Recipe for recovery

Recipe for recovery

Nigella Lawson's capacity to pick up pieces of her shattered personal life and move on is inspiring to many

Anyone still whining about how 2013 was a bad year may do well to take a leaf out of domestic goddess Nigella Lawson's book.

Not that I'm suggesting that you get publicly choked by your millionaire husband (if you have one), divorce him, appear in court as a witness in a fraud trial, over the course of which lurid details of your private life make headlines, culminating in your own admission of casual drug use.

If there is anyone who can make a speedy recovery from the above recipe for disaster, it has to be Lawson.

Never mind that her personal life has been crumbling in public - her professionalism at work prevails and she is set to charm viewers as a judge on reality TV cooking competition The Taste.

The second season aired in the US yesterday, while the UK version will debut in Britain on Jan 7.

Last year saw the British celebrity chef become tabloid fodder, especially since June when pictures emerged of Lawson's then husband, multimillionaire art dealer Charles Saatchi, choking her at a Central London restaurant.

A divorce followed swiftly in July.

Then November came along and she became embroiled in a drug scandal.

Two of her former assistants, charged for unauthorised spending on credit cards meant for household expenses, claimed Lawson was a habitual drug user who sanctioned their spending to silence them about her drug habit.

Called to testify at the fraud trial early last month, Lawson admitted she used cocaine six times with her first husband who turned to the drug as a form of escape during his battle with throat cancer.

She also admitted to taking cocaine once in 2010 when she felt subjected to "intimate terrorism" by Saatchi during her unhappy marriage.

She also used cannabis occasionally in the last year of their marriage to cope with the "intolerable situation".

But Lawson has insisted that she is no drug addict and has been drug-free since leaving Saatchi, whom she said has started a smear campaign to ruin her.

Does it really matter that the sultry kitchen siren has more Cs - cocaine and cannabis - up her apron than cooking?

Sure, it is wrong to use drugs, and shocking that the darling of the cookery celebrity circuit, known and loved for her sensuous addiction to food, would resort to drugs.

But Lawson has emerged from the scandal with minimal damage to her reputation and brand name.

Indeed, the public and the media have been largely sympathetic towards her.

Lawson does have an efficient team of lawyers and PR advisers behind her, but one is inclined to believe her explanation for her previous drug use.

Only time will tell if she is truly drug-free now, but the public does not love her nor her recipes any less.

Self-deprecating

Lawson has never put on a facade of being the perfect woman. She is self-deprecating and has openly described herself as greedy when it comes to food and a "terribly lazy person" in media interviews.

This "goddess" is not afraid of admitting her flaws which is what endears her to her fans, besides her talent at making cooking and gorging on comfort food look sensuous and permissible.

Some may respect her more because she was brave enough to admit her own mistakes.

Lawson's ability to emerge from her failed marriage and drug scandal to make a comeback on the small screen is reminiscent of her speed at whipping up time-saving recipes in her TV series Nigella Express.

She has inspired people to pick up cooking, but now, she may inspire more with her capacity to pick up pieces of her shattered personal life, rise above her issues and carry on.

That's a life tip to bear in mind this year.

hedykhoo@sph.com.sg


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