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Toast: The Story of a Boy's Hunger

Toast: The Story of a Boy's Hunger [Kindle Edition]

Nigel Slater
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (200 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Product Description


'Acutely observed, poignant and beautifully written…Slater tells his heartbreaking story with great subtlety. The theme of food and love is a fascinating one and I have never seen it better handled.' Daily Telegraph

'Few, if any, food writers engender such affection as Nigel Slater. He evokes time, people and place with…unmatched sensuous energy…Extraordinary.' Observer

'Toast is a magnificent reminder of…food in family life.' Lynne Truss, Sunday Times

'A talent for prose as simple and pleasurable as his recipes.’ Sunday Telegraph

'Moving, funny and finely crafted, it's a real gem' Independent

'It achieves a remarkable freshness…[and] reveals a gift for doleful, Alan Bennett-like comedy.' Guardian

Daily Telegraph

'This artful, disconcerting, endearing book deserves a place in the literature of childhood unhappiness and survival against the odds.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 466 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (23 Dec 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004GJXQ1G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (200 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,952 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Nigel Slater is one of Britain's most highly regarded food writers. His beautifully written prose, warm personality and unpretentious, easy-to-follow recipes have won him a huge following. He writes an award winning weekly column in the 'Observer' and edits their 'Food Monthly' supplement, and he is a regular contributor to Sainsbury's 'The Magazine'.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
77 of 81 people found the following review helpful
By Bizgen
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is one thing to write cookery books and a cookery column in The Observer and another to lay bare your childhood and upbringing for everyone to see. Most people would gloss over the parts of their life they don't want to confront, especially if the episodes do not show them in a very good light. It is also hard to relate that life without the effect of hindsight and the adult view of the events related.

Nigel Slater gives us his child's, and then his teenage view of his life, exactly as it must have been then, without the adult interpretation. This gives it an immediacy which is very poignant and moving. Children are self-centred and to some extent, selfish, and it is a very believable take on a child's-eye view of the world. He is unsentimental and his humour is sometimes cruel but throughout, his anger and loneliness palpable and penetrating. While we may look at his world, we are not asked to pity him.

Each nostalgic episode is given an item of food from the sixties and the story of his life is recounted as separate incidents, not in sequence.

We learn about his family, the odd uncle and aunt, his brother and adopted brother, his father's job, his mother's illness - all snippets related as they affect the infant Slater with vivid reality in a few lines of spare prose.

"It was a pity we had Aunt Fanny living with us. Her incontinence could take the edge off the smell of a chicken curry, let alone a baking cake. No matter how many orange-and-clove pomanders my mother had made, there was always the faintest whiff of Aunt Fanny."

We can see the lack of love in his life after his mother dies and can probably see that he is, indeed, a difficult child and he doesn't seek to present himself to us as anything else.
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75 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for foodies 17 Nov 2003
Nigel Slater recounts his childhood with short stories. This book will make you laugh, cry and wince.
Unexpectedly this book contains more descriptions of a teenagers sexual encounters than you might imagine, but in line with all his other books Toast is a really good read with something for everyone.
If you have read his other books and are expecting another mouthwatering description of everything culinary then you are in for a shock as Slater re-lives his childhood.
Only covering his life up untill late teens/early twenties i wizzed through the pages and was left wanting more. Perhaps that is the best sign of a good book.
If you are buying this for a food lover, perhpas someone who has enjoyed Nigel Slater before, go for it, but be aware it doesn't follow completely in his previous books footsteps!
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I laughed at every single page in the opening chapters. The descriptions of growing up in Middle England, with its associated food snobberies are ruthlessly accurate. Perhaps that's why so many of us 30-somethings are obsessed with the latest food innovations - we are desperate to obliterate memories of childhood salads of ham, boiled egg and lettuce leaf.
However, Slater is also tender in his descriptions of his mother and her struggles with her health, and remarkably honest about his relationship with his step mother. Having always admired his food writing, his honesty and directness shine through here, too. But be warned - you may never want to eat in a provincial hotel dining room again, EU regulations or no!
A remarkable tale of growing up from a remarkable personality.
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73 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wake up in the morning and all you want is Toast 24 Sep 2003
Page one I was laughing out loud - by spaghetti I had tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks as I read extracts to my wife in between drying my eyes because I was laughing so hard.
The last book that made me laugh out loud was catch 22 - Toast is far easier to read and far more funny.
This book is a splendid multi course feast of events catalogued by food - Nigel you are a master story teller. If you remember your childhood with taste and smell this is the book for you - I'm only glad that we did not have our own Aunt Fanny.
10 out of 10 - you must read this pungent book.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really drags up all those childhood memories 12 Jun 2004
By A Customer
I am a fan of Nigel Slaters cookery writing and was eager to see how he fared writing a memoir about his childhood. 'Toast' is an absolute delight. One one level it is a simple, pacy read divided up into short chapters, each covering a different memory, cleverly using the conceit of food- the texture, smells, flavours to tell the story of his childhood in 60's suburban England. Yet Toast is so much more than this. Slater had, and this was unknown to me before I started the book, a tragic childhood. His mother died when he was young and he grew up enduring a difficult relationship with his father and stepmother who grated with him from the start. The use of food overlays these memories as Slater describes his mother's rock hard Christmas cake and warm stacks of buttery toast- the ultimate sign of a mother's love for her son, and the difficult times after her death as his father struggles to use ready made products to nourish his son. All the difficulties of growing up are discussed- sex, relationships, friendship, bereavement, frustration, anxiety, lonliness, love- and 'Toast' weaves these into a heartwarming story about a young boy developing what would become a lifelong gourmet passion, trying to make his way in a difficult world.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Aroused lots of fond memories.
Published 12 days ago by Margaret Iversen
4.0 out of 5 stars Food is such an emotive subject and this story illustrates that...
Evocative of my own childhood. Food is such an emotive subject and this story illustrates that beautifully and sadly
Published 13 days ago by Will Skillen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reread this on holiday recently and enjoyed it even more than the first time!
Published 14 days ago by Top Cat
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 17 days ago by AnnaWilliamson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
lovely to have Nigel Slater's voice in my head as i read this
Published 20 days ago by Alisaspain
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant book. Well worth the read
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. S. Sharkey
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb read
If you love Nigel, you'll love this book! I couldn't put this down and managed to read it in a whole weekend. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Caz
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable read
From the first to the last page excellent read..humorous, touching story..loved the descriptions of food as he was growing true, took me back a few years. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sally
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Enjoyed the book, good memories of food plus bit of an insight into his childhood. Would have liked more about his life.
Published 3 months ago by JK8
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing read
I purchased this book to find out more about Nigel Slater, but found out more about his fascination with food. Food lover's will get more out of this book than I did. Read more
Published 4 months ago by No1Bruce fan
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You can’t smell a hug. You can’t hear a cuddle. But if you could, I reckon it would smell and sound of warm bread-and-butter pudding. &quote;
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‘I don’t know what you want to look at that for,’ said Mum once, coming home early and catching me gazing at a photograph of Gammon Steaks with Pineapple and Cherries. ‘It’s all very fancy, I can’t imagine who cooks like that.’ There was duck à l’orange and steak-and-kidney pudding, fish pie, beef Wellington and rock cakes, fruit flan and crème caramel. There was page after &quote;
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In later years my stepmother was to suggest a sprinkling of multicoloured hundreds and thousands. She might as well have suggested changing his daily paper to the Mirror. &quote;
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