Sometimes we wish we could dislike Nigella Lawson, simply for what she has wrought: all those TV cooking shows featuring women in tight sweaters who lick their spoons, toss their lustrous hair, moan about how A-MAZ-ING their food smells, and never give you any helpful information. But unlike these lame pretenders, Nigella is the real deal—an excellent, practical cook and a witty writer who is always fun to read.
Our favorite book of hers is How to Eat, because although it contains many great recipes, it's more than that. As the title says, it tells you how to eat. How to shop, how to stock a pantry, how to save time, how to plan menus for everything from a one-person meal to a full-scale dinner party.
This excerpt from How to Eat sums up the attitude we find so appealing:
. . . you don't have to go through the ridiculous pantomime of pretending everything is homespun. If you're still getting your shopping out and unwrapping your packages when everyone arrives, who cares? Your kitchen doesn't have to look like a set from a 1950s sitcom. It is curiously relaxing to be slowly creating the canvas—arranging the table, putting flowers in a vase, chopping up herbs, and putting water on for potatoes—while talking and drinking unhurriedly with friends.