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Toast

The Story of a Boy's Hunger
Narrated by: Nigel Slater
Length: 6 hrs and 1 min
4 out of 5 stars (160 ratings)

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Summary

A Richard and Judy Book Club Selection.

Britain's most popular cook describes his personal culinary odyssey, from dangerous encounters with his mother's weevil-seasoned cakes to being harangued by readers who think he deliberately styles Yorkshire puddings to look like a woman's private parts.

Hilarious, irreverent, and mouthwatering, Toast captures 30 years of British cooking and the recipes that we have grown up with since the days when a grilled grapefruit was the last word in dinner party chic. Everyone has gorged on cake mix, endured disastrous dinner parties, and put up with the loved one who can only ever produce burnt toast. Nigel Slater is no different.

Hair-raising accounts of hotels modeled on Fawlty Towers, the mystery of the disappearing condom and the seafood cocktail, and many more, take readers behind the scenes of British cuisine to reveal the unlikely origins of our foremost cook.

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©2003 Nigel Slater (P)2004 HarperCollins UK

Critic reviews

"Moving, funny, and finely crafted, this is a true gem." ( Independent)
"[ Toast] achieves a remarkable freshness...and [Nigel Slater] also reveals a gift for doleful, Alan Bennet-like comedy." ( The Guardian)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Good book aweful quality recording

A book that conjures up memories of childhood - poignant and moving at times with comic turns - Slater narrates well but the recording (even when downloaded using highest quality), is appalling and sounds like someone has recorded it an their mobile phone. Gets a 4 for content but a 2 for quality.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A moving autobiography leavened by humour

I found it difficult to give a star-rating to this book: Nigel Slater's writing and reading of his book merit five stars, however I found his understandable bitterness about his unhappy childhood moving, but also unsettling in that it felt as if I was listening to a patient speaking to a therapist. I hope he found this candid exposure of his feelings and sexual experiences cathartic. I'm glad I've read his Kitchen Diaries book so that I know he has found contentment in his later life. I hope he writes the next part of his autobiography.

His memories of food in the 1950s and 60s made this 50 something chuckle with recognition! The descriptions of his developing interest in good food and acquiring his cooking skills are a pleasure to hear about and give an insight into how his easy-going style of cookery evolved and how genuine his delight in producing enjoyable food for himself and other people.


5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Angel Delight

A real delight. Nigel Slater is the perfect narrator - his humourous, wry and self-deprecating style instantly engages. This warm, funny, yet heart-wrenching memoir is a hugely entertaining and satisfying listen, especially for anyone nostalgic for Angel Delight and Bourbon biscuits.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Great Book Shame About the Audio

I would have given it a 4/5 but for the muffled audio (even at best quality). The content is brilliant - I am a real Slater fan so this comes as no surprise - but I found it hard to lose myself in his vivid imagery because of the annoyingly bad recording. How frustrating. Still, it is an engaging listen. BTW although a foodie book it's not really about food - if you are looking for one of those he's written plenty of others.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A Real Feast

Nigel Slater's warm and funny autobiography is a real joy. Initally I was worried that the food theme would become waring and annoying. It did not as it acts as punctuation to the events that shaped his young life. At times hilarious and at others very sad Slater is very honest about some events that others would write out of their own life story. Throughly recommended, the only reason I give it 4 stars is because I'm hoping to encourage a sequel.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Growing up with food

Autobiographies become interesting when you hear how people have grown up rather than which celebrities they have met. Nigel Slater has produced a remarkable account of his early years which he relates to his memories of particular foods, tastes or smells. A truly enjoyable book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Easy listen

I'd seen the Film adaptation on TV. So though I'd have a go at the audio book Far more detail and at times moving.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Love this read by Nigel Slater

Would you consider the audio edition of Toast to be better than the print version?

I think its an added bonus to have Nigel Slater read his own memoir. He brings it alive and we fully enter into his childhood and connect with his memories triggered by food - foods which date us - like tinned steak and kidney pies! It's a moving and beautifully read book which made me want to follow Slater's culinery work but before listening I knew little about him and was solely attracted by the concept of the memoir.

What did you like best about this story?

It uses food to trigger memory - good and bad memories - and allows us to re-imagine our own childhood through those triggers. His memory of his Mother's 'bad' cooking - her burnt toast - and his description of his loneliness as a child works extremely well.

What about Nigel Slater’s performance did you like?

He reads his own words with life and colour. You believe him when he relives his childhood and his horror of eggs and his father's battle to get him to 'man' up and eat them. Slater writes and reads well and memoirs are particularly well served by the author reading them.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Toast works well for me! It's used with impact in the book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Nostalgia or what??

oh gosh. absolutely wonderful. felt like a trip back in time for me...reminded me so much of my own child hood in a lot of ways. Dandelion and burdock...no mention of Tizer though Nigel??

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fabulous

What a fantastic book. Really love Nigel Slater. Write another Nigel. Superb. Really recommend this.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 19-04-18

Moving and makes you hungry

A superhero origins story of how a lonely boy who lost his mother ultimately became one of the great food writers.

As expected, Slater writes beautifully concise yet evocative prose, and this book will give those of us who grew up in Britain in the 70s multiple Proustian flashbacks of long-forgotten food items.

Slater isn't a particularly good reader (too many wrongly-stressed words for my taste), but it doesn't matter too much because his personal stake in the writing makes it extremely moving.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ali
  • 30-01-17

not quite what I have expected

did well describing every bit of detail and wonderfully narrating the material. yet the content was not quite what you would expect of a autobiography of this guy!