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Toast : The Story of a Boy's Hunger

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"Toast" is Slater's extraordinary story of a childhood remembered through food. A bestseller and award-winner in the United Kingdom, "Toast" is sure to delight both foodies and memoir readers on this side of the pond.

Customer Review Snapshot

4 out of 5 stars
28 total reviews
5 stars
7
4 stars
16
3 stars
3
2 stars
1
1 star
1
Most helpful positive review
Nigel Slater's memoir told around the meals he shared with his family may be unique in its style and the childhood remembrances of joy at the simple pleasures instilled by food. For anyone of a certain age it will spike the memory, and for those too young to know what people used to eat it will be a history lesson told with real humour. His recollection of the dreaded crates of (often warm) yucky milk that would arrive at school is one I share, only had it been me made to stand at the front of the class until I drank it all, I would have stood there all day rather than even make the attempt. It's hard to believe we used to consume even half these things, even more difficult to believe a few still exist. Along with stories of how children caught diseases such as measles and mumps (not in the book but when one child caught something, the others sent round to make sure they caught it too so they all got it over and done with) with no talk of vaccinations may sound shocking now, but was a commonplace occurrence then. He tells some of these memories with the innocent callousness only a child can muster; as an adult Slater has said he regretted being so harsh, but I think it's forgivable as these are childhood recollections not tempered with time and understanding, more real for all that.

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"Toast" is Slater's extraordinary story of a childhood remembered through food. A bestseller and award-winner in the United Kingdom, "Toast" is sure to delight both foodies and memoir readers on this side of the pond.
'My mother is scraping a piece of burned toast out of the kitchen window a crease of annoyance across her forehead. This is not an occasional occurrence. My mother burns the toast as surely as the sun rises each morning.' 'Toast' is Nigel Slater's award-winning biography of a childhood remembered through food. Whether recalling his mother's surprisingly good rice pudding his father's bold foray into spaghetti and his dreaded Boxing Day stew or such culinary highlights as Arctic Roll and Grilled Grapefruit (then considered something of a status symbol in Wolverhampton) this remarkable memoir vividly recreates daily life in 1960s suburban England. Likes and dislikes aversions and sweet-toothed weaknesses form a fascinating backdrop to Nigel Slater's incredibly moving and deliciously evocative portrait of childhood adolescence and sexual awakening.

Specifications

Publisher
Harper Perennial
Book Format
Paperback
Original Languages
English
Number of Pages
247
Author
Nigel Slater
ISBN-13
9781841154718
Publication Date
April, 2004
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
7.76 x 5.12 x 0.67 Inches
ISBN-10
1841154717

Customer Reviews

5 stars
7
4 stars
16
3 stars
3
2 stars
1
1 star
1
Most helpful positive review
Nigel Slaters memoir ...
Nigel Slater's memoir told around the meals he shared with his family may be unique in its style and the childhood remembrances of joy at the simple pleasures instilled by food. For anyone of a certain age it will spike the memory, and for those too young to know what people used to eat it will be a history lesson told with real humour. His recollection of the dreaded crates of (often warm) yucky milk that would arrive at school is one I share, only had it been me made to stand at the front of the class until I drank it all, I would have stood there all day rather than even make the attempt. It's hard to believe we used to consume even half these things, even more difficult to believe a few still exist. Along with stories of how children caught diseases such as measles and mumps (not in the book but when one child caught something, the others sent round to make sure they caught it too so they all got it over and done with) with no talk of vaccinations may sound shocking now, but was a commonplace occurrence then. He tells some of these memories with the innocent callousness only a child can muster; as an adult Slater has said he regretted being so harsh, but I think it's forgivable as these are childhood recollections not tempered with time and understanding, more real for all that.
Most helpful negative review
Would of liked it more...
Would of liked it more if the author had not undermined himself at times. Obviously I feel pretty sorry for him and I respect the humour with which he distances himself from what was an awful childhood on the whole, but it was rather repetitive and the sum of the parts did not add up to anything special - and I think handled better it might have. But it whiled away some long train journeys fairly pleasantly, even given the uncomfortable nature of much of it.
Most helpful positive review
Nigel Slaters memoir ...
Nigel Slater's memoir told around the meals he shared with his family may be unique in its style and the childhood remembrances of joy at the simple pleasures instilled by food. For anyone of a certain age it will spike the memory, and for those too young to know what people used to eat it will be a history lesson told with real humour. His recollection of the dreaded crates of (often warm) yucky milk that would arrive at school is one I share, only had it been me made to stand at the front of the class until I drank it all, I would have stood there all day rather than even make the attempt. It's hard to believe we used to consume even half these things, even more difficult to believe a few still exist. Along with stories of how children caught diseases such as measles and mumps (not in the book but when one child caught something, the others sent round to make sure they caught it too so they all got it over and done with) with no talk of vaccinations may sound shocking now, but was a commonplace occurrence then. He tells some of these memories with the innocent callousness only a child can muster; as an adult Slater has said he regretted being so harsh, but I think it's forgivable as these are childhood recollections not tempered with time and understanding, more real for all that.
Most helpful negative review
Would of liked it more...
Would of liked it more if the author had not undermined himself at times. Obviously I feel pretty sorry for him and I respect the humour with which he distances himself from what was an awful childhood on the whole, but it was rather repetitive and the sum of the parts did not add up to anything special - and I think handled better it might have. But it whiled away some long train journeys fairly pleasantly, even given the uncomfortable nature of much of it.
1-5 of 28 reviews

Slaters Toast awoke i...

Slater's Toast awoke in me so many past food feelings from my own childhood not just from his sumptuous descriptions of his own past life but because of the proximity our lives shared in the fact that we were raised in towns barely eight miles apart and are within two years of being the same age. The descriptions of past memories of sweets reminded me so much of my childhood, and I think would resonant more with a British audience than American.My mother, as his, did not enjoy the preparation of food, and while for Slater that led to a life of exploration in food, for me not so much. This is why I enjoyed this book. Not only is it a tell-all tale of a youth hungering for the love of a father that was only occasionally available but one of a life of exuberance, a life that becomes filled with the joy of finding your niche in life and wallowing in it wholeheartedly. If only we all could find that space in our life.Slater normally writes books on cooking, with recipes, so this was a brave soul-searching stab at a new venture that lets us in on why he is so good at what he does.

Slaters Toast awoke i...

Slater's Toast awoke in me so many past food feelings from my own childhood not just from his sumptuous descriptions of his own past life but because of the proximity our lives shared in the fact that we were raised in towns barely eight miles apart and are within two years of being the same age. The descriptions of past memories of sweets reminded me so much of my childhood, and I think would resonant more with a British audience than American.My mother, as his, did not enjoy the preparation of food, and while for Slater that led to a life of exploration in food, for me not so much. This is why I enjoyed this book. Not only is it a tell-all tale of a youth hungering for the love of a father that was only occasionally available but one of a life of exuberance, a life that becomes filled with the joy of finding your niche in life and wallowing in it wholeheartedly. If only we all could find that space in our life.Slater normally writes books on cooking, with recipes, so this was a brave soul-searching stab at a new venture that lets us in on why he is so good at what he does.

Slaters Toast awoke i...

Slater's Toast awoke in me so many past food feelings from my own childhood not just from his sumptuous descriptions of his own past life but because of the proximity our lives shared in the fact that we were raised in towns barely eight miles apart and are within two years of being the same age. The descriptions of past memories of sweets reminded me so much of my childhood, and I think would resonant more with a British audience than American.My mother, as his, did not enjoy the preparation of food, and while for Slater that led to a life of exploration in food, for me not so much. This is why I enjoyed this book. Not only is it a tell-all tale of a youth hungering for the love of a father that was only occasionally available but one of a life of exuberance, a life that becomes filled with the joy of finding your niche in life and wallowing in it wholeheartedly. If only we all could find that space in our life.Slater normally writes books on cooking, with recipes, so this was a brave soul-searching stab at a new venture that lets us in on why he is so good at what he does.

A series of short pers...

A series of short personal memories, mostly food related. Some are sweet, as Slater remembers his mother's awful cooking with fondness, and after her death, his father's attempts to feed his son and comfort him. Some memories are steeped in anger or anxiety, especially when a new woman entered his father's life, and some food memories deal with his happiness upon starting his culinary career. Very intimate and very English, I enjoyed this nearly as much as my previous read from the author, Eating for England.

Nigel Slaters memoir ...

Nigel Slater's memoir told around the meals he shared with his family may be unique in its style and the childhood remembrances of joy at the simple pleasures instilled by food. For anyone of a certain age it will spike the memory, and for those too young to know what people used to eat it will be a history lesson told with real humour. His recollection of the dreaded crates of (often warm) yucky milk that would arrive at school is one I share, only had it been me made to stand at the front of the class until I drank it all, I would have stood there all day rather than even make the attempt. It's hard to believe we used to consume even half these things, even more difficult to believe a few still exist. Along with stories of how children caught diseases such as measles and mumps (not in the book but when one child caught something, the others sent round to make sure they caught it too so they all got it over and done with) with no talk of vaccinations may sound shocking now, but was a commonplace occurrence then. He tells some of these memories with the innocent callousness only a child can muster; as an adult Slater has said he regretted being so harsh, but I think it's forgivable as these are childhood recollections not tempered with time and understanding, more real for all that.

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