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

Loving and Leaving the Good Life

Loving and Leaving the Good Life

By Helen Nearing

Helen and Scott Nearing, authors of Living the Good Life and many other bestselling books, lived together for 53 years until Scott's death at age 100. Loving and Leaving the Good Life is Helen's testimonial to their life together and to what they stood for: self-sufficiency, generosity, social justice, and peace.

In 1932, after deciding it would be better to be poor in the country than in the city, Helen and Scott moved from New York Ciy to Vermont. Here they created their legendary homestead which they described in Living the Good Life: How to Live Simply and Sanely in a Troubled World, a book that has sold 250,000 copies and inspired thousands of young people to move back to the land.

The Nearings moved to Maine in 1953, where they continued their hard physical work as homesteaders and their intense intellectual work promoting social justice. Thirty years later, as Scott approached his 100th birthday, he decided it was time to prepare for his death. He stopped eating, and six weeks later Helen held him and said goodbye.

Loving and Leaving the Good Life is a vivid self-portrait of an independent, committed and gifted woman. It is also an eloquent statement of what it means to grow old and to face death quietly, peacefully, and in control. At 88, Helen seems content to be nearing the end of her good life. As she puts it, "To have partaken of and to have given love is the greatest of life's rewards. There seems never an end to the loving that goes on forever and ever. Loving and leaving are part of living."

Helen's death in 1995 at the age of 92 marks the end of an era. Yet as Helen writes in her remarkable memoir, "When one door closes, another opens." As we search for a new understanding of the relationships between death and life, this book provides profound insights into the question of how we age and die.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Loving and Leaving the Good Life

Helen Nearing

Paperback $25.00

Lynn Margulis

Lynn Margulis

Tireless, controversial, and hugely inspirational to those who knew her or encountered her work, Lynn Margulis was a scientist whose intellectual energy and interests knew no bounds. Best known for her work on the origins of eukaryotic cells, the Gaia hypothesis, and symbiogenesis as a driving force in evolution, her work has forever changed the way we understand life on Earth.

When Margulis passed away in 2011, she left behind a groundbreaking scientific legacy that spanned decades. In this collection, Dorion Sagan, Margulis's son and longtime collaborator, gathers together the voices of friends and colleagues to remark on her life and legacy, in essays that cover her early collaboration with James Lovelock, her fearless face-off with Richard Dawkins during the so-called "Battle of Balliol" at Oxford, the intrepid application of her scientific mind to the insistence that 9/11 was a false-flag operation, her affinity for Emily Dickinson, and more.

Margulis was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1983, received the prestigious National Medal of Science in 1999, and her papers are permanently archived at the Library of Congress. Less than a month before her untimely death, Margulis was named one of the twenty most influential scientists alive - one of only two women on this list, which include such scientists as Stephen Hawking, James Watson, and Jane Goodall.

Available in: Hardcover

Read More

Lynn Margulis

Dorion Sagan

Hardcover $27.95

Killing the Cranes

Killing the Cranes

By Edward Girardet

Few reporters have covered Afghanistan as intrepidly and humanely as Edward Girardet. Now, in a gripping, personal account, Girardet delivers a story of that nation's resistance fighters, foreign invaders, mercenaries, spies, aid workers, Islamic extremists, and others who have defined Afghanistan's last thirty years of war, chaos, and strife.

As a young foreign correspondent, Girardet arrived in Afghanistan just three months prior to the Soviet invasion in 1979. Over the next decades, he trekked hundreds of miles across rugged mountains and deserts on clandestine journeys following Afghan guerrillas in battle as they smuggled French doctors into the country, and as they combated each other as well as invaders. He witnessed the world's greatest refugee exodus, the bitter Battle for Kabul in the early 1990s, the rise of the Taliban, and, finally, the US-led Western military and recovery effort that began in 2001.

Girardet's encounters with key figures-including Ahmed Shah Massoud, the famed "Lion of Panjshir" assassinated by al Qaeda two days before 9/11, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Islamic extremist massively supported by the Americans during the 1980s only to become one of today's most ruthless anti-Western insurgents, and Osama bin Laden-shed extraordinary light on the personalities who have shaped the nation, and its current challenges, from corruption and narcotics trafficking to selfish regional interests.

Killing the Cranes provides crucial insights into why the West's current involvement has turned into such a disaster, not only rekindling a new insurgency, but squandering billions of dollars on a recovery process that has shown scant success.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Killing the Cranes

Edward Girardet

Paperback $19.95

Gaviotas

Gaviotas

By Alan Weisman

Los Llanos—the rain-leached, eastern savannas of war-ravaged Colombia—are among the most brutal environments on Earth and an unlikely setting for one of the most hopeful environmental stories ever told. Here, in the late 1960s, a young Colombian development worker named Paolo Lugari wondered if the nearly uninhabited, infertile llanos could be made livable for his country’s growing population. He had no idea that nearly four decades later, his experiment would be one of the world’s most celebrated examples of sustainable living: a permanent village called Gaviotas.

In the absence of infrastructure, the first Gaviotans invented wind turbines to convert mild breezes into energy, hand pumps capable of tapping deep sources of water, and solar collectors efficient enough to heat and even sterilize drinking water under perennially cloudy llano skies. Over time, the Gaviotans’ experimentation has even restored an ecosystem: in the shelter of two million Caribbean pines planted as a source of renewable commercial resin, a primordial rain forest that once covered the llanos is unexpectedly reestablishing itself.

Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez has called Paolo Lugari “Inventor of the World.” Lugari himself has said that Gaviotas is not a utopia: “Utopia literally means ‘no place.’ We call Gaviotas a topia, because it’s real.”

Relive their story with this special 10th-anniversary edition of Gaviotas, complete with a new afterword by the author describing how Gaviotas has survived and progressed over the past decade.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Gaviotas

Alan Weisman

Paperback $24.95