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Eating for England:
The Delights and Eccentricities of the British at the Table

by Nigel Slater

ISBN 0007199465 / 9780007199464 / 0-00-719946-5
Publisher Fourth Estate
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

How long does it take before somebody becomes a national treasure? Its certainly happened to Nigel Slater, and Eating for England is a highly enjoyable reminder of just why we esteem the estimable Mr Slater. Subtitled The Delights & Eccentricities of the British at Table, this is wonderfully entertaining stuff, explaining such matters as how some of our most cherished foods are the result of frugality (bread and butter pudding, for instance, is the direct result of utilising a few slices of leftover bread and a pat of butter, rather than culinary aspiration). As Slater points out, the British have a relationship with food which is quite unlike that of any other nation -- for many years, we were reluctant to discuss food matters (leaving culinary discussion to, for instance, the French), but we now appear to be in the grip of a national food obsession, with program after program on television and -- inevitably -- a host of books on the subject. But few are written as entertainingly as Nigel Slaters. It isn't just the discussion of food itself (from haute cuisine to the humblest of comfort foods) thats so diverting here, but other sociological (and tongue-in-cheek) related matters, such as A Teenager at the Table (The shoulders droop, the head hangs sulkily down, eyes glaring intently at an invisible spot on their lap. Their whole body seems to say I'm not eating this). And Nigel Slater is perfectly happy to address subjects not found in any other food books (such as the modest chocolate bar -- different varieties are entertainingly compared and contrasted).

This is a personal portrait of the British and their food, filled with love of the eccentricities and peculiarities that encapsulate the national character. And it's great fun. --Barry Forshaw [via]