August 17th, 2008

food

Sweet and Sour




It’s just as well that Nigel Slater is never likely to be standing behind me in the checkout queue at the Co-op; I’m the woman who annoys him, the one ferreting around in her purse for the right change. A lot of things annoy our Nigel, from Guardian readers to carpet slippers and other signs of age. The point of Eating for England, though, is memory. It reminds us exactly how to unwrap a Dairylea cheese triangle, a Kit Kat or a Tunnocks Teacake and how to fold up the empty foil case from a custard tart (yes! I do that!). Slater’s food icons are roast beef, a full English and, of course, toast but he also celebrates what most food writers would see as an appalling weakness for ready made, processed foods; this is refreshingly honest of him. The book is irritable, repetitive, episodic, not as good as Toast but ultimately very endearing.