Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

IT'S FOLK NOT FOOD; Nigella Likes Small Dinners Where She Can Mix with All the Guests

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

IT'S FOLK NOT FOOD; Nigella Likes Small Dinners Where She Can Mix with All the Guests

Article excerpt

Byline: WORDS: SEANNA CRONIN

She's known as Britain's domestic goddess, but Nigella Lawson doesn't play dinner host as often as you'd think.

The celebrity cook, TV host and best-selling author prefers small, informal gatherings.

"I don't entertain a great deal, especially when I'm filming or finishing a book," she says. "I don't do that entertaining with a capital E. I just have friends over. I cook a lot, but I'm not a huge entertainer. I go through a flurry of it - I think 'Oh God I haven't had people around for ages - for three weekends running and then I go 'I need a bit of a rest'. I'm better at just chucking things together, rather than getting things in the diary."

Lawson first rose to fame with her 1998 cookbook How to Eat. As the story goes, she was inspired to pen the book after she observed a dinner party host in tears because of an unset creme caramel.

So what is Lawson's idea of a perfect dinner party?

"I don't do big - six people is a favourite number for me," she says.

"When you have too many people you can't talk around the table and that's the whole point. As much as I love food, the point is to enjoy their company and to chat. I know I'm greedy and I like food, but the most important part of the evening is not the food. You want to remember you had a good laugh or someone said something moving."

A journalist turned food identity, but importantly not a trained chef, the velvet-voiced Lawson is a champion for simple, delicious food. The 58-year-old has 10 best-selling cookbooks and 13 television series to her name, and she sees food as a central, even therapeutic, part of life.

"As human beings we need a creative outlet and we also need time to decompress; cooking can provide that," she says.

"It's not necessarily about having masses of people around. It's a day-to-day thing. A bit of stirring and decompressing in the kitchen can make all the difference. So many of us are fizzing about in our heads. When you're cooking you have to move your intelligence to your hands and your tastebuds.

"When I was a journalist I earned my living and my days were all about my thoughts in my head and words. …

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