Nigella Lawson reveals the Christmas lunch tradition she has 'never' understood – 'it's madness'

Nigella Lawson shared the controversial opinion during an interview about her upcoming Christmas cooking plans

nigella lawson
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Nigella Lawson has revealed the popular Christmas food tradition she has 'never' observed, calling it 'madness' and a gateway to 'obscene indulgence'.

The British chef has opened up about her thoughts on the festive dinner, and let's just say, she didn't mince her words. 

Speaking on The News Agents podcast on Thursday, Nigella revealed she doesn't understand why starters are served at Christmas lunch.  

"People have gotten used to the idea that adding more and more and more, makes it better, when it doesn't, it probably makes people not appreciate what makes it into a feast," she said, before adding that she thinks that appetizers should be scrapped from the traditional Christmas lunch menu. 

"I never have [served starters], that seems a madness," the 62-year-old told hosts Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel. She went on to warn that eating small bites before the main can lead to overconsumption, leaving diners feeling like a "bloated wreck." 

"For many people, it becomes a sort of obscene overindulgence," Nigella added. "People are not eating because it's pleasurable. It's because somehow, they feel like they should be eating nonstop." 

Nigella Lawson

(Image credit: Francesca Yorke / Contributor / Getty Images)

"They can go too far too, when you want to feel full-up and grateful, but you don’t want to be a bloated wreck." The candid comments come a few months after Nigella said cooking for herself was how she preserved her ‘sanity’ during husband’s cancer battle. 

In the same interview, Nigella revealed that while she loves Christmas pudding, she would prefer to have it at a "different time" of the day because she's "always so full up" after the lunch. She also explained why one of her favorite parts of the celebratory meal, ironically, comes in the days following. 

"What I love about Christmas lunch is that it yields leftovers," she said. "I like doing so many different things with all the bits of leftovers." She went on to explain that cooking with all the surplus food gives her a much-needed "escape" during the busy period, and also "spurs" her "to cook interestingly." In another interview in 2017, the self-taught chef also revealed she loved making chutneys in the days before New Year's Eve. 

Nigella is no stranger to breaking tradition when it comes to Christmas. In 2020, the Cook, Eat, Repeat author revealed her plans to serve pork instead of turkey to guests at her festive banquet. She also announced that she would serve several mini puddings rather than one large one to share. 

"I am going to do something a bit different (this year) and I feel that it will make it lovely in its own right," Nigella said.

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.