This is an autobiography about a food columnist for a London newspaper covering his life from boyhood to early adulthood showing how his interest in and love for food developed through or perhaps, despite the experiences of his family life. It begins with his mother who always burnt the toast and describes her often frustrated efforts at cooking an appetizing meal. There are details of the foods which the author liked and disliked as a child. A North American may not recognize some of the foods by name, but the descriptions are so detailed the reader can almost taste the food. The innovations of 1950s and 60s modern convenience foods met with mixed results under the hands of his mother and the author's finicky palate.
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After his mother's death when he was still young, the author found comfort in food since his father was emotionally distant and sometimes abusive. His father soon remarried their cleaning lady, creating a rift with extended family members and doing nothing to provide the author with a nurturing home life. But his stepmother could cook, sometimes over doing it with a table groaning under the weight of so many rich dishes.
Chapters also abound with hilarious incidents such as his nightly walks with the dog and a candy bar to observe couples making out in the back of cars - until his father discovered what he was doing. He eventually finds a substitute family working after school in the kitchen of a hotel restaurant. The memoirs end as the author, just out of school, has found employment in a restaurant in London.
The review of this Book prepared by L. Watson