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How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food
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How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  6,599 ratings  ·  127 reviews
A chatty, sometimes cheeky, celebration of home-cooked meals."
"USA Today"Through her wildly popular television shows, her five bestselling cookbooks, her line of kitchenware, and her frequent media appearances, Nigella Lawson has emerged as one of the food world's most seductive personalities. How to Eat is the book that started it all Nigella's signature, all-purpose coo
Paperback, 474 pages
Published May 18th 2007 by Houghton Mifflin (first published 1998)
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4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,599 ratings  ·  127 reviews

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I just got round to reading Nigel Slater's tribute to this book in the article series Observer Food Monthly's Classic Cookbook. (It had been waiting for a fortnight in a forest of browser tabs.) It begins:
How to Eat is easy to find on my bookshelf. It is the book in tatters. The one whose spine is torn, whose pages are smeared, smudged and scorched. The book that has clearly done service for 20 years.

My copy may not be quite that messy, but it's worn and spine-bent in a way that none of my othe
Caulyne B
Aug 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like food
Shelves: cooking
This is part cookbook, but don't buy it for that. Buy it for Nigella's lovely thoughts on how to cook, what to keep around, and a philosophy about food.

If you're trying to cook from it, this book may frustrate you-- sometimes I had to dig to find what I had remembered reading. Some are just simple paragraphs telling you what to toss in a pan.

I would hunker down on the couch on a Sunday morning and I could almost taste the ingredients as they were described. Happy times.
May 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food
I still haven't made the majority of the recipes in this book — that will take years — but almost every one I've made has turned out fantastically (and the ones that haven't have been through my own errors, not the recipe's). What's more, the book is a fabulous read; I can read it even when I'm not in the mood for cooking. Not for nothing did it win a Book of the Year award in Britain. Lawson's prose is fabulous.
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't think it quite stood the test of time. The writing is interesting, as always (yes, I read Nigella Lawson's cookbooks for her style, so sue me), but the recipes / ingredients aged, and the way the book was published - with no pictures of the food - makes the recipes very easy to forget. The low fat chapter was among the most insincere pieces of writing committed to print. Oddly enough, though, the final chapter on feeding children was charming and informative.
Jun 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Nigella Lawson is one of those people you just like watching on TV. She could be making a tuna noodle casserole with Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, but the way her satiny voice describes food and ingredients, you'd think she was making the most delicious dinner ever created. I find myself frequently hypnotized by her way with words and she never fails to make cooking feel like a sensual experience.

Part cookbook, part dissertation to the merits of understanding food, Nigella wins you over in
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbooks
I don't know why I'd never thought to read this one - I love Nigella - but it had slipped past me. Then a couple of weeks ago at Cookbook Confidential both Kay Plunkett-Hogge and Diana Henry recommended it so I got it. Genuinely wonderful prose and doable-sounding recipes. And no pictures. I actually read it cover to cover.
Ms Miaow
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbooks
I always enjoy Nigella's writing, but this book really suffers for lack of photos, I would like to know what the end result should look like (even if I can't achieve it!).
Also the layout doesn't give a clear delineation between recipes, but other than that, it's another must have cookbook from Nigella.
Reannon Bowen
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let’s all agree that Nigella is a Queen, go cook everything from this book & live happily ever after.
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food
This is one of my favorite cookbooks, as well as one of my favorite books, period. Not everyone likes Lawson's narrative style, but I can't get enough of the way she writes about food. Her cookbooks feel like conversations with a close girlfriend, and not in the cliched Sex & The City kind of way. She's friendly, and real, and helpful, and she anticipates questions and concerns that I have about recipes, ingredients, menus, and meals.

One of the best things about this book is the inclusion o
Sonja (aka Yashima)
This has become one of my favorite new cookbooks (recommended by Not only is the writing great but I love the way she talks about food. It's in the title. There's the same appreciation in the book everywhere. This book does have recipes but she doesn't expect you to follow them slavishly. I rather think she hopes that the reader might gain that same appreciation for good food and caring about what you eat that she has. And then there are fun quotes like "wisely eating custard ...more
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just delightful. And I love how she shares the story about collecting chicken carcasses - even from friends' dinner parties - to make stock!
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How to eat
Nigella wrote this book before she was a household name, and the book is designed to make good, home cooked, mostly British (lots of peas and lamb) food easily. In some ways it’s like a joy of cooking, an encyclopedic view of the dishes Nigella likes to cook, simple, basic and successfully. She encourages cooks to make the recipes their own, but this is not a cookbook about innovation or imagination. Like an encyclopedia, though, the book is written like a running text, and can be hard
Fateha Ar
May 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbooks
My first ever cookbook. I didn't want to buy a traditional cookbook with just recipes. I wanted to know the thinking behind the cooking process and this book is perfect for that. Mind you, this cookbook doesn't have any pictures whatsoever so I don't recommend this for beginners. I just love watching Nigella Lawson's cooking show and how articulative she is. She's a good writer too. I didn't know she was never a chef to begin with. She was a journalist! Definitely a motivation for me to cook
Nigella's warm self-deprecating lovely tone engaged me. Everything about that book felt accessible. There was none of that preachy it should be done like that – pages and pages of instructions kind of thing. It was just this wonderful, friendly, easy rolling-off-the-page kind of writing. It is as if Nigella is sitting on a stool next to me in the kitchen as I’m cooking. It’s almost like she’s chatting to me.
Ginni Brinkley
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favourite cookbooks. The style is deeply Nigella-y, which I can take or leave, but I didn’t get it for the prose, I got it for the recipes. This book is the keeper of the recipe for my favourite meal, spaghetti alla carbonara. I made it once for my husband on a rare night alone, and it’s now our signature meal for two. The book would be worth it just for that recipe, that’s how much I love it!
Jill Davies
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great to read as a stand alone book not just for the recipes (which are varied and delicious). Nigella puts her heart and soul into the love of food. Using this book is like having Nigella with you in kitchen- love cooking with company!
Isadora Torres
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I signed as "read".
There's no bigger lie than this, not because I haven't read it, but simply because I have the feeling I will never ever ever stop reading this book.
It's not a simple cookbook, How to eat is almost a novel about the joy of cooking & eating.
Nigella wrote the Bible.
Richard Canale
3.5 -- even higher for Lawson's engaging prose and practical ideas. The plethora of recipes does become a bit much and with so many recipes and descriptive meals. Like any cookbook, I always look for photos and this has none.
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbooks
I love the conversational tone of this cookbook. Sadly, in Lawson's later books, the recipes touch on the same themes, and it's much more about recipes and less about food. The recipes are solid and forgiving.
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My absolute favourite of Nigella's books, and coming back to read it after ten or so years, I found so much I want to cook.
Alison Ivey
Apart from the silly title, this is a good, useful book.
Muhemed Masika
Healthy and responsibly
Not with your mouth open
Noses in the air
Sharing is fine
But not everyone eats at nigellas house
A read into her primary tastses
Sarah Birchall
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have had this book for over 20 years. Pleasure to read , her prose is a joy. Great recipes too!
I love Nigella and this cookbook. I really resonate with when she says, "Restaurant food and home food are not the same thing." Her son is named Bruno, too!
Justin Walshaw
With your mouth hole
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A pleasure to cook from and a pleasure to read--I love Nigella's approach to life and cooking.
I received this as a Christmas gift, my dad decided to give everyone cookbooks this year. I had never heard of the author, but apparently she is a British lady that has a show on the Food Network.

Just from perusing through this book it seems many of the recipes call for exotic ingredients, like hare, quail eggs, etc. that would be likely expensive and hard to find, even if you live in a large metro area as I do. A lot of the traditional English dishes she has here are pretty fattening as well.
Kaajal Noorani
Feb 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How To Eat.....the title at first can be a put off. But once you open it and glance through the pages and Content, it seems that you ought to buy this book. It is from Basics to just anything about cooking. Correct and appropriate tips that you can never Forget. Basics like broth and meats and how to treat them. She Shares alot from her experience as a that have been passed on from her grandmother and some that she has chanced upon. How meals can be managed and combination Foods ...more
Dec 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
Anyone who watches "Nigella Feasts" already knows how beautifully and sensuously Nigella Lawson communicates about food. If you love to read cook books (and I do), you'll go crazy for this book. It is the reason you love to read cook books in the first place. It fills you up, just in the reading. If you think it's weird to like to read cook books, but you love food, you'll still love this book because it's mostly writing about delicious food--while there are a lot of recipes, I suppose you could ...more
Nov 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Someone wrote that if one liked the writing of Laurie Colwin, this book of Nigella Lawson's would also be appealing. Well, that person was right!

While it is impossible to compare these two women, both write lovingly about food and eating. Lawson calls herself an eater, not a chef, and I am sure that Colwin would have described herself the same way.

This book is just so darn universally appealing. I bought three to give for Christmas gifts.

There is nothing not to like about this book....great stor
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Nigella Lawson is the daughter of former Conservative cabinet minister Nigel Lawson (now Lord Lawson) and the late Vanessa Salmon, socialite and heir to the Lyons Corner House empire, who died of liver cancer in 1985. Lawson attended Godolphin and Latymer School and Westminster School before graduating from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, with a degree in Medieval and Modern Languages.
Lawson wrote a r
“Sometimes it's good just to be seduced by the particular cheeses spread out in front of you on a cheese counter.” 17 likes
“The best sorts of leftover meals are those that are glorified picnics. Alongside the cold meats, you need a good purchased pâté en croûte—one made with veal or duck would be just the thing. Also put on the table some salad and bread.” 0 likes
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