I Love Nigella Lawson and her book How to Eat – which has been launched as an audiobook, read by Nigella – this book could have been the encouragement I needed years ago to give cooking a go.
Maybe its her take on being a Domestic Godess that I liked and understood
As for her self-appointed status as a domestic goddess, Ms. Lawson insists that the title was taken the wrong way. “It was supposed to be ironic,” she said. “It’s bad enough to be called a domestic goddess, but to be seen as a self-styled domestic goddess is just …” she shook her head in horror, “ … the worst.”
“I’m in no position to complain,” she quickly added. But she finds herself not wanting to use the book’s full title, she admitted, saying she usually refers to it by its initials instead. “It does make me cringe a bit.”
Newspaper columnists at the time accused Ms. Lawson of wanting to send women back to the kitchen. While the insinuation irks her, she understands its roots. “If I were still writing my column and I saw that title, I’d have accused me of the exact same thing,” she said. “But I also think it’s profoundly anti-feminist to disparage something because it has traditionally been in the female arena.”
There is no denying that Ms. Lawson’s brand has been built specifically with her beauty as a selling point. She travels without an assistant, but with a makeup artist. “It takes a braver and more secure person than I am to say, ‘Don’t put makeup on me and don’t brush my hair.’ I admire people who are like that,” she said. “For me, it’s armor.”
Ms. Lawson’s success on television has had its downsides, according to people who know her well, and the various programs she has done — which include her own cooking shows, like “Nigella’s Kitchen,” and competition shows, like “The Taste” with Anthony Bourdain — don’t capture her at her fullest.
“It doesn’t allow you to see her intellect at all, really,” Ms. Henry said. “It just shows a good home cook and a beautiful woman. That is really the least of what she is.”
It did, however, provide a powerful vehicle for her message. “Like Jamie Oliver, she has simply encouraged people to cook,” Ms. Henry said. “She links good cooking with glamour.”
And, Ms. Henry added, many women embraced her.
“She definitely did make it acceptable — desirable even — for women to bake pies and cupcakes and waft around the kitchen,” Ms. Henry said. “I think for a lot of women that was very freeing. We were allowed to luxuriate in food, allowed to be greedy, allowed to be happy in the home.”
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