The British cookbook author—her Italian-themed volume Nigellissima is in stores now—discusses her love of efficiency and a good blue cheese.
Best Childhood Memory
One evening in the late '60s, my family went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner, and I remember my mother dancing and singing in her backless halter jumpsuit as we walked home—a pirouetting bohemian beauty going down the streets of London with her many children. It was enchanting.

Best Wardrobe Staple
A black Donna Karan dress. It stretches. It's as comfortable as a nightie. And it's designed for a woman, not a boy.

Best Surprise
Is there such a thing as a good surprise? My mistrust of them could be construed as a form of control freakery. However, the first time I returned from a book tour in America, my children were at the airport holding up bits of paper that said "I LOVE YOU, MUMMY." That was a gorgeous surprise.

Best Advice
Do it now. Every task becomes bigger by the hour. You'll be contaminated by the worry you feel about whatever it is—and the more you put it off, the more fearful you become.

Best Saturday Morning
Staying in bed with lots of newspapers and a book and maybe every now and then people coming to see me. In other words, reveling in the luxury of being recumbent.

Best Achievement
When my mother was on her deathbed, she told me, "Darling, whatever you do in life, nothing will ever match the achievement of being tall." I'm around 5'7" in a family of short women. She liked to say I did it through willpower.

Best Surefire Mood Boost
Someone said, "You never regret a baby or a swim," and I always think that about a walk, as well. Particularly one with someone you can be silent with.

Best-Kept Secret
I don't really have a sweet tooth; I always reduce the sugar in a recipe. Whereas I have forbidden myself to buy blue cheese. I once ate—by myself, and not at a mealtime—one and a half baguettes with 12 ounces of blue cheese. That's my chocolate.

More Women Reveal Their Favorite Rituals


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