Honey from a Weed

Honey from a Weed

by Patience Gray
Original publisher
Prospect
Date of publication
1986
ISBN
190301820x
Buy this book
Recommended by
Caroline Conran

Caroline Conran

Cookbook author

This is the beautiful story of finding that less is more, of an extreme existence as near to the essential as possible. Patience Gray and her sculptor husband are doing what so many of us have fantasized about, living off the land, close to the soil (or in their case Tuscan rocks), surrounded by wild herbs, free of all the things we complain about in modern life - Water with chemicals! Traffic! Pollution! Out of season tomatoes! It is a beguiling read and it has a strong flow that pulls you in. The recipes are usually for the most meagre of treats, but we are convinced of their excellence, and of the author’s integrity.

Annabel Langbein

Annabel Langbein

Author and celebrity cook

I got this book when it first came out in 1986 and fell in love with the subsistence life that Gray documented so passionately as she journeyed around wild remote places in the southern Mediterranean with her sculptor partner. Her writing took me into a peasant life and culture that (at the time of publication) remained largely unchanged for centuries, with simple recipes that capture the heart of a traditional Mediterranean life.

Jason Goodwin

Jason Goodwin

Author and historian

Perhaps my favourite cookery book ever: discursive, erudite, amusing, delicious - it's a reflection on a near-vanished Mediterranean culture of poverty and community, fast and feast, without once becoming cloying or sentimental. As she follows her stonemason around quarries from Carrara to Naxos, she teaches you more about cuisine than fifty plump illustrated cookbooks together, and connects food to place, perfectly.

Tamasin Day-Lewis

Tamasin Day-Lewis

Writer, film maker

Like MFK Fisher, Gray is interested in everything that is tangential to food, life, the place of the table in our lives, context, friendships and, most importantly, good prose. I want to read the best writing in a food book or there is simply no point, food-writing is not an ancillary thing.

Barbara Sweeney

Barbara Sweeney

Food writer

An adventure such as this, roughing it in small rural communities in Italy, Greece and Spain in the 60s and 70s, wouldn't be possible in the same way today. This is a book of courage, curiosity and thoughtfulness – and damn fine writing.

Anna Thomas

Anna Thomas

Screenwriter, filmmaker and author

This is a book I open at random and find delight -- and then after a while realize that I’ve been reading for an hour. It is transporting. Patience Gray is such a beautiful writer; in the genre of food memoir there is no one better.

Tom Norrington-Davies

Tom Norrington-Davies

Chef

As much a journal as a cookbook, I like the slightly random way in which the recipes are gathered. Mediterranean food is so often glamorised and dolled up. This is the real thing.

Robin Harford

Robin Harford

Ethnobotanist, forager and creator of Eat Weeds

I just like the way this book is written, like a gentle journey through the Italian countryside dotted with lovely recipes, many of them using wild edibles.

Annie Bell

Annie Bell

Food writer

This book is to do with a spirit or sentiment, rustic cooking at its most romantic, it inspires, and I will always feel soothed by its lyrical prose.

Laura Mason

Laura Mason

Author and food historian

Yet another world again, and a fantastic evocation of a bohemian life in Mediterranean countries. Nice detail about vegetables, herbs and fruit.

Skye Gyngell

Skye Gyngell

Chef and Author

One of the best books written about food but it's more than that it teaches you to really think about food! Even the recipes read like a story!

Letitia Clark

Letitia Clark

Food writer

This is an extraordinary book: more a journal of history, personal reminiscence and illustrations. A genre all of its own.

Paul Levy

Paul Levy

Writer and former chair of the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery

Enthrallingly eccentric, and brings back memories of staying with the author in Puglia during a drought and heat wave.

Joyce Molyneux

Joyce Molyneux

Chef

We had a copy in Cubelles, Spain to answer any queries that occured when shopping.

Harold McGee

Harold McGee

Author and lecturer

Bob Hart

Bob Hart

Journalist

Naomi Duguid

Naomi Duguid

Writer and photographer

Stephanie Alexander

Stephanie Alexander

Food writer, former restaurateur, food educator

Edward Behr

Edward Behr

Editor, The Art of Eating

John Corbett

John Corbett

Food writer, editor

Russ Parsons

Russ Parsons

Food columnist of LA Times

Aglaia Kremezi

Aglaia Kremezi

Food writer and journalist

Pascale Gomes-McNabb

Pascale Gomes-McNabb

Designer

Chris Stueart

Chris Stueart

Co-founder, FOOD-X

Lucy Malouf

Lucy Malouf

Food writer and editor

Deborah Madison

Deborah Madison

Author

Harry Lester

Harry Lester

Cook and restaurateur

Jeffrey Hamelman

Jeffrey Hamelman

Bakery Director, King Arthur Flour Company

Julee Rosso

Julee Rosso

Cook and food writer

Chris Fischer

Chris Fischer

Chef and farmer

Frank Ruta

Frank Ruta

Executive Chef, The Grill Room at Capella Washington, D.C.

Colman Andrews

Colman Andrews

Food writer and editor

Jacob Kenedy

Jacob Kenedy

Chef

Darina Allen

Darina Allen

Owner and Founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School

Carol Field

Carol Field

Food writer and broadcaster

Linda Pelaccio

Linda Pelaccio

Culinary historian

Tamar Adler

Tamar Adler

Food writer

Catherine Brown

Catherine Brown

Writer

Tessa Kiros

Tessa Kiros

Author