Cool Name of the Week: Louisa 28210

My daughters have inherited my passion for food and cooking—and there's nothing they love better than spending an afternoon in the kitchen helping me bake up a few cookies or put together a great dinner. Unless, of course, it's the opportunity to watch cooking shows on TV—especially the contest type shows, like Cupcake Wars and Chopped. (We even spent an evening playing Chopped, where I bested my husband with a killer lemon-crusted plum tart for the grand finale.) So when ABC ran The Taste, a cooking contest which featured blind taste testing and some of their favorite chefs, that became must-see TV for us.

My girls and I were rooting for Nigella Lawson's team. We've loved watching her other cooking shows, I love her outlook on food (excellent, decadent food—but in moderation) and we loved her all-girl team—especially the super-sweet Lauren.

Ultimately, Nigella's team wasn't the big winner, but I think Nigella could be a winning name for a little girl. It's the feminized version of Nigel. Nigel means "dark-haired," and Nigella is another name for the bloom called "love in a mist," a beautiful blossom that has delicate, branched leaves around the bloom. The seeds of the Nigella plant are often roasted and ground and used in curries—and it seems pretty apropos that Nigella the chef was given the name of such an exotic spice.

It'd make a lovely, unique choice for someone who loves the -ella names: Ella, Isabella, Annabel, etc. And it goes beautifully with some of the cool short middle names. I'd pair Nigella with Jade, Pearl, True, Gray or even Clove—adding an extra bit of spice to the baby name.

What do you think of the name Nigella? Do you think it'll ride along with the other -ella names into the limelight, or will it remain a slightly offbeat option?

Photo: Pregnant woman via Ronald Summers/