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Articles / Food with Mark Bittman: Nigella Lawson

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Food with Mark Bittman: Nigella Lawson

Published March 22, 2023

Food and comfort, ‘guilty pleasures’ and misogyny, and why it’s good for people to see bad knife skills

Kate is on vacation this week, and we’re trying to let her take an actual vacation, so we thought it’d be fun to revisit our very first episode — almost two years ago now — of Food with Mark Bittman, which kicked the show off in a pretty great way, considering the universal appeal of our guest, Nigella Lawson.

It seems there’s no one who doesn’t know who Nigella is — I wonder if anyone doesn’t? — that’s not exactly a rhetorical question. But there isn’t even an “About” page about her on her website. I love that.

I’ve known Nigella for 20 years, maybe longer; we were co-columnists at the Times for a bit. There are few people who talk more articulately about home cooking than her. When I originally interviewed her for this episode, she had a new book out called Cook, Eat, Repeat; we talked about that, of course, and we talked about what we ate like during early Covid (we were just barely a year in at that point), and we talked about the terms “guilty pleasures” and “celebrity chef,” both of which are pretty interesting.

“I’m not even a cook. I’m a food writer, essentially. I cook at home … I’ve been cooking for most of my life, certainly since I was a fairly small child. So I’m experienced as a cook but I don’t … anyone who sees me on television knows I don’t have any knife skills. And there are things I don’t know. I just cook ’cause I cook.” — Nigella Lawson

It’s a conversation that remains relevant; we could have it today, and I’m happy to share it with you again (or for the first time). The recipe featured on the episode, Nigella’s Toasted Marshmallow and Rhubarb Cake, can be found here.

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