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Under a Mackerel Sky Paperback – 28 Aug 2014
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"Stein’s brilliant memoir traces his halcyon days spent in Australia, culminating on his home turf, Cornwall." (The Daily Telegraph The Daily Telegraph)
"Dealing with his father's suicide by heading for the outback, catching a freighter from New Zealand to New York, running a nightclub: Stein has plenty to talk about before he gets to fish restaurants in Padstow and becoming a fixture of food TV. His fine autobiography never shies away from that defining tragedy and how it rippled through his life, even revealing his sudden need, last summer, to swim to the Cornish cliffs where his dad died." (Allan Jenkins and Gareth Grundy The Observer Food Monthly)
The wry, perceptive and brilliantly evocative memoir of one of Britain’s best-loved cooksSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Under a Mackerel Sky (a sign of bad weather) gives a strong account of his life, priveleged to a point, but this is never a divisive issue. He is not the hero of the book - his family and friends are. And the late, great Chalky, of course. Because of this we are able to see the young man trying to get over his father's suicide, his own insecurity, and his need to 'tough it out'. His mother must have been a very strong woman and comes across as such. She is worth his praise which is heartfelt.
He tends to be the lummox in his stories and he deals with self-doubt as do I - meet it head on and nut it: not terribly wise but very much the essence of a stubborn man. He treats his first wife, and business partner, with respect and levels no criticism at her. He sets himself up as the target for frowns if required, but he seems to me to be pretty honest. His slow rise to fame, by hard work and bloody mindedness shows grit. His success should show him he is a liked man, and the book shows he just may have reached a point where he can relax a little.
He is very proud of his children, extended family and friends and gives them all great value in this autobiography. There is enough about cooking, travel and culinary exploration to satisfy foodies, and enough about Padstow to bolster the local economy for years to come. Overall this is a very good read and he is a far better writer than he may realise. My only hope is he writes another with Chalky as the hero.
I highly recomment this book.
Like a football match this is a book of 2 halves. The 1st half before Rick Stein starts opening restaurants is a good read and enjoyable. The 2nd half however when Rick Stein starts his restaurants is, I regret pretentious twaddle. How anybody believes that listing names of wines and foods is interesting to the reader I have no idea. Furthermore I note the early in the biography Rick Stein states he wanted to be a journalist. Luckily nothing ever materialised and I'm pleased he did not succeed as the writing here is very poor. I could not see him even succeeding at a local newspaper.
One thing that really annoys me about books nowadays is when the author takes quotes from other books. I never find that interesting and often I wonder why they do it unless it for ego.It's like look at me I'm well educated! It adds nothing to the book in this case.
Talking about ego, Rick Stein repeats several times that people and journalists now refer to Padstow as Padstein. I read and have read quite a lot of newspapers and have been to Padstow on a number of occasions but I've never heard of this and wonder again if this is ego massaging.
The last few chapters deal with the breakup of his marriage and the way it is written Rick Stein seems rather proud that he dropped Jill, his wife of 20 odd years who had stood by him through thick and thin and married Sass whom he met on a restaurant reviewing panel whilst in Australia. Rick Stein tries to make you sympathise with his position but to be honest, even from his the death of his father, I feel absolutely nothing.Read more ›
I was not especially interested in his family background, his schooling and his teenage girlfriends but did enjoy hearing about his travels to Australia, Greece, United States, Mexico. There followed his early entrepreneurial ventures and his first attempts at running a restaurant. He was very honest about his own shortcomings and past mistakes. The bonhomie he exudes on TV is obviously not the whole picture!
In the acknowledgements he thanks his editor - but his writing certainly rambled in parts and could have done with a bit more pruning.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read Rick's book with interest, having worked for him and Jill in 1976 - there is a typo on about page 151, as it was definitely not 1975. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mary Lunnen
Extremely interesting, easy reading, an honest view from Rick, of his family and working life. Thoroughly enjoyable, a book to read over and over again. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Interesting book, bit near the bone in parts but a good insight of Rick's early life.Published 4 months ago by jersey lilly