Biography in books: celebrity chef Nigel Slater


    He read everything except cookbooks, says Nigel Slater, favorite books about gardens. “I think it’s escapism is his: in a different world, away from my is.” Fittingly, we sit together in a small town garden, it is just barely warm enough, even if it’s an early Sunday morning, the air a little autumnal cooling. The best places are gardens to read, says Slater: “A garden changed everything. Who sits in a want to be.“

    As a chef Nigel Slater in the United Kingdom is famous for its simple recipes, which should revive the British cuisine, and some Italian-Japanese. His columns appear in the “Observer”, his autobiography “Toast” has been filmed in German is “Easy” (DuMont). Slater describes himself as a “cook who writes”.

    His writing time was not every day in the Morning between 6.30 and 8.30 o’clock, by candle light at the kitchen table in a special old writing sweater (“too big, like a dress, the Sleeves are too long”) – only on Fridays, because he was going to Breakfast, for ten years at the same place.

    Nigel Slater is a man of routines. When he speaks of his books, it sounds gently, carefully, as he will describe a dish from him: “I love the smell of a book, the feeling you get when you read.”

    1) Lewis Carroll: “Alice in Wonderland”

    Lewis Carroll has created such a bizarre, surreal, unusual characters – no idea what has helped him to do this, the book is great anyway. Which of the characters I resemble, I don’t know, Alice is sure, even if I don’t lose myself in this book.

    When I’m at home on my shelf and looking for something, I often “Alice,” hang and need to sit down first and read it. The pages of the book are very thin, like a Bible, very delicate. My copy has survived it all: travel, moving house, even a house fire. I have the book from my mother, it is from 1939. It is the Only thing I have left of her.

    2) Alan Bennett: “Writing Home”

    The playwright Alan Bennett is great, I admire him very much, he is quite himself – he is not himself; “Writing Home”, his diaries, life as a journey into his interior, where he also has a wonderful sense of gossip. At one point, I also, which of course is as strange as great. Bennett writes, incidentally, still on his typewriter.

    3) Katherine Swift: “The moor Ville House”

    “the moor Ville” is a quiet book: the story of a garden. As Swift bought her house, she discovered that there had been at one point a special garden, she has built up over the years and replanted. It does not take a through history of all the plants, what grows where and what.

    Swift is a historian, what is noticeable in the book, it is incredibly accurate: It is as if one would have been the work of a monk. I have read the book twelve Times. I often take it on trips, in the paperback edition. It is the book I would have written myself, the book of my dreams.

    4) Donna Tartt “The secret history”

    A really exciting story to the end. Tartts prose is tight and complex; she spends a lot of time to improve on your. You got me once, was just “appeared The Thistle Finch”, invited to the elegant a small Dinner. I got the book and sent it as an invitation. I thought it was a kind of dinner party – and I don’t like parties, I’m shy. Then eight people, all were quite small and intimate. I sat next to her, she is also shy. It was a great evening.

    5) Bret Easton Ellis: “American Psycho”

    Well, probably I will get problems, if I admit that I wrote him I like to read: The book is, of course, misogyn, brutal, impertinent, everything should not be a book but so good! The violence is, of course, understand out of it that time, but Bret Easton Ellis gives a so this whole New York thing, the energy, the Power, the drugs, the city, the Fast at that time. No idea if people today were to write, but the book is simply very good!

    6) Nigella Lawson: “How to Eat”

    I like the book, because it’s called “How to Eat” and not “How to Cook”, so it’s about the food, the act of eating, not instructions on how to cook. It’s about the moments, occasions in which you cook or bake, whether it is the children’s birthday or Christmas. In the case of Nigella Lawson, I have always the feeling, as she speaks directly to me – that was the first Time that I went out with a cookbook. “How to Eat” appeared 20 years ago. I have a few Hundred cookbooks, so not a huge selection. If I could have to every single one of them to the Charity Shop donations and only keep one, it would be this one from Nigella Lawson.

    7) Robert Macfarlane: “the Old ways”

    Nature-Writing came in fashion, one forgets, however, that the Genre almost died. Robert Macfarlane writes about the Go, about his walk across great Britain, which, as the title, old ways, and paths. With the reading with him as well as he writes; he uses a vocabulary, which is in the process of Disappearing, he keeps these rare words at the life. There are so many words that disappear, especially from the field of nature; McFarlane works for you, with its smooth, quiet, precise language.

    8) Monty Don in “The Ivington Diaries”

    This is the story of a very old house, and fields surround it. Monty has spent, together with his wife Sarah, ten years to plant a beautiful garden, he has kept a record of what he planted and how. It is modeled after a little of my book “The Kitchen Diaries” to the Layout, to the Font, for which he has apologized, therefore I have a very personal connection to the book; it is the book I would have written if I had written about gardens. It feels somehow, as if it was my book.

    log: Mara Delius


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