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Toast Debuts in the USA

by on October 10, 2011 · 10 comments

Years ago I picked up a book that changed my perspective on food memoirs. Toast, by British food celebrity Nigel Slater, was so honest and poignant that I began to seek out other books of the genre hoping they’d be as well written and in some cases, as darkly comic. Sure, Toast falls under the category of “foodie memoir”, but in my opinion it transcends that as the food basically symbolizes other elements. When I heard they’d made the book into a movie, I waited anxiously for it to make its US debut. Now it has, and Todd, Fuzz and I thoroughly enjoyed our screening.  (Updated to say the DVD is coming out mid-January!)

Freddie Highmore

Toast stars Freddie Highmore (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Oscar Kennedy, Ken Stott and Helena Bonham Carter. Following the book’s format,  Nigel tells the story through a series of moments involving food. First, we meet Nigel’s mother, a loving and caring mother with absolutely no interest in food or cooking. In contrast, Nigel is a boy who reads cookbooks under the covers at night and longs to try all the interesting foods he sees at the local grocer.

Scene from the movie Toast

Despite the disparity in their interests, Nigel’s motherly love is apparent and you can’t help but feel sorry for little Nigel when his life changes for the worse and in walks Mrs. Potter, who tries to win Nigel’s father over with her phenomenal cooking skills and presumable other talents.

Helena Bonham Carter

Without giving away details, I’ll just say the comparisons to Billy Elliott “with food instead of dancing” are pretty accurate and that this is not exactly a lighthearted romp.”    I’d recommend it for preteens and up. Fuzz liked it quite a bit and by the end was asking if we could bake something, which was interesting given the dark nature of the movie.  Maybe she caught on to the fact that food represented power?  At any rate, she wanted to go bake cookies the next day, which is why she made the chocolate chip cookies.  Now we need to make lemon meringue pie.  You won’t be able to watch this movie without wanting lemon meringue pie.

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Published on October 10, 2011

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

CindyD October 10, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Will see if Netflix has it. You should check out WAITRESS.

Sue October 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Wow! Great review!
BTW, I always want lemon meringue pie, but I want good homemade lemon meringue pie, and usually can’t justify making it.

Anna October 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Cindy, thanks! I saw that one a while back. I don’t think this one has made it to Netflix *quite* yet, but I suppose it will turn up there soon.

Sue, I agree. I keep meaning to make a “super” lemon meringue pie combining my favorite crust, favorite meringue and favorite filling. Maybe I’ll get to is this week.

Krista October 10, 2011 at 2:41 pm

oh yay! I saw the previews and wanted to see it! But now that I know it’s a book, I’ll read it first :)

eva October 11, 2011 at 12:28 am

Oh, I’m so happy you enjoyed the book too! I read it after becoming a fan from Nigel’s cookbook (Appetite). I can’t wait to see the movie.

Louise October 11, 2011 at 7:27 am

Did you read Jason Epstein’s “Eating “?

Lynn Bahm October 11, 2011 at 9:00 pm

I like to read food story books too. Have you read any of Ruth Riechl’s books? I recently finished Lunch in Paris which has a recipe at the end of each chapter – it was fun. am always looking for a new one.
I will go see Toast. thanks.

Anna October 12, 2011 at 7:40 am

Lynne, try Gabrielle Hamilton’s Blood, Bones and Butter. That’s my other favorite (next to Toast).

natalie (the sweets life) October 12, 2011 at 8:56 am

I love foodie memoirs so I’m intrigued by this, which I’ve never heard of. Funnily enough I was in NYC last weekend and saw Billy Elliot. I absolutely plan to see this now!

Adam October 12, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Neat, I’ll definitely have to check this out when it is released on Blu-Ray. Oh… and more importantly than Charlie and the Chocolate factory (I hate what Tim Burton and Johnny Depp did that :( ) Freddie Highmore is the voice of Astro Boy :).

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