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She is the best known female food personality in the world today. The mere mention of her name can cause people to recall, accurately, what she sounds like, how she smiles, and, of course, how she cooks.

You might think it could be unnerving being Queen of Gastroporn Nigella Lawson and constantly having your sensual charms – and curves – discussed alongside your body of work. But Lawson says that she can’t control how people perceive her and that ”it’s wrong to get into a state about it”.

She says the suggestion that the way she presents herself in front of the television is carefully thought about is simply false. ”I don’t construct a personality, but I certainly think the personality that is ascribed to me is not my personality,” she says. ”That’s a projection of other people, but also to do with the particular, strange force television has.”

Her trademark lascivious tone, for example, is unintentional. ”When I am talking to camera … I mean, I love my crew and I have had them forever so I am very very close to them … I know that I am quite an intense person and I know that I am being quite intimate. To me, I am not being remotely coquettish.”

Men and their egos are often the source of this misinterpretation, she suggests. ”One of the things I find quite endearing about men is that they do seem to have a certain sort of confidence and they sort of think anyone is flirting with them.”

Lawson is in Australia for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, of which she is the star attraction.

Here to represent a key festival theme, Women of the Kitchen, Lawson reflects on the women who inspired her. ”My mother was quite spontaneous, quite impatient, and really knew how to trust her own palate. I think people really underestimate how important that is,” she says. ”Maybe because cooking has been, in the large part, taken over by professionals, I think technique has been overstressed and actually what cooking is, is about trusting your instincts and about trusting your palate to know what tastes good.”

After graduating from Oxford University, Lawson worked as a literary journalist and opinion page columnist before releasing her first cookbook, How to Eat, which became a bestseller. Her first television series, Nigella Bites, became an incredible success and soon she was known as a woman who loves food and doesn’t torment herself dieting.

”I am always thinking about what my eating opportunities are, and what I can manage to get in,” she says.

(Source: Sydney Morning Herald)

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(Sunday People)

She is Britain’s favourite domestic goddess – but Nigella Lawson, Queen of Gastroporn admits she never watches food shows and hardly ever opens a cookery book. Her no-nonsense approach in the kitchen has made the sexy 50-year-old a household name. But in a frank interview, she confesses TV programmes by celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay leave her cold.

She said: “I have an absolute policy of not watching. I don’t want to be told there is only one way of making something and I don’t want to pick up someone’s ideas. I don’t read cook books either – I don’t like being stuck to one formula. I don’t mind going to restaurants but I would sooner order steak and chips.”

The mother of two shot to fame 10 years ago on the Channel 4 hit Nigella Bites. Since then she has amassed an estimated £8 million fortune and sold more than three million recipe books worldwide. But she has regularly courted controversy by using so much dairy in her cookery, even though it’s blamed for obesity and a raft of other health problems.

Unrepentant Nigella said: “I don’t think there is anything wrong with cream and butter – I see it as moisturiser for the insides. People have gone on for years about butter and how bad it can be but we now realise margarine is much worse.”

She went on: “People get too hysterical when you mention cream. One day I have some and then occasionally I have more – but it is not an everyday thing. Where you have problematic obesity and health issues, I don’t feel it is caused by people who eat butter, cheese or cream. It is caused by people who eat food that is not real.”

Nigella added with a smile: “I do eat healthily but unfortunately I eat for at least five people. People should not be too holy about it all.”

She applauds Oliver’s campaign for healthier diets – but warns against chefs getting too preachy. Speaking as she launched a new piece of iPhone software which sends her recipes to users’ mobiles, she said: “Nobody wants to be told ‘Don’t eat that’ if they are a fat lump.”

Black Dogs Defined

This is the best of me; for the rest, I ate, and drank, and slept, loved and hated, like another: my life was as the vapour and is not; but this I saw and knew; this, if anything of mine, is worth your memory.

(John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies)

Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not.

(Alan Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning)

This is my letter to the world, that never wrote to me.

(Emily Dickinson, This is my letter to the world)

Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!

(Edna St. Vincent Millay, Second Fig)

R.A.D. Stainforth

I was born before The Beatles’ first LP and brought up in the reeking slums of Jericho. I am in love with a woman called Hazel and in love with her daughter, also called Hazel, both of whom I met at Alcoholics Anonymous.

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