About tapioca This is the most vile thing I have ever put in my mouth, like someone has stirred frog spawn into wallpaper paste I love my library s used book sale because I find random things I never would have heard of otherwise This is a sad and funny memoir about growing up obsessed with food At first I thought it was going to be a male, foodie version of Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life or A Girl Named Zippyan entertaining memoir of a childhood in which nothing much scary or trag About tapioca This is the most vile thing I have ever put in my mouth, like someone has stirred frog spawn into wallpaper paste I love my library s used book sale because I find random things I never would have heard of otherwise This is a sad and funny memoir about growing up obsessed with food At first I thought it was going to be a male, foodie version of Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life or A Girl Named Zippyan entertaining memoir of a childhood in which nothing much scary or tragic happens I was wrong I don t want porridge You can t eat it because it s so hot Then you can t eat it because it s so cold The difference between the two is barely three minutes When you catch porridge at the right moment it is like being wrapped in a cashmere blanket A food so comforting and soul warming you imagine there is no problem on earth that it could not solve And then, when you are halfway through the bowl, it cools I m giving this one a fourth star because Slater really does write well however, he became progressively bitchier as the book went on His world fell apart when his mother died when he was 10, which is understandable, though not for the usual reasons He s fairly open about his ability to manipulate his parents, esp his mother Eventually, if I nagged persistently enough, they d get me what I wanted just as I d moved on to wanting something else usually sigh Life with his single fathe I m giving this one a fourth star because Slater really does write well however, he became progressively bitchier as the book went on His world fell apart when his mother died when he was 10, which is understandable, though not for the usual reasons He s fairly open about his ability to manipulate his parents, esp his mother Eventually, if I nagged persistently enough, they d get me what I wanted just as I d moved on to wanting something else usually sigh Life with his single father provedchallenging for him in that regard, and in the arrival of a step mother, Joan, he seems to have met his match.Having finished the story, I ve come to the conclusion that he was a self centered spoiled brat he was a virtual only child, with two brothers 15 years older He, himself, admits that Joan tried to befriend him on occasion, nor was his list of complaints of her tyrannical ways exactly a portrait of extreme cruelty at worst she was a neat freak OCD I d say that eventually Joan did despair of him, so that the self fulfilling prophecy that she disliked him came to pass A lot of psychological analysis, but it s a memoir from his perspective, that I found highly flawed Moreover, Nigel was either incredibly precocious, or frequently lets his adult self regularly permeate the story with value judgments For what it s worth, it seems he still feels aggrieved to this day, rather than letting things go, taking responsibility for his share of the personality mismatch He s exposed the demons, but not exorcised them.Back to the writing It s really good He has an incredible way with images, and he is often funny, without seeming contrived perhaps better on audio with inflection Also, I admire his honesty in relating some of the rather awkward incidents at the local car park shag central for example I read Eating for England first, which I recommend doing, and then going back to hear that clever author s story Autobiographical account of middle class 60s 70s childhood, as defined and recalled by particular foods and his mother s poor cooking except that it wasn t quite as bad as he makes out As he is the same age as me, many of the typical foods of his childhood have strong memories for me too surprise peas, angel delight, space dust It is subtitled A boy s hunger , and his hunger is emotional at least as much as it is culinary The result is sweet and sour There was a BBC TV adaptation in Dec Autobiographical account of middle class 60s 70s childhood, as defined and recalled by particular foods and his mother s poor cooking except that it wasn t quite as bad as he makes out As he is the same age as me, many of the typical foods of his childhood have strong memories for me too surprise peas, angel delight, space dust It is subtitled A boy s hunger , and his hunger is emotional at least as much as it is culinary The result is sweet and sour There was a BBC TV adaptation in December 2010 It is awful in comparison with the book because it has none of the balance and shades of grey that make the book so powerful and intriguing It looks authentic and thus familiar, but most of the food is incidental, leaving a muchdepressing story, especially because Joan step mother is portrayed as unremittingly unpleasant An interesting contrast is with David Mitchell s semi autobiographical novel, Black Swan Green, which is set in the same period, with a similar aged protagonist, and plenty too many nods to iconic 70s things Perhaps surprisingly, the chef does it better There is also Andrew Collins opposite of misery lit, Where Did it All go Right A delightful little memoir written by Britain s greatest food writer Written in bitesize chapters within a entire feast of words, Nigel Slater narrates with great honesty, wit and vividity hisstory of a boy s hunger , his sexual awakening, his culinary journey through childhood and adolesence in sixties suburban England Toast is flavoured with Nigel s favourite tastes and teenage torments, decorated with a dollop of pain and seasoned with a great big pinch of passion for food and eating wh A delightful little memoir written by Britain s greatest food writer Written in bitesize chapters within a entire feast of words, Nigel Slater narrates with great honesty, wit and vividity hisstory of a boy s hunger , his sexual awakening, his culinary journey through childhood and adolesence in sixties suburban England Toast is flavoured with Nigel s favourite tastes and teenage torments, decorated with a dollop of pain and seasoned with a great big pinch of passion for food and eating which ultimately fuels his emergence into the world of gastronomy Food writing, journalism, broadcasting, cookery books, I ll consume anything Nigel Slater puts his hand to so perhaps my review is a little biased Nevertheless, this memoir is delicious I wouldn t say this was a bad book but it was very different from my expectations I had expected something funny and tongue in cheek about growing up with a mother who couldn t cook.It s actually much darker, exploring a childhood stained with death and a dysfunctional step family There s also far too many references to various moments of sexual awakening It s hard to see how these are relevant sometimes, and they re certainly much less enjoyable to read than the stories about food.The main p I wouldn t say this was a bad book but it was very different from my expectations I had expected something funny and tongue in cheek about growing up with a mother who couldn t cook.It s actually much darker, exploring a childhood stained with death and a dysfunctional step family There s also far too many references to various moments of sexual awakening It s hard to see how these are relevant sometimes, and they re certainly much less enjoyable to read than the stories about food.The main problem I found was that for such a personal book, I wasn t endeared to the child He seemed tragic and pitiful I felt sympathetic to his loneliness and estrangement from his father, but as another reviewer puts it much better, he also comes across as a snobby, ungrateful brat and rather bitchy.I was also drawn to read this book as the first few chapters of this book are set in my home town but this didn t help me relate to him either.I found the book depressing, and far too laden with stories of his sexual awakening for me to recommend it to anyone This book brought back childhood memories Not that I was into hard to pronounce food names when I was growing up but reading the book made me think back of how it was when I was growing up in Quezon There is a part in Nigel s memory as a boy when he kept on discussing the odor of their house or the people in it Did our house in Quezon have an odor Maybe the odor of the sand as our house had no cement flooring then , beer and smoke as my father had those vices , copra just like the last ti This book brought back childhood memories Not that I was into hard to pronounce food names when I was growing up but reading the book made me think back of how it was when I was growing up in Quezon There is a part in Nigel s memory as a boy when he kept on discussing the odor of their house or the people in it Did our house in Quezon have an odor Maybe the odor of the sand as our house had no cement flooring then , beer and smoke as my father had those vices , copra just like the last time I visited , sea breeze as our town is in an island or combination of all Maybe people who are good cooks have special nose just like Nigel I could not remember the odor of our house so that should explain the reason why I am not a good cook.One of my most favorite boyhood memoirs is ANGELA S ASHES by the late he died last month Frank McCourt It was a poignant sad story of being dirt poor in Ireland This book, TOAST THE STORY OF A BOY S HUNGER is somewhat opposite as it is not just about being poor In Philippine standard of poor, the foods that Nigel was having, e.g., sherry tifle, jam tarts, spaghetti bolognese, etc were fit for the rich and famous Back in Quezon, when I was growing up, I remember having to divide an apple one Christmas day with my siblings this was before the import liberalization in the 80s and my mother making macaroni salad and chilling it inside a styrofoam with lots of ice because there was no electricity then in Quezon so there was no refrigerator The first time I had a Magnolia pinipig cruch was when I was already in my third year high school 1979 and I had to eat it right away because it had to come from Gumaca that was 45 minute motorboat ride from Quezon.Nigel being a neglected battered son when he was small added a bit of drama to the story I am sorry for him and I am glad that he was able to get over it and find happiness now that he is an adult The story ended abruptly but with finesse and it is an unconventional ending It reminded me of how John Steinbeck decided to end his famous novel, THE GRAPES OF WRATH the breast feeding scene Nigel Slater ended this book with this conversation There will be someone who ll ask you if you want a bed for the night soon enough What, just like that I asked Yes, son, he smiled You ll be fine, you ll just be fine It s just simply clever Just like telling that everything will be all right in the end without having to put a lot of drama just to deliver the message just like how Nicholas Sparks would end his novels I read that Nigel is a famous celebrity chef but he knows how to write No wonder this novel won the British Book Awards Biography of the Year I highly recommend this book to all food lovers who at the same time enjoy reading biographies This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here Wow, this is a real trip down memory lane lemon drops, Cadbury s chocolate MiniRolls, Battenberg cakes, Heinz Sponge Pudding.Nigel Slater writes well, and his passion for food lights up his writing He evokes with nostalgic poignancy the foods of yesteryear Well, some of the foods are still around today, but they seem to have been around foreverThe pi ce de r sistance was a grapefruit spiked with cocktail sticks holding cubes of cheese and pineapple..The worst of it was that everyoneWow, this is a real trip down memory lane lemon drops, Cadbury s chocolate MiniRolls, Battenberg cakes, Heinz Sponge Pudding.Nigel Slater writes well, and his passion for food lights up his writing He evokes with nostalgic poignancy the foods of yesteryear Well, some of the foods are still around today, but they seem to have been around foreverThe pi ce de r sistance was a grapefruit spiked with cocktail sticks holding cubes of cheese and pineapple..The worst of it was that everyone thought I had done the food He wants to be a chef, my father would say, as I held up the spiked grapefruit to the Masonic Worshipful Master s wife, who had a tight perm and lips like a cat s bottom When it came to offering the dreaded grapefruit to everyone else, I would throw my head in the air and flay my nostrils in disapproval.After all, if I had done the food, they would have had prunes wrapped in bacon If you opened a sachet of the original Space Dust and poured it into your mouth, the little citrus and chemical beads crackled and hissed like you had put your tongue on a battery If you poured three packets in at once, it was like putting your tongue on an electric fence This is probably why they changed the formula He also writes heart achingly about his childhood about a boy who has a tough time, losing his mum and gaining a step mum whose over riding ambition is to keep a clean and tidy house About a father who blows hot and cold, and who can be horribly strict at times About the idiocyncrasies and prejudices of life in a middle class household.The only things that marred my pleasure in this book was the amount of grubby sex that it contained yuk , and Slater s description of a particularly unsanitary hotel kitchen where he worked yuk, yuk, yuk I would recommend that chapter to anyone who thinks the Health and Safety brigade are over zealous His description was really stomach churning.All in all this was an enjoyable book I didn t fall head over heels in love with it as a lot of the critics did, but I thought it was a fun and moving read If you grew up in Britain in the 60s and 70s, you can open this book at any page and encounter a Proustian moment Spaghetti in those long blue packets, with instructions in Italian it was the only kind of pasta you could buy Grated Parmesan in carboard drums Daddy, this cheese smells like sick Yes, son, I think it must be off Steak Diane flambed at the table in smart restaurants Aztec bars, sherbet lemons, Curly Wurlies, licking the filling out of Walnut Whips, it s all there Nige If you grew up in Britain in the 60s and 70s, you can open this book at any page and encounter a Proustian moment Spaghetti in those long blue packets, with instructions in Italian it was the only kind of pasta you could buy Grated Parmesan in carboard drums Daddy, this cheese smells like sick Yes, son, I think it must be off Steak Diane flambed at the table in smart restaurants Aztec bars, sherbet lemons, Curly Wurlies, licking the filling out of Walnut Whips, it s all there Nigel s life seems defined by taste.This is a quick read, a brief, impressionistic autobiography from the age of around nine to sixteen It s quite surprising really that even when small, Nigel longed to be a chef His mother, who died when he was nine, hated cooking and wasn t good at it she burned the toast every day The family never went out to eat, except for rare splurges at a Berni Inn One of the saddest parts for me was that his new stepmother was an excellent cook, but while she was happy for Nigel to wash up and do chores, she would never let him share the pleasure she took in cooking, probably about the only chance they might have had to overcome their dislike of each other When he swapped woodwork for cookery classes at school, and brought home the results, she switched her baking day to Wednesdays, the day of his class, so that she could outshine him with perfect Victoria sponges, butterfly cakes, scones he took to handing out his cookery efforts on the bus home There are both hilarious and touching moments here The Guardian summed it up perfectly Boyhood blues without bitterness Definitely worth a read if you are a fan of Nigel This is another 3.5 star rating, but lacking the ability to split hairs on goodreads, I take it to the next level.What is painfully apparent from the first chapter of this book is that Nigel Slater lacked nourishment from the day he was born and remained that way until he reached adulthood and found his own reason for being He seems to have been born into a family which had refined the art of witholding what a growing boy needs proper nourishment in body or soul.From the first, we are i This is another 3.5 star rating, but lacking the ability to split hairs on goodreads, I take it to the next level.What is painfully apparent from the first chapter of this book is that Nigel Slater lacked nourishment from the day he was born and remained that way until he reached adulthood and found his own reason for being He seems to have been born into a family which had refined the art of witholding what a growing boy needs proper nourishment in body or soul.From the first, we are inundated with images of food and there are lots of empty calories here Rollos and sherry trifles Cadbury s Mini Rolls and jam tarts mashed potatoes and rice puddings lemon curd and treacle tarts crumpets and fruit cocktails swimming in syrup The list is an endless parade of boiled down dinners and Cap n Crunch breakfasts Admittedly, many of the British American Canadian post war children were raised on this fare, given the new availability of treats groaning on the supermarket shelves however, this emptiness was exacerbated in the Slater household by a twittery headed mother who couldn t boil water and a self centered Dad whose greatest comforts were found in endless jars of pickled walnuts, and inside his greenhouse, coddling pink begonias By the time I reached the chapter on Crumpets, I was starving, despite the groaning board presented before me I felt I had gained 10 lbs in emptiness I could only marvel that the little boy in this household survived to tell the tale Not only did he survive, but he became one of the best, most acclaimed chefs and food writers in the UK.The story is told strictly from his point of view a starving, angry, misunderstood little chap, who is quite clever, very funny at times, and desperate to get out of his prison It is told from the self centeredness of a child, with no room or not much for compassion and little insight into the world of adults One feels somehow shrunken to the height of a ten year old boy, feeling, seeing, tasting everything through his eyes, through his emotions You feel absolutely what it is to be a child again and to have no filter on one s emotions, and no control over one s life I read it in one sitting a fascinating, thought inducing way to spend a winter afternoon A deliciously evocation story of a childhood in s suburban England from one of the UK s best loved and bestselling food writers, Nigel Slater Toast is Nigel Slater s truly extraordinary story of a childhood remembered through food In each chapter, as he takes readers on a tour of the contents of his family s pantry rice pudding, tinned ham, cream soda, mince pies, lemon drops, bourbon biscuits we are transported