Cooking up a story

Cover of Indian Takeaway

I can’t cook to save my life, though I love food and like to experiment with various cuisines. Indian Takeaway was a title that intrigued me and as I read it, I enjoyed it, which was reason enough to review the book by Glasgow-born Hardeep Singh Kohli. He writes well, is funny and I liked his idea of cooking western food in India while travelling around.
Lately, thanks to my spouse, I have also been introduced to Nigella Lawson’s TV show on cooking—I normally work on the laptop or read while it is on, but no one who’s seen it would blame me if my gaze strayed towards the TV more than a few times—the lady speaks very well and is also quite easy on the eye.
Seeing that Hardeep had splattered himself all over the cover, I made a somewhat uncharitable comparison of his appearance with that of Nigella in the review. It’s is like comparing apples and oranges, I know, but sometimes we “just do it”, as the Nike ad says.
Moments before submitting the copy, I decided that I had to nail that Nigella, know more about her, now that she was figuring in my writing. Googling was the shortcut, yielding among other things, a Wikipedia entry as well as a link to her website.

Nigella Lawson

I was on a roll and things were making sense! We had often observed that Nigella Lucy Lawson’s language was as classy as her looks—comes with having graduated from the University of Oxford, and you don’t become the deputy literary editor of The Sunday Times at age 26, just like that, you know!
There is much about her that subtly announced old money and breeding, easily understood when you find out that she is the daughter of Nigel Lawson, Baron of Blaby, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Vanessa Salmon, whose family owned the J. Lyons and Co empire, a large British business.
In the show, she refers to her children, 14-year-old daughter Cosima and son Bruno, 12 from her marriage to the late journalist John Diamond. Her husband, Charles Saattchi, the marketing mogul, has a daughter, 13-year-old Phoebe from his first marriage.
Language Truth and LogicShe is a millionaire in her own right. Living Kitchen, her cookware, has a value of £7 million, and she has sold more than three million cookery books worldwide. Nigella is also married to one of the richest men in the UK, worth more than £110million.
However, says Nigella: “I am determined that my children should have no financial security. It ruins people not having to earn money.” She does not want to leave her wealth to her children, something that her husband does not agree with. His opinion would find resonance among those who label their vehicles “Pappu te Tinki di Gaddi”.
We live in a culture where inheritance is taken for granted. Patiala, where I grew up, had many a home of a once illustrious family brought to ruin because children who did not work for a living and eventually ate into their inheritance, often at a blazingly fast rate.

It takes a great mother to recognise this fact and show tough love. Nigella’s statement reflects what one would call her pragmatic positivism, as a tribute her stepfather, the philosopher A J Ayer, the famous exponent of logical positivism, whose book Language Truth and Logic influenced one’s college days. From Lawson to logic, you just don’t know what a good chef can rustle up, really.

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