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....
His mother was a chops-and-peas sort of cook, exasperated by the highs and lows of a temperamental stove, a finicky little son, and the asthma that was to prove fatal. His father was a honey-and-crumpets man with an unpredictable temper. When Nigel’s widowed father takes on a housekeeper with social aspirations and a talent in the kitchen, the following years become a heartbreaking cooking contest for his father’s affections. But as he slowly loses the battle, Nigel finds a new outlet for his culinary talents, and we witness the birth of what was to become a lifelong passion for food. Nigel’s likes and dislikes, aversions and sweet-toothed weaknesses, form a fascinating backdrop to this exceptionally moving memoir of childhood, adolescence, and sexual awakening.
A bestseller (more than 300,000 copies sold) and award-winner in the UK, Toast is sure to delight both foodies and memoir readers on this side of the pond—especially those who made such enormous successes of Ruth Reichl’s Tender at the Bone and Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential.
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"Nigel Slater at his unpretentious, delicious best." –Nigella Lawson, author of How to Be a Domestic Goddess
"His writing could not be more palate-cleansing… his acidic riffs put you in mind of Nick Hornby, Martin Amis and Philip Larkin all at the same time." – The New York Times
"Nigel is a genius." –Jamie Oliver, author of Jamie’s Kitchen, The Naked Chef, and Happy Days with the Naked Chef
"Nigel Slater's Toast is an exceptional book. It brilliantly weaves hungers together: belly hunger, sexual hunger, and the hunger for love and loss. I loved every page and the poignancy of being a child is dead on." –Jane Stern, author of Ambulance Girl, coauthor of Roadfood, and contributing editor at Gourmet magazine
"I enjoyed every moment of reading Nigel Slater's Toast. It's hard to imagine a more elegantly rendered memoir of growing up. Funny, poignant, artful, erotic, sad, a story conveyed through intelligent and unsentimental prose—the book is a jewel." –Michael Ruhlman, author of The Soul of a Chef
" Toast is a remarkable story of a young man's life, and the food that nourished it. Well written, lively and engaging." –Marie Simmons, author of Fig Heaven
"The genius of his food writing comes from an obvious belief that food and happiness share the same organ in the brain." –Lynne Truss
"Convincing, engaging, and rich with detail, Slater’s prose lets readers taste the pink marshmallows, smell the freshly baked oat cookies, and feel the crunch of the green beans. Paced as superbly as a seven-course meal, [Toast is] able to engage the heart and the memory as well as the taste buds.-- Publishers Weekly
"A banquet of unlikely delectations… England’s answer to Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential." – Daily Telegraph (UK)
"No one writes more temptingly about food." – The Independent (UK)
"An inspired memoir, boil-in-the-bag Proust!" –Tim Adams, Observer (UK)
"This artful, disconcerting, endearing book deserves a place in the literature of childhood unhappiness and survival against the odds." – Daily Telegraph (UK)
"A vivid record of people whose lives never warrant the study of historians, biographers or even novelists... wonderful... extraordinary." –Matthew Fort, The Observer (UK)
"Nigel Slater's Toast eats its way through a difficult childhood... this is an ingenious and touching treat." –Hermione Lee, Times Literary Supplement Books of the Year 2003 (UK)
"Utterly irresistible… You read this remarkable memoir partly cringing, partly marvelling at Slater’s hallucinogenic retrieval off times past. He is the Proust of the Nesquik Era. – Independent Books of the Year (UK)
"Proves he can write mouth-wateringly about families and life, too: I gobbled it up." – Daily Telegraph Books of the Year (UK)
"Toast follows a recipe—boyhood blues without bitterness—that looks simple yet is actually hard to pull off. Slater manages it." –Guardian (UK)
"Delightful… singular and original." –Evening Standard (UK)
Nigel Slater is the author of several classic cookbooks, including Real Fast Food and the award-winning Appetite. He has written a much-loved column for The Observer (London) for more than a decade and has been described by the media as a national treasure. He lives in London.
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