Nigella's amazing recipe for spending

YOU wouldn't want to be doing your weekly shop in leafy London, missus, not with the price of potatoes being what it is.

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When celebrity cook Nigella Lawson was still in her former marital home, she had a credit card exclusively for the housekeeping.

A very sensible arrangement, except her household needed six cards, one each for Nigella and her five female aides.

Charles Saatchi, Nigella's hubby before their bitter divorce, paid off the cards every month by direct debit.

Again, entirely prudent. You don't become a multi-millionaire art dealer by running up unnecessary and costly interest charges.

But the card statements were supposedly never checked, by anybody.

Mr Saatchi's accountant said it wasn't for him to say how much Nigella should spend on "potatoes or dry cleaning".

Well, it turned out "potatoes and dry cleaning" cost up to £100,000-a-month. Total spending on all six cards reached £1.2million a year.

This fly on the wall peek into how the rich live was exposed in the trial of two of those aides.

The Grillo sisters - Elisabetta, 41, and Francesca, 36 - deny using their cards without authorisation to indulge in a few luxuries, such as designer clothes, flights, five-star hotel stays, and beauty treatments.

But they were challenged on their little luxuries only after their collective spending from 2008 to 2012 topped an eye-watering £685,000.

Even David Cameron has been rebuked by the trial judge for announcing he was on Team Nigella, and a "massive fan". Look out for another PM selfie soon, with the Domestic Goddess.

Reality? The Grillos, confronted over their alleged spree, complained they were "being treated worse than Filipino slaves".

So what does that, and the whole Lawson-Saatchi saga with its talk of millions and cocaine binges, tell us about the lifestyle of the rich during chronic austerity?

Well, for a start, the housekeeping doesn't include saving up Morrisons Christmas points to get forty quid cashback.

It did include £24,866 for 21 flower deliveries, £2240 on Ralph Lauren bedding, £55,000 on Donna Karan clothes, more than £2250 on cashmere jumpers, and around £18,000 on an 80th birthday bash for Nigella's old man, the former chancellor Nigel Lawson. And so much more.

An aide took the couple's three kids on 14 holidays in three years, staying in five-star hotels and taking up to 12 friends at a time, and the kids' VIP tickets to Glastonbury cost £10,564.

How does such wealth affect children?

Do they grow up with a sense of entitlement about their place in society?

Will they have any empathy for ordinary folk?

In saying that, is a sense of entitlement not exactly what's bred in kids born into a family culture of benefits and hand-outs?

"Affluenza", they call it in America, the misconception that having money solves every problem.

TEXAS rich kid Ethan Couch, 16, was three times over the drink-drive limit when he killed four people, including a mother and daughter.

Last week he faced up to 20 years in jail, but his lawyers and psychologists argued it wasn't his fault.

They blamed his wealthy parents — and the judge gave him 10 years' probation.

Couch was ordered to stay away from his parents and undergo long-term alcohol rehab - at £250,000-a-year, with daddy paying.

Call it what you will, but abuse of wealth, of position, drives us daft.

Is it envy, seeing folk with more than you have?

Or is it disdain, convincing yourself you would spend that dosh much more responsibly?

Are we to assume that anyone attacking inequality in Britain today - the excesses of the wealthy, the London-centric policies of a millionaire cabinet, the fat cat tax dodgers - is envious?

Is it not about fairness?

Shrinks claim that endless exposure to the rich and famous, the cult of personality that makes reality TV stars out of halfwits, makes Facebook users jealous and depressed.

I suggest they quit Facebook, then.

However, folk do delight in the rich and famous appearing no happier than them, and looking the same emotional wrecks.

They're human after all.

But they'll never know the price of potatoes.

'TIS the season to be jolly well potty. Take Megyn Kelly, a presenter on America's Fox News. She's sparked a national storm by telling her TV audience: "For all you kids watching, Jesus was a white man. That's a verifiable fact, as is Santa."

And Church of England vicar Simon Tatton-Brown had to apologise after telling primary school kids in Wiltshire that Father Christmas doesn't exist.

Calm down, people, they're imaginary - though I believe the tooth fairy is now in hiding.

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