November 26, 2009

Book Review: A Short History of the Honeybee

"Although in our over-sugared age, honey has been demoted to something smeared on toast, squeezed into a glass of ice tea, flavor as unnoticed as change that's slipped between couch cushions, time was, honey was sacred. The ancients considered honey a kind of magic: treasured for its purity, the fact that it never spoils, never corrupts. The thick fluid was not only the sweetest flavor they had found in nature, but the taste closest to the perfection of the gods—gods who drank nectar in some cultures, the same substance the bees went after."

This excerpt should give you an idea of how much history comes into play in this book. It's more of a poetic account, a memoir almost, of E. Readicker-Henderson's love of and quest for the "taste of the landscape"— honey. He worships the honeybee in his depiction on how honey comes to be. Despite a couple of disturbingly incorrect statements, it's a pleasant read. And although I could quibble over some of the captions as well, the imagery is absolutely beautiful.

Thanks, J, for the gift.


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