Great Britain in the sixties – as seen through the eyes of Nigel Slater who, thirty years later, was to become one of the country’s favourite cookery writers. Even as a child he seems to display a propensity for this profession. Nigel is no normal boy. He consumes cookery books as others might consume pornography. His mother may have something to do with this for she has always been a poor cook and neither her asthma nor her predilection for anything in tins will do anything to change that. No wonder then that Nigel looks longingly at anything that seems remotely appetising. His father long suspects that there is ‘something not quite right’ about his boy, and the relationship between the two is somewhat troubled. Nigel gets on much better with Josh the gardener, who reveals to him the wonders of nature as they scoff fresh radishes and pork pies.
As Nigel’s mother deteriorates, so too does the relationship between Nigel and his father, who one day fires Josh for no apparent reason. Shortly before Christmas, Nigel’s mother dies, leaving two broken-hearted men behind. Soon after, Mrs Potter, the new cleaner, enters their lives. Her curvaceous form and her lemon meringue pies bewitch Nigel’s father and prompt him to take them all on a country outing – much to Nigel’s horror. Only by attending home economics classes, decides Nigel, will he have a chance to acquire the skills that will help him trump his adversary and gain his father’s attention. A job in the local pub opens up yet more prospects – both culinary and sexual. And, when his father dies, he is ready to set out for London …
by SJ Clarkson
with Helena Bonham Carter, Ken Stott, Victoria Hamilton, Freddie Highmore
United Kingdom 2010 96’

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