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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
As a boy, Nigel Slater was a keen observer of the forces that gave him a love of food -- a passion that would propel him toward his destiny as one of England's celebrated chefs. From shy little boy to novice cook to eager disciple of a worldly student at a culinary school with French pretensions, Slater's memoir traces his journey through the lens of comestibles.
Slater relates his formative years through individual anecdotes with a focus on food: the discovery of it, the times it was withheld or awful, the moments of food-fueled bliss. Slater's writing is as authentically childlike as the memories he recalls, infusing his prose with bittersweet honesty mixed well with moments of hilarity. A finicky eater at seven, Slater grows up to remember every brand name, every foodie detail, with striking clarity.
Slater's mother, a cook of the meat-and-potatoes variety, dies when he is just a boy, taking along her small son's sole emotional support. When Slater finds himself even more marginalized in his small family by a new stepmother who sets her sights on removing him from the picture, his response is to make his way in the world, one broiled steak platter at a time.
Toast is a strongly evocative account of a lonely childhood, and the comfort and sensuous nature of food that made life bearable for a sensitive boy who was destined to triumph. (Holiday 2004 Selection)