From an early age, Grace Dent was hungry. As a little girl growing up in Currock, Carlisle, she yearned to be something bigger, to go somewhere better. Hungry traces her story from growing up eating beige food to becoming one of Britain's best-loved food writers. It's also everyone's story - from cheese and pineapple hedgehogs and treats with your nan, to the exquisite joy of a chip butty covered in vinegar and too much salt in the school canteen on a grey day. And the Cadbury's Fruit & Nut from a hospital vending machine that tells a loved one you really care. Grace's snapshot of how we have lived, laughed and eaten over the past 40 years reveals the central role food plays in either bringing us together or driving us apart - from toasting a large glass of warm Merlot to grimly polishing off a wilted salad. Heartfelt, witty and joyous, Hungry shows us what we've always known to be true. Food, friends and family are the indispensable ingredients of a life well lived.
Hungry is a book about food, but also writes about dementia, class and feeling as if you are not qualified for a job. As a writer myself, I never feel qualified to write anything. Even though I find writing one of the easiest things in the world to do. In Chapter 1 of Hungry, titled Sketty, Grace Dent wrote about her childhood, cooking with her dad, the relationship that she has with her parents, and it was very reminiscent of my own childhood in certain aspects. When Grace Dent writes about shopping habits, and the advent of supermarket superstores, it was as much a walk down memory lane for me too.
I thought Grace Dent was posh because she writes for The Guardian and is a food critic, so that will teach me not to judge people by who they write for and what their job is. I have also only just realised that Grace Dent is the Grace Dent who wrote The Diary of a Chav books, which I was obsessed with reading as a child. Shaz Bailey’s diaries were a continual re-read when I was younger.
I loved this line, and could identify with how Grace Dent describes the goal of her writing, ‘I wanted to write and reach people and make them laugh like that,’ which sums the book up for me. Hungry did reach me, and made me laugh, and a lot more too.
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