5 Of The Most Controversial Nigella Lawson Recipes

From double buttered toast to Marmite pasta.

BBC/Jay Brookes

Nigella Lawson is a chef who knows how to get people talking. Whether you’re a huge fan or not, you have to admit that she knows what’s she’s doing and how to work her audience in a clever and memorable way. Some of the most controversial Nigella Lawson recipes over the years have featured everything from banana skins to CSI-worthy plastic gloves. And let’s not forget her unique way of pronouncing microwave (“meecro-wah-vay”), which will remain as a personal highlight of 2020.

There was also that recent recipe that has caused national — scrap that — global uproar: her double-buttered toast. It even reached national news status when it was featured on the 10 o’clock BBC news on Nov. 18. Along with Brexit deals and coronavirus vaccines, the broadcaster clearly considered Nigella’s toast recipe to be news-worthy enough that it deserved a top spot in the evening's programming. As well as every British tabloid in the country, U.S. news sites such as CNN have even started to pick up the story, making it a talking point across the pond, too.

But why exactly has Nigella’s buttery toast become such a hot topic? And what other food controversies has the chef been at the heart of over the years? Here are the top five.

Buttery toast-gate

Presumably unaware of the uproar it would result in, Lawson shared her unique technique of how to butter toast recently on her newest BBC series, Nigella's Eat, Cook, Repeat. While many of us just throw a piece of bread in a toaster, slather on some butter and go, Nigella takes her time with it. She applies one layer of butter to hot toast just out of the toaster, before leaving it to melt. She then goes in for another layer of butter, and then finishes by sprinkling some sea salt on top. Too much? Most of the UK seemed to think so, as proven by the reactions on social media sites such as Twitter.

Banana skin curry

Just weeks before the buttery toast incident of November 2020, Nigella shared an unusual curry recipe which had the British public talking. Taking old banana skins from the previous day, Nigella covered them in boiling water, added some salt and turmeric, and left them to cool, before adding them to her curry mix. “These just go so velvety and swell and soften with the flavour of the curry sauce,” she said. While some praised her for using every part of the fruit and not creating excess waste, others compared the dish to a Bushtucker trial meal. The jury's out on this one.

Marmite pasta

Now, this one thoroughly divided the nation, as its chief ingredient often does anyway. In September 2020, Nigella shared her recipe for marmite pasta to Instagram, and for once acknowledged the controversy that may surround this take on the Italian classic. "So many of you know and love this already, and the rest of you are probably horrified by it: #RecipeOfTheDay is Spaghetti with Marmite," she wrote. "And Italians, don’t shout at me: this comes via the great Anna del Conte!" she added. Marmite fans can get the full recipe via her Instagram post. As a marmite lover, I personally can't think of anything more delicious TBH.

*That* 'posh' toast

Yep, Nigella certainly has a knack for sparking controversy with her toasted creations, doesn't she? Years ago in 2015, way back before her double-buttered toast left the British public reeling, the chef shared her recipe for 'posh toast,' which was just, er, avocado on toast. Some fans who tuned into Simply Nigella, felt the segment dedicated to her avo toast recipe, which was avocado on rye bread, topped with chili flakes and lemon zest, wasn't exactly ground-breaking.

Crime scene gloves

This last one is not a recipe as such, but perhaps one of the stranger things Nigella has told us to do while cooking. In her book Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home, Lawson proudly writes that when she has to handle something particularly messy in the kitchen, she reaches for a pair of gloves that she names after those used in TV series Crime Scene Investigation. “I like to keep a packet of disposable gloves (referred to in these pages as CSI gloves) by my washing-up paraphernalia,” she wrote. “You can wear these before prodding hot joints of meat or dismembering roast chicken as well as shredding cold meat." She has often been spotted wearing them on her TV series also. Interesting.