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Bread and Oil

By (author) Tomas Graves
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Prospect Books, Blackawton, United Kingdom
Published: 8th Jul 2000
Dimensions: w 138mm h 216mm
ISBN-10: 0907325971
ISBN-13: 9780907325970
Barcode No: 9780907325970

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Kirkus UK
An oddity, a book about life, people and cooking. Tomas Graves - son of poet Robert Graves, ex-hippy rock-and-roller (what else could you do with a dad like that?) - explores the nature of the Mediterranean peasant society through the food it most likes to eat. In Majorca, the land where Tomas was born and bred, the staple diet is bread and oil 'pa-amb-oli' in the Catalan in which the work was first published. Autobiographical, anecdotal, a hint of the scholarly, a little bit subversive, all the more seductive for its lack of pretension, there's something of the Venerable Bede about a chronicle which both celebrates and laments the passing of a thousand (maybe ten thousand) years of cultural habit. If the Mediterranean way of life were a monument of brick or stone, it would have been restored, preserved and opened for the admiration of the public. But when the record is written in the heart and mind, no power on earth can preserve it. It is this elusive inheritance that the author has caught and held - the story of a people formed by hardship and endurance, of stormy winters and bone-dry summers, of self-sufficiency and careful husbandry. And if a book largely devoted to the flavour of sourdough bread and the taste of olive oil sounds like romantic pie-in-the-sky, so much the worse for us all. A timely reminder, as the millenium turns, of what makes us who we are and how easily it's lost. Review by ELISABETH LUARD (Kirkus UK)