Nigella Lawson is just spectacular.
The food writer and telly presenter began her career as a freelance journalist and restaurant critic. She wrote for Vogue and The Spectator, was married to celebrated fellow journalist John Diamond, and published groundbreaking bestseller, How To Eat: The Pleasures And Principles Of Good Food in 1998.
It was a book of recipes and dinner ideas that sent her stratospheric, and now, if you don’t have a Nigella cookbook on your shelf – or don’t make her cocktail sausages on special occasions – can you even claim to have really lived through the Noughties and 2010s?
Today, it is Nigella’s 60th birthday, and in honour of her total brilliance, these are some of the key things she’s taught us…
1. It is your right to nip back downstairs to the fridge in a silky dressing gown, after you’ve already gone to bed, and snaffle some leftovers/help yourself to another slice of chocolate cake.
2. Marmite on toast is even better if you pre-blend a spoonful of it into a spoonful of butter, then spread it on thickly.
3. A ready-made wrap, loaded with hummus and salt and vinegar-drizzled chips bought from the chippy down the road, not only constitutes a very enviable dinner, but also a bona fide recipe.
4. It’s OK to not be able to chop an onion with the speed of a professional chef (Nigella can’t, in fact, she’s all for haphazardly using a mezzaluna instead). You can still cook, it doesn’t matter how uncoordinated you are.
5. Got people coming over and haven’t made the house look pretty? Just chuck a load of lemons in a bowl and ta-dah – they’ll be wowed.
6. No matter how turbulent your personal life, a good dinner with friends, or a zhuzhed up plate of avocado on toast, will help.
7. Whether hosting for 12 or cooking for one, making a meal shouldn’t be stressful. Nigella is all about whipping up straightforward food that doesn’t leaving you rushing around like a mad thing. If it can be eaten from a bowl, all the better.
8. Have Marsala wine on hand at all times – she rarely drinks, but Nigella always has a bottle within reach in the kitchen.
9. Portion sizes should always be generous. It’s far lovelier to have too much food left on the table, than for people to go home even a little hungry. Leftovers are a joy – and a “natural greediness” is only a good thing.