Nigella: 'I learned the importance of cooking when my husband was dying.'

Before Nigella Lawson was a one-word superstar, the world knew her as the daughter of a famous British politician, Nigel Lawson (yes, she is named after him) and as the wife of a famous newspaper columnist, John Diamond.

She and John had two children, Cosima and Bruno, before he contracted throat cancer and endured his illness for four years before his death in 2001.

Fifteen years later, the now very-famous Nigella sat down with Mia Freedman. All personal questions were off-limits, which, when you are as well-known and interesting as she, is to be expected. But Lawson spoke to Mia about how it was her husband’s illness that propelled her into a deeper passion for cooking – one that would see her become an accomplished food writer, and then a culinary TV star.

Nigella and her late husband, John Diamond, in 2000. Photo: Getty Images.

It made her realise, she says, the profound importance of nourishing yourself, not only caring for others.

“My first husband couldn’t eat. He had oral cancer. I did feel it was quite important to hold on to being able to cook for myself. My children were little then, so I would make two lots of supper, one for them and then one for myself…,” Nigella told Mia.

“That’s when I started [cooking in earnest]. You have to feel like you can take care of yourself. It’s a help. And there are times when one feels unable to muster the enthusiasm of of doing so…

“I think it’s an essential act of kindness towards oneself.”

What a revolutionary idea, in 2016, that food shouldn’t be a source of shame, but of self-love.

For the full interview, listen to Mia’s No Filter podcast, here:

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