Under a barrage of media scrutiny, Nigella Lawson, the famously voluptuous TV chef, has posted a Thanksgiving holiday recipe to thank her supporters at this stressful time. Those who wish to demonstrate their loyalty to her are now using hashtag #teamNigella. Her followers have been busily retweeting the scrummy-sounding pud which is a spicy batter bake with an eggnog sauce.
Many of her celebrity friends are among those who have spoken up for Nigella as she faces accusations and allegations about drug use. Rosa Monckton, her sister-in-law who was a close, personal friend of Princess Diana, wrote “A man scorned in much more dangerous than a woman.” She was of course referring to Nigella’s ex-husband, Charles Saatchi, who will be cross-examined in court later today over his claims he knew of her alleged drug-taking but not of the scale. The couple, now divorced, are embroiled in a fraud case with two former assistants, said to have embezzled money from them on Saatchi’s company credit cards.
Piers Morgan, TV presenter, also tweeted, “This relentless beating up on @Nigella_Lawson – in every sense- is disgusting. She’s a lovely lady, who’s been through hell in her life..”
Tom Parker-Bowles, a fellow food writer, and Camilla’s son, was quick to join the #teamNigella. He wrote,”Hypocrisy bile and bull****@Nigella_Lawson will always rock. Wonderful writer, brilliant cook #teamNigella.”
One of the wittiest comments was from Stuart Nathan who said “Nigella Lawson brought us the caramel croissant pudding.” He then ruefully remarks, “Charles Saatchi brought us the Thatcher government.”
Another celebrity supporter Dawn Porter said she would love Nigella, “no matter what.”
However, even those who count themselves as being Team Nigella, are thrown into confusion by the latest turn of events. Allison Pearson in the Telegraph, has written that she finds the posting of the Hotcake recipe to be “an unappetising and rather desperate attempt to shore up support among the most damaging allegations.” She went on to say “Nigella cannot bake her way out of this particular nightmare.”
Pearson finds it “desperately sad” if the “domestic goddess” winds up “a casualty of the Having-It-All generation” Pearson wrote the book I Don’t Know How She Does It, about a career woman juggling family and work which became a film starring Sarah Jessica Parker.
Nigella has other holiday recipes on her website, with today’s being Butternut Squash with Pecans and Blue Cheese as a vegetarian alternative to turkey. With her sweet tooth to the fore she also has a Pecan-Plus Pie, Pumpkin cheesecake and Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows. Her latest blog, posted on November 13th before the latest scandal blew up, salutes Thanksgiving as a food-lover’s festival and also a time “to remember those other matters one wants to give thanks for.” She ends by wishing readers “Happy Holidays!”
In the meantime, the accountant for Charles Saatchi has already been questioned today in the Isleworth Crown Court, west London, where proceedings are taking place. Rahul Gajjar has told the court that in June 2012 Francesca Grillo had £64,336.97 on her company credit card with a monthly spend of £48,000 while Elisabetta Grillo had a monthly spend of around £28,000. Other assistants had an average spend of £8,000 or less per month.
The sisters deny embezzling money.
Gajjar said he became aware of the sisters high spending but he did not bring the matter to Saatchi’s attention immediately, as other matters were more pressing.
The case continues. For today, Nigella took to Twitter to tweet a wonderful Holiday hotcakes recipe to thank supporters and hopefully move beyond this spot that may had marred her image.
By Kate Henderson