"Toast: The Story of a Boy's Hunger"
by Nigel Slater
Reading history and reviews
Finished in 2007Another book that my friend Steve forced me to borrow, and that I put off reading for ages (ironically Steve agreed with me that the cover had also put him off reading it at first). In the end I only started reading it in order to be able to return it to Steve when I was due to see him in early December, but it turned out to be really great. Essentially this is an autobiography of Nigel Slater, or at least his early life, and it doesn't matter that most people probably don't know who he really is (he's a food writer in the UK). The story of his life is told via connections with various foods - including the eponymous (burnt) toast his mother makes for him. Food is the unifying thread that runs through his stories like music runs through Nick Hornby's life in 31 Songs - it's his passion, and like music it's one that most of us share (he won me over with his description of bread and butter pudding). At the same time the stories about growing up - many of them almost vignettes - also reminded me a bit of Black Swan Green, and there were also some interesting descriptions about what goes on behind the scenes at hotel restaurants. So overall it was a really great read (although in the end I didn't actually manage to finish it in time to give back to Steve).