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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. Gray's 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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Zen Kite on 04-16-18
For the cook and the reader
A delightful book suitable for those who enjoy reading and cooking; the lovely tale of a remarkable life.
By Mary on 02-16-18
You'll end the book feeling as you too have stayed with Patience Gray & Norman Mommens
A fabulous biographical encounter with a true 20th C individual - Gray comes through as quirky, irascible and passionate, and the book carries you with her into the southern Italian wilderness she and her sculptor husband inhabited. This deeply interesting, beautifully described journey takes you through the world of food writing and publishing in the second half of the 20th C, with interwoven forays into the art world too.