and has the ability to spark a run on anything from cranberries to Normandy sunblush tomatoes. The other has written one tome which dishes out such sage advice as stopping cakes from going stale by putting them in ‘an airtight tin’ and how to toast marshmallows." (Middleton's the latter.)
As Alex Andreou, who notes that Smith did not have much culinary training when she started writing her column, wrote in The Guardian:
Yesterday, Twitter expressed indignation – as Twitter so predictably does – at the news that Waitrose Kitchen magazine had dumped Delia in favour of Pippa. The general sentiment seemed to be incredulousness that a woman so underqualified could dislodge an older, much more qualified woman, purely because of the former's celebrity status.
Still, the indignation has lingered:
Pippa Middleton instead of Delia Smith?! Waitrose are you joking— Claire Marshall (@claire_marshall) February 27, 2013
The Guardian's Andreou thinks perhaps the issue is not just about Delia: "Maybe the problem is that Middleton's celebrity is seen as both incidental and parasitic." Indeed, poor Pippa shot into the public eye when she accompanied her sister to her sister's royal wedding wearing a dress that showed off her, well, asset. At the outset of its release her book, Celebrate, did not do well, even in Britain, and was widely mocked for its hokey ideas.
But Bryony Gordon has written today in The Telegraph that Celebrate "has not been as unsuccessful as some would like you to think it has. For all the talk of it ending up in book-shop bargain bins, and 'only' selling 2,000 copies in its first week, Celebrate has so far shifted 40,412 copies, continuing to sell at a regular rate of about 500 a week." Gordon argues for Pippa love: "has there ever been a better match than Pippa and Waitrose – other, perhaps, than the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge?" Waitrose itself hasn't been free from criticism either. It has been called "the fancy supermarket chain where the godless middle-classes go to worship," and it has a comfy relationship with the royal family. In 2002 it was granted a "Royal Warrant" and Pippa's sister Kate has been known to shop there.
Clearly, though, the pairing has been widely criticized:
Pippa Middleton promoting Waitrose! Well there goes the neighbourhood.— Mark Thomas (@markthomasinfo) February 27, 2013
Oh Waitrose! As is the horse meat find wasn't bad enough! "Pippa Middleton is to become a columnist for Waitrose's monthly magazine."— Jonathan Haynes (@JonathanHaynes) February 25, 2013
If Pippa is the new Delia, God help us. Press release: "Pippa Middleton has been signed as a new columnist for Waitrose Kitchen magazine"— Harry Wallop (@hwallop) February 25, 2013
You've let yourself down here Waitrose. LYD. Pippa Middleton joins Waitrose to dish out cooking tips. The Guardian bit.ly/XhhB4M— MiddleClass Handbook (@MiddleClassHB) February 27, 2013
This has not been the best of times for the Middleton girls: Kate was seen as the subject of a vicious attack by author Hilary Mantel recently—though, closer inspection revealed more to Mantel's words than simple princess-bashing.