Fasting and Feasting: The Life of Visionary Food Writer Patience Gray by Adam Federman (Chelsea Green Publishing, 384 pages, $34.95)

Cult following English cook Patience Gray, who died in 2005, is the most influential food writer most of us have never heard of. She lived a wild and provocative life in the Mediterranean, developing her philosophy of cooking and life — eating deliciously along the way.

As an early advocate of foraging, preserving and of slow food, the food writer and author of the 1986 modern classic Honey from a Weed (thank her for making pesto and arugula staples!) was a major influence on Chez Panisse's Alice Waters, who writes the introduction. In tribute, this long overdue biography on the food heroine should live on the shelf alongside Elizabeth David, MFK Fisher and Laurie Colwin.

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