I have loved Nigella Lawson since I was 17 years old. How To Be A Domestic Goddess was one of the first cookbooks I actually bought myself rather than raiding my mother’s bookcase (yes she has at least a whole bookcase of cookbooks and counting) and I spent many a weekend pouring over the indecently sugary pictures deciding what to make next.
Baking became something of an escape for me during my agnsty teenage phase and Nigella was a big part of that. She might not be the best chef out there, in fact some of her recipes kind of defy logic and I still can’t make them work, but she more than makes up for it with her can-do attitude and slightly slap-dash approach to baking. She shows women that being a domestic goddess isn’t about holding yourself to unachievable standards of perfection; it means making the best with what you have. Besides any woman who admits to eating chocolate mousse straight out of the fridge as a midnight snack is clearly one after my own heart.
That’s why I was so disappointed to see to British papers (I won’t link to the bastards) focusing on her alleged drug taking rather than celebrating her for having the strength to leave what was clearly an abusive marriage. Not to mention the hypocrisy of editors gleefully condemning her as a fallen woman for having once or twice tried cocaine when they probably snort a line each morning along with their Starbucks. Headlines along the lines of “Nigella Lawson admits taking cocaine” or “Nigella Lawson admits dating Charles Saatchi not very long after the death of her husband” (thanks Daily Mail) paint a sad and grim picture of the way traditional media likes to treat women, i.e. put them on a pedestal and then tear them down.
By being drawn into discussing these BS cocaine rumours, which were blatantly fuelled by her former husband’s PR machine, we’re just allowing him to perpetuate the emotional manipulation and abuse he tortured her with during their marriage. He allegedly told her he would destroy her if she didn’t go back to him. He also allegedly was so possessive that he gripped her by the neck and said, “I’m the only one you should be concerned with.” Let’s instead focus on how strong this woman is and how she is an inspiration to women everywhere. And also how she showed up to court looking like a boss.
That’s why, for what it counts, I’m still firmly #TeamNigella or #TeamCupcake as she likes us to be known. She’s handled a difficult situation with grace, courage and an outrageous amount of sass, which makes her even more of a hero to me than she was before. I can’t wait for her next TV show and cookbook and will be watching and buying alongside my mum and sister. Plus if my Christmas work party last night is anything to go by – I vaguely remember arguing with my colleagues over who loved Nigella more – the public still see her as a domestic goddess and Saatchi and every middle aged male newspaper editor can go fuck themselves.