4 out of 5 stars

The British have always had a strange relationship with food, if you don’t believe me have a look here. There are smells that just the whiff of can bring the memories from childhood rushing back, whether it is nail varnish and the hint of pear drops or the sulphurous odour of cabbage from school dining rooms. Gone are the days when food is seen as fuel only and we have passed through the celebrity chef phase, the growth of farmers markets and are now at a point where we have a small, if slightly elitist, food culture.

Slater has some strong opinions on all things to do with food, from the buying, preparing, eating and observations on how others consume the things that they eat. He has selected over 200 subjects that are as wide-ranging as fudge, mustard, toast, after eight mints and spangles and written either a couple of paragraphs or a short passage on each.

These short sharp essays are all food-focused and are full of bone dry humour and razor-sharp insights. We have been getting better at foodie related things than we ever were, but there are still some habits that are utterly unique to this country such as rhubarb and custard, Fray Bentos and midget gems.

Curly, golden brown, not unlike a hobbit’s toenails yet so obviously of the pig, scratching have a following all over the Midlands that could almost be described as fanatical.

There were several times that I found myself laughing at his pithy observations. It did occasionally feel a bit repetitive, I am not sure how many musings I read about toast in one form or other, but As ever his writing is a joy. It there was one flaw, I personally would have liked them grouped into themed sections rather than scattered all over the place.

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