Excerpt: Nigella Lawson, At My Table

Episode 1: Nigella Lawson

"The food in this book—which comes from my kitchen, is eaten at my table, and will be eaten at yours—is the food I have always loved cooking. It doesn't require technique, dexterity, or expertise, none of which I lay claim to. Life is complicated; cooking doesn't have to be. It doesn't matter how many cookbooks I write or how many times I am erroneously called a chef, I will never be a professional. But then, no one needs qualifications to cook, or human beings would have fallen out of the evolutionary loop a long time ago. I cook, as you do, to feed myself, my family, my friends. A home cook is not a lesser being than a chef, though a markedly different one.

I hate hearing people describe themselves as 'just' a home cook. We may not have the technical proficiency of a chef, but why should this matter? We cook to bring pleasure, comfort, and flavor to life, to the table. This is not to say we operate in bumbling chaos, although I have learned over the years that I need a certain amount of this.

In a sense, a recipe is a way of finding order in the mess of life. It's a guide, something to hold on to. And because of this, it must always be reliable, and as exact as possible, even if cooking itself can never be a precise art."

Excerpted from the book AT MY TABLE by Nigella Lawson. Copyright © 2018 by Nigella Lawson. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by Jonathan Lovekin.

Brian Stewart