The global culinary star admits that cooking has helped her cope with the mishaps in her life.
"John, my late husband, said to me, 'You always talk about food in this really confident way. You should write about it!' So I did," Nigella Lawson had once fondly recalling her husband's role in her glorious career, as quoted by Mirror. Since her success, some might even say Nigella's prominence in the world of cooking marked the beginning of an era that saw a massive shift in the culinary world. But the global culinary star has regarded cooking as a lot more meaningful and satisfying activity than just a profession.
Cooking was not only her passion from a very nascent age, but it also turned out to be the best coping mechanism when she was bereaved by the death of her sister and later, her husband. During an interview with The Australian Women's Weekly, she revealed that cooking for her sister and talking to her while she was doing it was what brought them closer than ever.
"I like cooking with people who know me well and know my kitchen well," she explains. "I used to love cooking with my sister, Thomasina. I loved cooking for her and with her and just talking to her while I cooked," she said.
In 1993, Thomasina, Lawson's sister, lost her battle with breast cancer, creating a void in her life. However, doing what she does best helped her fill that void. Nigella found peace and comfort in cooking; it helped her accept the realities of life. She, therefore, believes that cooking can indeed be therapeutic. She explained, "If you have a friend or a child or anyone who is going through a difficult time and wants to talk about things that aren't easy, I think you stand much more of a chance if you're chopping some carrots at the same time."
But life never runs out of curveballs. She found herself deep in grief again, years later, when her husband and the father of her two children, John Diamond passed away from throat cancer in 2001. This time, grief and loss hit her hard and she struggled to find meaning and perspective in life again. But soon this tragic incident opened her eyes to a very profound learning - even a single moment wasted in life is like a lifetime lost. While John's death at a very early stage of her marriage, did leave her broken, she again tried to achieve calmness through her incredible skill of cooking.
She has earlier revealed that John was one of her biggest supporters and with his encouragement, she went on to write her first cookbook. Not just that, he had more faith and belief in her skills than she herself did. "I did this one-off book in 1998, so then I was asked to do TV and I said no, then I said, 'look, if I can do it in my own kitchen and I can be totally unscripted, I will do it'! I don't do it in my own kitchen anymore but I won't ever be scripted!" After this, there was no looking back for her.
Even at the lowest point in her life, her husband's death, she did not let him down, believing in herself and continuing to pursue her passion, spreading joy in millions of households across the world, with her refreshing style and presentation of cooking. With this also came the realization for the star chef that nothing is going to be the same in this ever-shifting world, therefore, cherishing every moment of life is imperative.
"I don't want to waste life. It feels so ungrateful not to take pleasure. You have to take pleasure in life while you can because people have that ripped away from them," she said, as per Mail Online.
This time 20 years ago, I was at the launch party for my first book, How To Eat. Looking at this photo makes me happy, but also very sad. I wish I could be in John’s arms now pic.twitter.com/ORocR4PFDt— Nigella Lawson (@Nigella_Lawson) September 28, 2018
She also believes that cooking has been a reason for her to be close to her friends and other loved ones in her life. Having them around when she is cooking is what brings the joy of togetherness for the 59-year-old.
"It's rather like the way people sometimes feel they have important conversations while they're driving. People are more relaxed when you haven't got full-beam on them. So I quite like chatting while I cook. The other person doesn't need to be cooking with me. Sometimes they can just be there, having a glass of wine while I'm chopping and stirring and unwinding. I like that."
During the dark phases of her life, it was the art of cooking that helped her stay in touch with herself and her close ones. It proved to be the pillar that enabled her to stand strong and handle the storm. She also realized that bringing other people joy through her art is, in turn, filling her with satisfaction and solace.
The love that her husband showed her through his belief and confidence in her real passion has made her who she is today and she intends to spread that love to the whole world. According to Mirror, one of the last things he's believed to have told her was, "How proud I am of you and what you have become. The great thing about us is that we have made us who we are."