A hunger for fame via food
Hungry by Grace Dent is not just a story about food, it’s about class in Britain and growing up as a 70’s kid. Being one of those kids, I was interested in reading what makes Grace Dent, ‘Grace Dent’.
There are so many pieces from Grace’s childhood that resonate with me. The days playing with Sindy and her romance with Action Man, watching Multi-Coloured Swap Shop and thinking that Neapolitan ice cream for dessert was a sign of sophistication. It’s more than just soundbites of the ’70s and ’80s. It’s about how families changed. Mums are out working but are still expected to be a full-time mum.
The arrival of the superstore supermarkets with their fake market streets and the lure of even more processed foods and the “whoops” stickers. More food to consume. Fancy food to make us posh like them up the riad. I still can’t resist the lure of a “whoops” sticker too, Grace, you had me there.
Grace writes with love about her younger days, however later on in the book I get a sense that she is in a quandary. Caught between Carlisle and London, there is no surprise that moving to London opened up her tastebuds, although her University education in Scotland also did a bit of the same. I get the feeling it wasn’t moving to London that changed Grace, Grace was different. There always seemed to be that hunger to be famous. Writing in to NME looking to stand out amongst her peers, and be the centre of something. Well, she has that, as it says on the sleeve “one of Britain’s best-known voices in food” and did you know that she is on Masterchef? I’m sure it’s mentioned a few times….
Overall, Hungry by Grace Dent is a good read especially if you are interested in finding out where Grace has come from and if you are a 1970’s kid, theres that extra “I did that too”. There is a lot of personal stuff about her family, especially her dad’s previous relationships yet Grace skims over her own failures to keep a marriage and friendships. There’s a fine line between growing as a person and bragging about how you are a million miles away from eating at the same places your parents love. My takeaway from this book is that Grace wanted to be famous, and she is. She gets the car to pick her up in order to be on TV to talk about whatever she is being paid to talk about this week. It’s a well-paid life, but is Grace really happy with it? You’ll have to make your own decision with that one.