- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 16, 2011

BERLIN (AP) - A film of British food writer Nigel Slater’s memoirs gave Helena Bonham Carter a handy new dessert recipe _ and a chance to explore a working-class role.

Bonham Carter, nominated for an Oscar for playing Queen Elizabeth in “The King’s Speech,” plays Slater’s stepmother _ a cleaner _ in “Toast.” She presented the movie at the Berlin film festival Wednesday.

Bonham Carter said she’d “never been asked to play a cleaner before and I’d never been asked to do (British) Midlands working class.”

The actress says she’s a near-compulsive cookbook buyer but doesn’t cook that often. For “Toast,” in which her character’s cooking plays a central part, she was taught how to make lemon meringue pie.

Amazingly, the three-week shoot wasn’t fattening because “there was a lot of arduous cleaning.”

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