Anthony Sattin

La Dolce Eater

Fasting and Feasting: The Life of Visionary Food Writer Patience Gray

By

Chelsea Green 371pp £23 order from our bookshop

Thirty years ago I received a letter from Puglia in southern Italy. It was typed in red ink and it came from Patience Gray, whom at that point I had not met. In it she thanked me for reviewing her cookery book Honey from a Weed – for testing the recipes and for not calling her pretentious for including a long bibliography at the end. The letter pleased me because I knew the place from which it had come, so removed from London, where I was living. One of Gray’s achievements back then was to interest us in a place where slow food, seasonal eating and foraging were not lifestyle choices, but a necessary part of life. Before the likes of Peter Mayle started describing years in Provence, Andalusia and Tuscany, long before Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray (no relation) installed their wood-fired oven and started serving the best of Italian food at The River Café, here was a glimpse of a very good and very different life lived on the edge of Europe.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,
    • RT : One of my favourite literary magazines is celebrating 40 years this year. Here is the September edition of… ,
    • 'Now that the Thames is too fast-flowing to freeze, its spirit’s devotees ... have found other climes for their pri… ,
    • 'Bythell glowers past his till at a world in slow free fall.' on the travails of a second-hand book… ,
    • 'It is a scent of animal wrath, of instinctive need, of brutal life which affects the cultured nostrils of our civi… ,
    • 'The day produced countless stories of chance, of people taking one route or another without realising that the dec… ,
    • In this month's 'Silenced Voices', looks at the case of Azimjon Askarov, the journalist and human rights… ,