Remembrance of Things Past

Published September 25, 2011

 

The biopic Toast (W2 Media), based on British chef and food critic Nigel Slater’s memoir of a hungry childhood, features baking as the battlefield where a boy who loves the culinary arts and his wicked stepmother wage war for his father’s affection. The film painstakingly reproduces every authentic detail of 1960s Wolverhampton, down to the bouffant coifs and snug floral shifts—and perhaps most impressively, the very scones and gelatin molds by which Nigel and the new Mrs. Slater up the ante. “It’s a bit psychedelic,” says 44-year old London-based food stylist Katharine Tidy of the film’s lemon meringue pie de resistance. To create the perfect on-screen pastry, Tidy tested 10 variations and gave stars Helena Bonham Carter and Freddie Highmore lessons in the subtle art of meringue piping. Tidy’s secret to creating a mountain of meringue? “Use no fewer than 10 egg whites,” she says. “And whisk it . . . a lot.”