The Best Possible Taste

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 January, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 January, 2005, 12:00am

The Best Possible Taste

by Sam O'Reilly

Penguin $112

In the 1970s, Britons bought Wonderloaf, corned beef and Blue Band margarine. Supermarkets existed, but only to sell food under one roof. No one had thought of defining a whole social class by its appetite for ciabatta bread and organic mange tout. So, who could blame Mrs Rose Beckett for feeding her children Cup-a-Soup, boil-in-the-bag fish and Heinz Spaghetti Hoops? Her weird, spotty, teenage son Stephen, that's who.

Embarrassed by his working-class origins, he pursues good taste and bourgeois living. When we meet him again, in 2002, he owns an organic restaurant and spends his evenings supervising the tearing of lettuce leaves and the whipping up of obscure dressings. He thinks he's made it, but he's about to find out that his success could cost him his family, his sex drive, his business and his sanity.