36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
A childhood blighted by food,
This review is from: Toast: The Story of a Boy's Hunger (Paperback)
I heard this book on Radio 4's A Good Read where all three reviewers had enjoyed it immensely. When I bought and read it, for once I totally agreed with them, for this is a very funny and interesting book from a top food writer. The book is autobiographical but Nigel Slater tells the story of his childhood and youth through the food he ate and prepared. Each of the short chapters is named after a particular dish (Rice Pudding, Butterscotch Angel Delight, Candy Floss etc) and contains a story about a time when he ate those particular foods. For someone who lived through the same period Nigel was brought up in, this mean that many memories of 1950s, 60s and 70s dishes are revived in all their awfulness (and in some case, delight).
Nigel's mother suffered from chronic asthma and never mastered the skills of cooking and so eating at home was a mixed experience to say the least, particularly for a finnicky child like Nigel who hated so many foods (including milk). His accounts of school dinners is also memorable, and especially his experience of giving his school mik away to other children only to have his teacher call him to the front of the class one day to drink his milk in public (with predictable results).
The book follows Nigel's progress through school and into his first jobs in the catering trade. By the end, the reader will have developed a great deal of sympathy for Nigel and his problems with British cooking in the period he writes of. Fortunately he has dedicated his life to raising the standards which caused him so much trouble in his youth!