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Honey from a Weed


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About the Author

The author has for the last 20 years shared her life with a sculptor whose appetite for marble and sedimentary rocks has taken them to Tuscany, Catalonia, Naxos and Apulia. She has written a passionate autobiographical cookbook, Mediterranean through and through and as compelling as a first class novel."


By living in the Mediterranean region for over 20 years, the British author Patience Gray discovered that ``poverty rather than wealth gives the good things of life their true significance.'' She combines vignettes of her life with a sculptor in Italy, Spain, and Greece with descriptions of vegetables, fungi, edible weeds, herbs, fish, and meat and recipes that use them. The recipes are not always congruent with the American diethorse meat, fox, pigeon, and goose fat are among the ingredients. Line drawings and a comprehensive bibliography (sources in languages other than English predominate) complete a book that will be enjoyed by the vicarious cook or traveler. Christine Bulson, SUNY at Oneonta Lib.

This singular volume is a pastiche of personalities, customs, landscapes, mythology, recipes and history drawn from veteran food writer Gray's 20 years in the Mediterranean. In prose that demands a leisurely reading (``Pungent the mint trodden underfoot on the way to the orchard''), she discusses societies in which food is ``grown for its own sake, not for profit.'' The recipes are a varied lot. ``Widowed'' potatoes (with tomatoes, grilled almonds, pine kernels and onion), spinach with raisins and pine kernels, and fried chicken in walnut sauce invite a visit to the stove. But date-shell soup, tomato concentrate and a recipe for fox are unlikely to be reproduced in the kitchen. A section entitled ``Some Products of the Pig'' yields such diverse entries as a discussion of how pigs are used on the island of Naxos, an incident from the Odyssey and a recipe for pigs' tongues with pomegranate sauce. A chapter on anarchism whimsically diverges from the main food-centered themes. Simple pen-and-ink sketches offer decorative views of foods and settings. (October)

A cult cooking classic by 'the high priestess of cooking' Patience Gray, filled with unusual recipes, brilliant stories, and hyper-local ingredients and methodologies. Important reading to prepare for a future living well off the land, or just living well in general.--Literary Hub

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