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Toast by Nigel Slater


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A 2011 World Book Night selection.

This is a coming of age with a difference – a culinary pilgrimage through the extraordinary childhood of award-winning food writer Nigel Salter. Moving and humorous in turn, it captures the tastes, treats and torments of daily life in '60s suburban England.

Our Editorial Guru, Sarah Broadhurst, has suggested others book and authors that would be perfect for you to read next or to pass on the recommendation - so your gift will keep on giving enjoyment. Her selection for this title is: Jackie Kay.


Toast by Nigel Slater

The Sunday Times Bestseller, and the biggest memoir of the year, from Britain's best loved food writer. TOAST is Nigel Slater's truly extraordinary story of a childhood remembered through food. Whether relating his mother's ritual burning of the toast, his father's dreaded Boxing Day stew or such culinary highlights of the day as Arctic Roll and Grilled Grapefruit (then considered somehting of a status symbol in Wolverhampton) this remarkable memoir vividly recreates daily life in sixties surburban England.

His mother was a chops-and-peas sort of cook, exasperated by the highs and lows of a temperamental AGA, a finicky little son and the asthma that was to prove fatal. His father was a honey-and-crumpets man who could occasionally go off 'crack' like a gun. 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 and amusing backdrop to this incredibly moving and deliciously evocative memoir of childhood, adolescence and sexual awakening.


'Acutely observed, poignant and beautifully written...Slater tells his heartbreaking story with great subtlety. The theme of food and love is a fascinating one and I have never seen it better handled.'
Daily Telegraph

'He recreates with moving honesty and laugh-out-loud comedy the hopes and fears of boyhood. Remarkable.'

Toast connects emotions, memory and taste buds. Genius

Lynne Truss, Sunday Times

'A talent for prose as simple and pleasurable as his recipes.

Sunday Telegraph

'Exquisitely written...You read this remarkable memoir partly cringing, partly marvelling at Slater's hallucinogenic retrieval of times past. He is the Proust of the Nesquik era.


'It achieves a remarkable freshness...[and] reveals a gift for doleful, Alan Bennett-like comedy.


`This touching memoir proves [Slater] is more than a cookery writer. Its emotional impact will touch a chord with many.

Sunday Mirror

`Wonderful, precise...extraordinary.

Matthew Fort

`It's bitter-sweet, it's a book to be consumed in a single sitting, a book that slips down really nicely. However you want to put it, Toast is delicious.

The Oldie

About the Author

Nigel Slater

Nigel Slater is one of Britain's most highly regarded food writers. His beautifully written prose, warm personality and unpretentious, easy-to-follow recipes have won him a huge following.

He is the author of a collection of much loved cookery books: Real Fast Food (1992), The 30 Minute Cook (1994), Real Good Food (1995) and Real Cooking (1997). He writes an award winning weekly column in the Observer and edits their Food Monthly supplement. His weekly Observer column is syndicated internationally and he is a regular contributor to Sainsbury's The Magazine.

Real Fast Food was shortlisted for the André Simon Award. Real Cooking' was shortlisted for a Glenfiddich Award and The 30-Minute Cook was shortlisted for both the Glenfiddich and Julia Child Awards. He has won the Cookery Writer of the Year Award, Media Personality of the Year and the Glenfiddich Trophy.

Real Food, published in September 1998, accompanied an eight-part Channel 4 TV series, and was based upon the eight ingredients about which he is especially passionate. Real Food was awarded the 1999 Glenfiddich Award for Best Visual Work (photography by Jonathan Lovekin and art direction by Nigel Slater), and Nigel was also awarded the 1999 Best Newspaper Cookery Journalist. Appetite by Nigel Slater was a hardback bestseller in autumn 2000 and won the André Simon Cookbook of the Year Award.

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Book Info

Publication date

16th April 2004


Nigel Slater

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Harpercollins Publishers


256 pages


Biography / Autobiography
eBook Favourites

General cookery & recipes



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