Fasting and feasting patience gray
Fasting and Feasting: The Life of Visionary Food Writer Patience Gray by Adam FedermanFor more than thirty years, Patience Gray--author of the celebrated cookbook Honey from a Weed--lived in a remote area of Puglia in southernmost Italy. She lived without electricity, modern plumbing, or a telephone, grew much of her own food, and gathered and ate wild plants alongside her neighbors in this economically impoverished region. She was fond of saying that she wrote only for herself and her friends, yet her growing reputation brought a steady stream of international visitors to her door. This simple and isolated life she chose for herself may help explain her relative obscurity when compared to the other great food writers of her time: M. F. K. Fisher, Elizabeth David, and Julia Child.
So it is not surprising that when Gray died in 2005, the BBC described her as an -almost forgotten culinary star.- Yet her influence, particularly among chefs and other food writers, has had a lasting and profound effect on the way we view and celebrate good food and regional cuisines. Grays prescience was unrivaled: She wrote about what today we would call the Slow Food movement--from foraging to eating locally--long before it became part of the cultural mainstream. Imagine if Michael Pollan or Barbara Kingsolver had spent several decades living among Italian, Greek, and Catalan peasants, recording their recipes and the significance of food and food gathering to their way of life.
In Fasting and Feasting, biographer Adam Federman tells the remarkable--and until now untold--life story of Patience Gray: from her privileged and intellectual upbringing in England, to her trials as a single mother during World War II, to her career working as a designer, editor, translator, and author, and describing her travels and culinary adventures in later years. A fascinating and spirited woman, Patience Gray was very much a part of her times but very clearly ahead of them.
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Chelsea Green Publishing. Gray was living with the sculptor Norman Mommens in this remote village on the Greek island of Naxos, a location they prized for its inaccessibility and rugged, hands-on way of life. They had arrived in summer, delighted to find a cottage by the water. A few months later, the wild greens had disappeared, they were surviving on potatoes and beans, even bread was scarce, and they were freezing. The windows in the cottage had no glass, only shutters, so when the wind was ferocious they had to close the shutters and live in the dark. They both had flu. And then, in March, the tins arrived.
Patience Jean Gray 31 October — 10 March was an English cookery and travel writer of the midth century. Patience discovered late in life that her father, at various times a surgeon, a pig farmer, and finally a photographer, was the son of a Polish rabbi called Warschavski, who had arrived in England in and become a Unitarian minister.
I had spent months thinking about her. Memoirs and diaries had been ransacked. Family and friends had been grilled. Secrets had been given up and, sometimes, withheld. I was talking about this book, a collection of biographical essays , at a festival almost a year after it came out.