I am very grateful for Tasmania’s library system which allows me to order a chosen book online, be notified when it has reached my local library and that it is ready for my collection. Honey from a Weed, the title of a book by Patience Gray, focuses on fasting and feasting in Tuscany, Catalonia, The Cyclades and Apulia.
I had been intrigued by reviews to order this book. And it has delivered in spades. Quirky. Exceptionally well researched. Superbly engaging writing. So much information that is adaptable to the increasingly Mediterranean climate of where I live in Bellerive, in suburban Hobart. Information about cooking equipment, about chopping and pounding different foods, food gathering, vegetable heritage, and edible weeds. But much more.
I was entranced with a saying from Carrara (yes that is well known Italian city for its marble): ‘who wants to eat a good supper should eat a weed of every kind’. Long term blog followers will have read many of my researches into and cooking exploits with local weeds. I continue to realise how little I know. People born in Australia have never been so poor or hungry that they have needed to forage for and eat weeds as a normal practice. Yet generations of people across Europe have used weeds as a staple through the terrible constraints of endless wars. We have weeds in common and can learn a great deal from books such as this.
Reading this book has been a delight. The author walks us through a rich landscape yet her story is light as it encompasses and entwines history with growing and eating food. Traditional recipes are included.