Chelsea Green Publishing

Fasting and Feasting (UK Edition)

Pages:384 pages
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Hardcover: 9781603587525
Pub. Date June 07, 2017

Fasting and Feasting (UK Edition)

The Life of Visionary Food Writer Patience Gray

Availability: Out Of Stock - Currently on Back Order

Hardcover

Available Date:
May 31, 2017

A New York Times Notable Book for 2017

For 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. 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.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

Kirkus Reviews-

"Federman's book is meticulously researched . . . . The author's portrait of the complex, fiercely independent woman who reshaped ideas about cooking and food and about what constitutes a life well-lived in a world defined by the 'numbing effects' of modernity is intriguing and well-rendered. A highly detailed traditional biography of an unconventional woman.”

“Of all my culinary heroes, Patience Gray was the most magical—and the most remote. I was lucky enough to meet her—just once. Adam Federman’s beautifully considered and well-researched biography shines a bright light on Gray’s complicated, surprising, and gutsy life.”—Alice Waters, owner, Chez Panisse; author of The Art of Simple Food

‘I felt I almost met Patience Gray amongst the pages of Honey from a Weed. I never did but somehow fancy I came to know her in Fasting and Feasting and love her all the better for it. It is a touching biography of not just a remarkable woman but a way of eating, seeing, and living.’—Jacob Kenedy, chef-owner, Bocca di Lupo

‘A revelatory book about an extraordinary woman, writer, and cook. Patience Gray’s rackety life seems to conform perfectly with her visionary and revolutionary views about food, cooking, and eating. She should become a totemic culinary figure for our times.’—William Boyd, author of Sweet Caress and Any Human Heart

Honey from a Weed has been a constant companion for many years. It is a brilliant work, ahead of its time in so many ways. To now read the story of this fine book’s author and her remarkable life is a great joy.’—Jeremy Lee, chef patron, Quo Vadis

“Adam Federman’s Fasting and Feasting is an impressively thorough, absorbing account of the rich life of Patience Gray, one of the last century’s finest and least-known writers on food. No one before her or since has written with more first-hand experience or with the blunt, clear-eyed eloquence that she brought to her classic memoir of Mediterranean village life, Honey from a Weed. Federman illuminates her unlikely path from the post-war London newspaper world and translating Larousse Gastronomique to stone quarries across the northern Mediterranean and the remote, sculpture-studded corner of Apulia where she settled, wrote, and engaged with the growing community of food writers, sometimes contentiously. Fasting and Feasting is a timely celebration of a remarkable life.”—Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

‘Patience Gray’s Honey from a Weed is an anomaly in the world of cookbooks—an inimitable, passionate, and reader-challenging account of her off-the-grid life in poverty-stricken rural areas of Catalonia, Tuscany, the Cyclades, and, most importantly, Apulia.

‘Part acerbic diarist, part gifted ethnobotanist, part fervent environmentalist, part food writer whose recipes still spoke their rustic dialect, Patience Gray wove her life, thoughts, and experiences into an indisputable masterpiece. Now, in Adam Federman, she has found her biographer—astute, empathetic, indefatigable in pursuit of the painterly details that he then deftly works into a portrait of an amazing original—and the remarkable company she kept.’—John Thorne, author of Outlaw Cook and Serious Pig

‘Patience Gray was a cultural outrider. Her life encompassed many thoughts and actions that preoccupy us today: single motherhood, passion gratified, an appreciation of the wider European scene, simplicity and self-sufficiency, food and cookery as an expression of place and identity, existence infused by art and taste. Yet she never quite banished the bourgeois within her. These contradictions, and her distinctive and distinguished contributions to the modern scene, are gracefully described in this sensitive and revealing biography.’—Tom Jaine, editor, Petits Propos Culinaires

‘Fans of Honey from a Weed are sure to devour this highly readable biography of Patience Gray, which reveals not only the inspirations and experiences behind that cult book but also the life and times of the fiercely independent woman who wrote it. Adam Federman’s carefully researched book lucidly describes the intellectual and emotional development of a woman who made her own rules both in work and love.’—Jojo Tulloh, author of East End Paradise and The Modern Peasant

“Patience Gray cast a spell over everyone she met, with her smoke-husky voice, darting observations, and bottomless erudition. In this marvelously well-researched biography, Adam Federman gives us sorceress and scholar: the postwar-London artistic Bohemia that shaped her and that she, with her stubborn unconventionality in a notably unconventional milieu, helped shape. Only the remote southern Mediterranean was wild enough for her own imagination and curiosity to soar—and her meticulously observed and researched descriptions of its food and life still have the enchanting force Federman makes us feel.”—Corby Kummer, senior editor, The Atlantic; author of The Pleasures of Slow Food

“A close look at any life is bound to be interesting, but the life of Patience Gray is unusually large and deep. If you know her only from her seminal book, Honey from a Weed—which may well be true for many readers—you will possibly be surprised and certainly delighted by Fasting and Feasting. What a well-articulated and inspiring life, and how fortunate we are to learn of it in such detail.”—Deborah Madison, author of Vegetable Literacy and In My Kitchen

“Patience Gray trail-blazed untrammeled ground as she explored the more literary, naturalistic, cultural, and ethnobotanical dimensions of food writing that many of us have come to appreciate today. As this captivating biography reveals, Gray’s inimitable style and idiosyncratic choice of subject matter were organically grounded in a life as unique and refreshing as her writing. This book allows us to fully appreciate how Gray became a major but often cryptic force directing the very trajectory of food writing, as it aspired to be literature of the highest order. She would remain without peer, except for the fact that M. F. K. Fisher, Alan Davidson, Robert Capon, Betty Fussell, and Jim Harrison all seemed to have absorbed something of her legacy. Savor this feast.”—Gary Paul Nabhan, author of Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land

“Adam Federman reveals the fascinating life of Patience Gray, whose Honey from a Weed may be the best book ever written about food. With admirable clarity, drawing on deep research, Federman has produced a strong portrait of a compelling personality who chose a way of life far outside the norm.”—Edward Behr, editor and publisher, The Art of Eating

“Patience Gray was probably the least-known great food writer the English-speaking world has ever produced. Her influence has been pervasive, even as she herself has resisted easy definition. With grace and impeccable understanding, Adam Federman in Fasting and Feasting undertakes the difficult task of explaining Gray’s contrary enigma as well as her considerable charm. His book is fascinating in itself and should introduce one of our most important food writers to a much wider audience.”—Nancy Harmon Jenkins, author of The Four Seasons of Pasta and Flavors of Puglia

“Being given a behind-the-scenes view of Honey from a Weed is a true eye-opener. Federman’s elegant, detailed, and insightful account fleshes out one’s appreciation of Gray’s writing and turns this famous author into a familiar friend. Now it seems clear what the next step in Patience Gray’s legacy is for us today: making an environmentally pure lifestyle a choice accessible to everyone, not only those with financially generous family and well-placed connections. Federman brings Patience to life so clearly, I can hear her cautioning and encouraging us with her wisdom.”—Tamara Griffiths, author of Oaks and the Apennines

"(Patience Gray) emerges from this life as an utterly original spirit who was one of the few to rebel against the change in direction that eating had taken in modern times.”—Bee Wilson, The Sunday Times

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adam Federman

Adam Federman is a reporting fellow with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute covering energy and the environment. He has written for the Nation magazine, the GuardianColumbia Journalism Review, Gastronomica, Petits Propos Culinaires, Earth Island Journal, Adirondack Life, and other publications. He has been a Russia Fulbright fellow, a Middlebury fellow in environmental journalism, and the recipient of a Polk grant for investigative reporting. A former line cook, bread baker, and pastry chef, he lives in Vermont.

ALSO BY THIS AUTHOR

Fasting and Feasting

Fasting and Feasting

By Adam Federman

A New York Times Notable Book for 2017

For 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. 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.

What people say about Patience Gray and Honey From a Weed:

“[There are] food people whom you tend to ‘believe’ rather than simply admire. In this . . . noble lineage is Patience Gray, a wandering Bruce Chatwin of food.”—Jim Harrison, author

“Patience was a woman of strong emotions and opinions, her prose muscular and full of character. So, too, was her cookery.”—Tom Jaine, The Guardian

“Like M.F.K. Fisher, Patience Gray was one of the earliest writers to realize that you could write as well about cooking as you could about art and music . . . . [A] remarkable woman.”—William Boyd, author

“[She] gives you that nice sense of being present and alongside her, visiting these places like Tuscany and Catalonia, and cooking with her.”—April Bloomfield, chef, on Honey From a Weed

“Remarkably ahead of its time, Honey From a Weed is scrupulous in its knowledge of local and seasonal cooking. . . . A book that encourages taking the time to read quietly, passages that inspire and inform equally of a life and foods quite unique, far removed from the urgencies and furies of modern life.”—Jeremy Lee, The Guardian

Available in: Hardcover

Read More

Fasting and Feasting

Adam Federman

Hardcover $25.00

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Up Tunket Road

Up Tunket Road

By Philip Ackerman-Leist

Ever since Thoreau's Walden, the image of the American homesteader has been of someone getting away from civilization, of forging an independent life in the country. Yet if this were ever true, what is the nature and reality of homesteading in the media-saturated, hyper-connected 21st century?

For seven years Philip Ackerman-Leist and his wife, Erin, lived without electricity or running water in an old cabin in the beautiful but remote hills of western New England. Slowly forging their own farm and homestead, they took inspiration from their experiences among the mountain farmers of the Tirolean Alps and were guided by their Vermont neighbors, who taught them about what it truly means to live sustainably in the postmodern homestead--not only to survive, but to thrive in a fragmented landscape and a fractured economy.

Up Tunket Road is the inspiring true story of a young couple who embraced the joys of simple living while also acknowledging its frustrations and complexities. Ackerman-Leist writes with humor about the inevitable foibles of setting up life off the grid--from hauling frozen laundry uphill to getting locked in the henhouse by their ox. But he also weaves an instructive narrative that contemplates the future of simple living. His is not a how-to guide, but something much richer and more important--a tale of discovery that will resonate with readers who yearn for a better, more meaningful life, whether they live in the city, country, or somewhere in between.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Up Tunket Road

Philip Ackerman-Leist, Erin Ackerman-Leist

Paperback $17.95

Angels by the River

Angels by the River

By James Gustave Speth

Reflections on race, environment, politics, and living on the front lines of change

In Angels by the River, James Gustave "Gus" Speth recounts his unlikely path from a southern boyhood through his years as one of the nation's most influential mainstream environmentalists and eventually to the system-changing activism that shapes his current work. Born and raised in an idyllic but racially divided town that later became the scene of South Carolina's horrific Orangeburg Massacre, Speth explores how the civil rights movement and the South's agrarian roots shaped his later work in the heyday of the environmental movement, when he founded two landmark environmental groups, fought for the nation's toughest environmental laws, spearheaded programs in the United Nations, advised the White House, and moved into a leading academic role as dean of Yale's prestigious School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Yet, in the end, he arrived somewhere quite unexpected–still believing change is possible, but not within the current political and economic system. Throughout this compelling memoir, Speth intertwines three stories–his own, his hometown's, and his country's–focusing mainly on his early years and the lessons he drew from them, and his later years, in which he comes full circle in applying those lessons. In the process he invites others to join him politically at or near the place at which he has arrived, wherever they may have started.

Available in: Hardcover, Paperback

Read More

Angels by the River

James Gustave Speth

Hardcover $25.00

A Man Apart

A Man Apart

By Peter Forbes and Helen Whybrow

A story of friendship, encouragement, and the quest to design a better world

A Man Apart is the story—part family memoir and part biography—of Peter Forbes and Helen Whybrow’s longtime friendship with Bill Coperthwaite (A Handmade Life), whose unusual life and fierce ideals helped them examine and understand their own.

Coperthwaite inspired many by living close to nature and in opposition to contemporary society, and was often compared to Henry David Thoreau. Much like Helen and Scott Nearing, who were his friends and mentors, Coperthwaite led a 55-year-long “experiment in living” on a remote stretch of Maine coast. There he created a homestead of wooden, multistoried yurts, a form of architecture for which he was known around the world.

Coperthwaite also embodied a philosophy that he called “democratic living,” which was about empowering all people to have agency over their lives in order to create a better community. The central question of Coperthwaite’s life was, “How can I live according to what I believe?”

In this intimate and honest account—framed by Coperthwaite’s sudden death and brought alive through the month-long adventure of building with him what would turn out to be his last yurt—Forbes and Whybrow explore the timeless lessons of Coperthwaite’s experiment in intentional living and self-reliance. They also reveal an important story about the power and complexities of mentorship: the opening of one’s life to someone else to learn together, and carrying on in that person’s physical absence.

While mourning Coperthwaite’s death and coming to understand the real meaning of his life and how it endures through their own, Forbes and Whybrow craft a story that reveals why it’s important to seek direct experience, to be drawn to beauty and simplicity, to create rather than critique, and to encourage others.

 

Available in: Hardcover

Read More

A Man Apart

Peter Forbes, Helen Whybrow

Hardcover $35.00

One-Straw Revolutionary

One-Straw Revolutionary

By Larry Korn

One-Straw Revolutionary represents the first commentary on the work of the late Japanese farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka (1913 – 2008), widely considered to be natural farming’s most influential practitioner. Mr. Fukuoka is perhaps most known for his bestselling book The One-Straw Revolution (1978), a manifesto on the importance of no-till agriculture, which was at the time of publication a radical challenge to the global systems that supply the world’s food, and still inspires readers today. Larry Korn, who apprenticed with Mr. Fukuoka in Japan at the time, translated the manuscript and brought it to the United States, knowing it would change the conversation about food forever. The One-Straw Revolution, edited by Korn and Wendell Berry, was an immediate international success, and established Mr. Fukuoka as a leading voice in the fight against conventional industrial agriculture. In this new book, through his own personal narrative, Larry Korn distills his experience of more than thirty-five years of study with Mr. Fukuoka, living and working on his farm on Shikoku Island, and traveling with Mr. Fukuoka to the United States on two six-week visits.  

One-Straw Revolutionary is the first book to look deeply at natural farming and intimately discuss the philosophy and work of Mr. Fukuoka. In addition to giving his personal thoughts about natural farming, Korn broadens the discussion by pointing out natural farming’s kinship with the ways of indigenous cultures and traditional Japanese farming. At the same time, he clearly distinguishes natural farming from other forms of agriculture, including scientific and organic agriculture and permaculture. Korn also clarifies commonly held misconceptions about natural farming in ways Western readers can readily understand. And he explains how natural farming can be used practically in areas other than agriculture, including personal growth and development.

The book follows the author on his travels from one back-to-the-land commune to another in the countryside of 1970s Japan, a journey that eventually led him to Mr. Fukuoka’s natural farm. Korn’s description of his time there, as well as traveling with Mr. Fukuoka during his visits to the United States, offers a rare, inside look at Mr. Fukuoka’s life. Readers will delight in this personal insight into one of the world’s leading agricultural thinkers.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

One-Straw Revolutionary

Larry Korn

Paperback $19.95