Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Eating Toast

It's been a lazy winter break around here...cooking turkey, peanut butter balls, hoppin' john, alfajores, you name it. New Year's dinner was at La Buca...a nice salad of radicchio, walnuts and scamorza cheese, followed by trennette carbonara for me and spinach ravioli with mushroom sauce for Matt. It was a nice evening, but it wasn't quite the carbonara of my dreams. I'm not sure the homemade flat trennette noodles were quite the right choice -- perhaps carbonara is more of a straight spaghetti dish. Plus, there's nothing like mixing a nice Gloria Ferrer Pinot Noir with some margarita jello shots for a good time!

My other Christmas present book was "Toast: The Story of a Boy's Hunger," which I devoured during a rainstorm. It's a very bittersweet memoir by British food writer Nigel Slater, who endured a difficult childhood while savoring vast quantities of obscure British sweets (Old English Spangles? Sherbet Fountains? flying saucers?), terrible food cooked by a loving mother, decent food cooked by an unloving stepmother. He managed to not only survive a steady diet of wretched British '60s food including freeze-dried peas and vats of ham salad, but grew up to be a respected cookbook writer and food columnist. Unlike most of what Slater was forced to consume, "Toast" goes down very easy indeed.


Cyndi said...

Definitely a book I'll put on my list to read. Glad I found your site. I spend four weekends a year in LA (at the LAX Hilton) and would like to expand my dining horizons past the usual haunts. I'll be checking out your reviews. Any recommendations?

marissa said...

'appetite' is my one of favorite cookbooks and I love slater's columns in the guardian. I have never made a recipe from appetite that wasn't really easy and really good. the first 200 pages of appetite are simply great writing about food - he doesn't even start to lay out recipes until about a third of the way thru the book. 'real fast food' is interesting but not nearly as good. will have to read 'toast' next.

LYT said...

Now that brings back some memories. Sherbet fountains and flying saucers are not at all obscure in the UK, though both depend on a different definition of "sherbet" than one is used to here.

It's a tart-sweet powder candy with a citrusy taste, and a key ingredient in both the above-mentioned delicacies.

Sam said...

I want to be Nigel Slater when I grow up.

We have several things in common and I don't have to put a "?" after spangles, sherbert fountains or flying saucers so does that mean I am in with a good chance of becoming him?

yoony said...

i ate for the first time at la buca on new year's eve. i also got the trenette carbonara but it wasn't what i was expecting. kind of bland and didn't like the noodles with this dish. i would prefer chunky pancetta bits to the sparse thin bacon sprinklings. and more peas and cheese would have been nice.

on the other hand, their gnocchi and burrata salumi salad was excellent.

do you have any recommendations? i have still yet to try their pizzas.

BoLA said...

This book is still on my bookshelf...will definitely have to finish reading this one! ;) Happy New Year!

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