24 Mar Honey: the most magical of foods
Searching for inspiration for my blog, I have found two very interesting books from Hattie Ellis.
The first book is Spoonfuls of Honey: A Complete guide to honey’s flavours and culinary uses with over 80 recipes
This book gathers together Ellis best recipes and tips about how to taste and use honey in the kitchen, and the wider meaning and uses of honey.
Especially I was impressed by the following words: “As a consumer, cook and honey lover, you can follow the debates and perhaps choose to buy organic produce, for example organic vegetable oil, or food that is grown in a way that doesn’t put bees at risk. As a gardener, you can avoid pesticides and herbicides that may put bees in danger and grow plants that provide nectar and pollen. As citizens, we can ask questions and push forward the principle that nature is not a commercial commodity but the present and future of the world itself. Honey and bees can show us the interconnections and vulnerabilities of the world around us, as well as celebrating the extraordinary power of nature.”
The second book is Sweetness & Light: the mysterious history of the honeybee is the story of bees and honey from the Stone Age to the contemporary cutting edge; from Nepalese honey hunters to the urban hives on the rooftops of New York City.
How we see bees and use their honey has changed over the centuries, at each point reflecting the era. The book follows the bee through time, landing on the honeybee geniuses who made great discoveries about the insect or were inspired by them. Darwin, Le Corbusier, Shakespeare, Winnie the Pooh: anyone who’s anyone has fallen in love with bees and honey.
The book ends with the current concerns about dwindling biodiversity and disease in hives. Since the book was published in 2004, these concerns have grown considerably. Disease, pesticides and lack of food in the countryside of monocultural agribusiness all add stress to the bees.
About hattie Ellis
Hattie Ellis was shortlisted for both the André Simon Awards Food Book of the Year and the Guild of Food Writers Awards Best Cookery Book for Spoonfuls of Honey in 2014. In 2013, Hattie won two Guild of Food Writers Awards for What to Eat? In the Food Book Award and the Miriam Polunin Award for Work on Healthy Eating categories. She is also the author of Sweetness & Light: The Mysterious History of the Honeybee, The One Pot Cook, 10 Chewy Questions About Food, Planet Chicken and Best of British Fish. Hattie has written about bees and honey in numerous publications, including The Times Magazine, Telegraph Magazine and Weekend sections, FT Weekend, delicious., Kew Magazine and The Field.