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Nigella Bites

(article, Caroline Cummins)

It's not really fair to call Nigella Lawson the Martha Stewart of Britain. Sure, in just a few short years Lawson has become a one-woman brand, publishing nearly a cookbook a year, hosting television shows, guesting as a columnist for the New York Times, and endorsing her own collection of kitchenware. (There's even a [%amazonProductLink asin=1569802998 biography] out about her, and she's not yet past middle age.) But Lawson confines her domestic-goddess ambitions entirely to the kitchen (no eponymous linens at Kmart for her) and, unlike the thoroughly businesslike Stewart, she is, as so many journalists have noted, a dish. 

Lawson cheerfully plays up her smart-sexpot image, showing off her crooked English teeth on the cover of her third book, Nigella Bites. Unlike the rest of us mortals, the Domestic Goddess swans through her kitchen in clingy sweaters and fires up the grill swathed in fringed pashmina. Divided by theme, such as "Templefood" (hangover cures such as Prairie Oysters and Hot and Sour Soup) and "Trashy" (Ham in Coca-Cola, Elvis Presley's Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich), Nigella Bites is chatty and girly; Lawson's chocolate-cake recipe, for example, "Serves 10. Or 1 with a broken heart." 


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The va-va-voom photos and occasionally outrageous recipes distract from what is essentially an honest effort at a book of comfort food. Lawson even includes pages for notetaking at the end of each chapter (a nice idea, if not always practical) and, in her preface, a brief manifesto: "I'm not interested in barking instructions; this isn't meant to be a monologue. I want to be there in the kitchen with you; my words are merely my side of the conversation I imagine we might have."

p(bio). [ "Caroline Cummins"] is the managing editor of Culinate.

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