This book is perhaps the jewel in Prospect s crown. Within a few months of its first appearance in 1986 it was hailed as a modern classic. Fiona MacCarthy wrote in The Times that, the book is a large and grandiose life history, a passionate narrative of extremes of experience. Jeremy Round called Patience Gray the high priestess of cooking, whose book pushes the form of the cookery book as far as it can go. Angela Carter remarked that it was less a cookery book that a summing-up of the genre of the late-modern British cookery book. The work has attracted a cult following in the United States, where passages have been read out at great length on the radio; and it has been anthologized by Paul Levy in The Penguin Book of Food and Drink. It was given a special award by the Andre Simon Book Prize committee in 1987.
The author has for the last 20 years shared her life with a sculptor whose appetite for marble and sedimentary rocks has taken them to Tuscany, Catalonia, Naxos and Apulia. She has written a passionate autobiographical cookbook, Mediterranean through and through and as compelling as a first class novel.