Patience Gray

Author of 'Plats du Jour' and 'Honey from a Weed'
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The Independent Online

"I know you will love this book," Jane Grigson said, writes Paul Bailey [further to the obituary of Patience Gray, 14 March]. She presented me with a copy of Honey from a Weed.

"I know you will love this book," Jane Grigson said, writes Paul Bailey [further to the obituary of Patience Gray, 14 March]. She presented me with a copy of Honey from a Weed.

The book had been rejected by every noted London publishing house because of its unconventional nature and was eventually rescued from obscurity by Alan Davidson, the founder of Prospect Books. This culinary masterpiece disconcerted those who are contented with, and accustomed to, collections of recipes that are accurate in every detail. Patience Gray rarely provides measurements for cooking. She chooses instead to describe what a dish should taste like and recommends the best way of achieving that end. She gives the reader the freedom to be imaginative, and it is that quality I cherish in her.

I can still read Honey from a Weed for pleasure but I also put it to more practical use. The "aubergines cooked in the Athenian way" is a constant in my kitchen, served cold in the summer with pumpernickel bread and slices of lemons (my additions). The exquisite simplicity of her gently fried sole in butter and good white wine with muscat grapes as the final addition is something that always pleases my guests.

Jane Grigson was, as ever, right. I love this book by the inquisitive Patience Gray, whose curious intelligence and zest for life are present on every page.

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