Nigella Lawson was ‘too distracted to cook’ during the early days of lockdown

Nigella Lawson at a signing of her new  book 'At My Table: A Celebration Of Home Cooking'

For some reason, the Cooking Network stopped airing Nigella Lawson’s cooking show several years ago, or maybe they just figured people were tired of her show? I always loved the reruns and I find her cooking-show-style so comforting. She never cared about getting the measurements right. She never cared about spilling sh-t or making a mess. She always made desserts for every meal and she always planned out her meals so that she would have leftovers to snack on at night, when everyone was asleep. That, to me, is a good home cook. But like everyone else during the lockdown, Nigella has struggled to concentrate enough to really cook properly. And that makes me feel better about myself! I feel I’m being inundated by home cooks and home bakers who can sit there and concentrate on a recipe and manage to make something in an hour. HOW?

Lockdown isn’t easy for anyone, but when you’re isolating alone it can be even harder to find the motivation to keep up a routine – as Nigella Lawson has found. Although she’s been busy offering up advice about ingredient substitutions and sharing simple store cupboard recipes on Twitter, the TV chef and former Red cover star has admitted even she lost her focus in the kitchen for a while.

Writing in The Sunday Times Style, Nigella explained that she found the first few days of lockdown tricky to navigate, especially when it came to cooking for one.

‘I’ve always enjoyed cooking for myself, and yet the first 10 or so days of lockdown, I found myself in the uncharacteristic position of being too distracted to cook,’ she explained. ‘Frankly, I didn’t really feel I wanted to eat anything other than chocolate…Without the need to feed others, I found it all too easy to spiral out of any proper schedule.’

Now, she says, she’s ‘pulled myself back’ and cooks ‘something proper, something to look forward to, each evening’, even finding a silver lining in not having to cater for others. Something she thinks other keen home cooks, isolating alone, should try to enjoy right now, too.

‘If you are isolating at home alone, make the most of only having yourself to please,’ she wrote. ‘Find out what flavours you like, experiment as you cook…you can concentrate more on the process than on the result, shackled as it is so often with the dreadful weight of performance anxiety.’

[From Red]

The extent of my lockdown cooking has been pretty much the same as always – occasionally making pasta, sometimes with grilled chicken. That’s about it. But my guess is that more people are like me and like Nigella was at the start of the lockdown: unable to concentrate long enough to really make a real meal or cook for tons of people. Judging from what’s gone at the grocery store, people seem equally divided between “just making endless frozen pizzas” versus “finally trying to bake for the first time.”

Nigella Lawson Book Signing

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red.

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9 Responses to “Nigella Lawson was ‘too distracted to cook’ during the early days of lockdown”

  1. Quincytoo says:

    I love her shows and have several of her books
    Her recipes are great
    I was cooking AND baking way too much at first but tempered it down

  2. Lightpurple says:

    The extent of my “home cooking” has been toasting something in the morning, opening packages of chocolate chips, and ordering something through Door Dash – 2 entrees and an appetizer can usually last me a week.

    I did make an Easter dinner and I used Nigella’s Coca-Cola ham recipe, super easy and super good. And the smell while the ham is boiling in the Coca Cola is phenomenal.

  3. grabbyhands says:

    I totally get this – when lockdown started I had grand baking ambitions but it took a very short amount of time to have that feeling of total distraction that quickly just made me want to sleep through the whole thing.

    I love her style – I love that she is not fussy about what she’s doing in the kitchen. The food is meant to be delicious and bring pleasure to the eater, not just be a picture on social media.

  4. Becks1 says:

    I started off doing a lot of cooking (I was trying to learn some Julia Child recipes) but then I just…..stopped. I don’t know why. By the end of the day I’m just not in the mood. I also thought I was going to bake a lot and while I’ve gotten really good at a basic rustic bread, I haven’t done all the cookie and pies and such I thought I was going to do.

    I enjoy Nigella and do miss her show.

  5. NigellaStan says:

    Nigella is everything. I think she lost her show when her ex choked her in public at that restaurant on camera. There was lots of drama that ensued, and he divorced her for not standing up for him. I think. She’s the dreamiest and I hope she gets another big platform again.

    • Kristen says:

      Ugh – every time I see her, I think of those horrific photos, it is still so disturbing to even recall it. Sending Nigella a blessing on her healing journey! She is wonderful.

  6. Stacy Dresden says:

    I really like her and would love to see more of her.

  7. Truthiness says:

    I’m just glad to be cooking at all! I cook everyday and the virus took that away for maybe 5-6 weeks. I survived on Chinese contact-free delivery. It was another couple of weeks before my smell and taste came back. I never realized that I cook by smell and I know the smell cues for being done. I slightly burned things for a while until my smell came back.

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