Nigella Lawson opens up on tragedy that inspired her love of food after mum died of cancer

TV chef Nigella Lawson, 60, has opened up about how her mum, Vanessa, would swear by never eating anything sweet in the kitchen until she discovered her liver cancer diagnosis was terminal. The author explained she has never let herself feel guilty about enjoying food again since her mum died.

Nigella, 60, lost her mum, Vanessa, to cancer aged 48 in 1985, when she was just 25.

The cook began by recalling how she was brought up by her mum, revealing she would often make delicious treats but never ate them.

“I was brought up by a mother – the cook I have learned most from – whose grimly exuberant output in the kitchen was set in painfully sharp relief, and indeed fostered, by an expanding pattern of self-denial and self-punishment; not an uncommon syndrome, incidentally,” she admitted in her new book Cook, Eat, Repeat.

“Diagnosed with terminal cancer two weeks before her death, she started eating – for the first time, she said giddily – without worry or guilt.”

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“So, even if I were the sort of person who planned ahead, I don’t think I would have seen myself here.”

Nigella went on to reveal how her outlook on ageing has completely changed, adding: “I kind of think you can’t do anything about it [ageing] so why complain?

“I also know what the alternative is, so it feels wrong when you’ve been surrounded by people who have died young to say, ‘My hair’s awful, I’ve got to get my roots done’ or ‘My hands look like lizards.'”

She continued to tell Good Housekeeping: “I don’t dwell on it.