So how best to use this book: If you find yourself with an early edition, enjoy John Thorne's’ excellent foreword—he so accurately describes the meandering way I found myself reading the book (I understand that this essay is sadly missing from the newest version, which is a pity). Then plunge into the beginning forty pages of Patience Gray’s evocative prose as she sets the stage for the places she lived and loved with her sculptor husband Norman Mommens. Gray will lead you down a rocky goat path on the Greek island of Naxos, where you will find a simple recipe about cooking beans; then across the small market plaza in Carrara, Tuscany to discover delicious eggplant, tomatoes, okra, peppers, and other summertime food; finally, enter the simple kitchen of a Catalan cook as she prepares an ample paella feast. As Thorne suggests, let yourself be drawn into the recipes as they appear in the many essays and stories. They are conveniently annotated with the page numbers in the text. Written in a truly narrative style, Gray's recipes deliver a true understanding of the basic ingredients she used and her illustrated glossaries of herbs, spices, mushrooms, and fish will inform your choice of recipes as you finally select your own favorite dishes.