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 Post subject: Patience Gray - 2 books
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:10 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:35 am
Posts: 2196
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Patience Gray – two books

I knew nothing about Patience Gray until a review of Fasting and Feasting: The Life of Visionary Food Writer Patience Gray, 2017, by Adam Federman (Chelsea Green Publishing) appeared in the NYTimes. This book received many wonderful reviews in a variety of sources, so I borrowed it from my library. Every book has fans & foes and I must admit to not being a fan, but not a foe. Once again, borrow before buying.

There is way more here than I would ever want to know about anyone. I am not a fan of minutia, but I realize that’s just me. Get an editor is my battle cry!

Nonetheless, if you are interested, this is the book. Numerous world-famous chefs and others in the food world praise it. The incredibly thorough author is highly regarded. I found the book tedious.

Patience wrote a few books, two were very well received once a ‘patient’ publisher could be found: Plats Du Jour (1957), with Primrose Boyd regarding French cooking, and Honey From A Weed (1986), about her last years living off the land with her sculptor husband and learning from Italian locals how they lived and cooked. She lived through one of the greatest periods of change in modern history (1917 – 2005) and experienced some terribly tough times but also managed to have some incredibly good fortune.

My second review is of Honey From A Weed, again because of wonderful reviews from very top chefs. As always when reading food books, I am looking for recipes and cooking ideas – tips, techniques, and ingredients. Once again, I had to force my way through to the finish. I never did try any of her recipes and maybe that’s bad on me. However, she forced hard times on herself by trying to adhere to deprivations and then worked around them. I couldn’t be bothered to replicate her efforts. Strongly to her credit is that she scoured the land to test what could be eaten and embraced very poor locals to discover how they did it. She chose to live in an area, Apulia, that was barren and largely unpopulated. And, to her credit, she stuck it out and became very notable via her correspondence. Many well-known people trekked to her impoverished abode. However, one result of this was that the area is now struggling with too many people living and visiting. This has put incredible pressure on the below-ground water sources. It was tough already when she located there in 1970.

I know I could have tailored my cooking to simulate her recipes. I feel confident in reading and interpreting a recipe. None of hers inspired me to make the effort. Again, borrow from the library before purchasing.

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 Post subject: Re: Patience Gray - 2 books
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:26 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:03 pm
Posts: 1109
I enjoyed Honey from a Weed, but as a memoir not a cookbook. It did have an offhand comment about a method of preserving fruit that was something one of my food school instructors was trying to replicate, but he couldn’t remember much of the method. I passed on this tidbit and he was very excited. This style of book is not one I read for recipes.

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