'Sophie Grigson has written twenty odd excellent cookbooks, but I think this is the best of them. It is her first book for a decade and was obviously driven by a real love of her subjects, which are Puglia, people and food. It is witty, informative, fascinating and stuffed full of recipes you want to cook.' Prue Leith
'Puglia is a region I wanted to get to know intimately, to understand culture, life, history and geography, reflecting through the prism of the food that's put on the tables of locals and tourists, too. I'm reminded of my 20-year old self, scribbling in notebooks as I first travelled through Italy's south, only this time I'm back to stay.'
After her children grew up and left home, Sophie Grigson found herself living alone. About to turn 60, she took the decision to sell or give away most of her belongings, to pack up her car and to drive to Puglia on her own to start a new life. In a part of Italy where she didn't know anyone, having last visited the region 40 years ago, this narrative book of food writing, stories and recipes brings to life the region, its food and the local characters that she meets along the way.
This is a book about courage, hope, new horizons and, above all, delicious food. 'Vivid, humorous and unsentimental, Sophie's portrait of modern Puglia, still seeped in old ways, is a delicious treat' Xanthe Clay
'OMFG! This beautiful book is transporting me there. I can't put it down. And the lack of chickens...I never bloody noticed!' Matt Tebbutt
Jane Grigson, the best cookery writer in my lifetime, would have been soproud of her daughter. Sophie Grigson has written twenty-odd excellent cookbooks, but I think this is the best of them. It is her first book for a decade and was obviously driven by a real love of her subjects, which are Puglia, people and food. It is witty, informative, fascinating and stuffed full of recipes you want to cook. ― Prue Leith
Vivid, humorous and unsentimental, Sophie's portrait of modern Puglia, still steeped in old ways, is a delicious treat. ― Xanthe Clay
OMFG! This beautiful book is transporting me there. I can't put it down. And the lack of chickens... I never bloody noticed! ― Matt Tebbutt
Part travelogue, part recipe book, A Curious Absence of Chickens recounts a lone foodie's peregrinations through southern Italy with humour and candour. ― The Times
[A] delicious account of new friends and fantastico food that will leave you hungry for more. ― Daily Mail
Take a vicarious trip to southern Italy with seasoned cookery writer Sophie Grigson...She recounts her impressions of everything from the idiosyncrasies of her local market to the region's famous storied olive groves in this charming, sparingly illustrated read, bookended with traditional recipes (some with her slant). One to savour. ― Delicious Magazine
About the Author
Sophie Grigson is a cook, food writer and television presenter with over 20 books to her name and nine television series for BBC, Channel 4 and UKTV Food. She has also written columns and articles for the Evening Standard, Independent, Sunday Times, Country Living, BBC Good Food and Waitrose Food Illustrated. As well as raising her children, she also ran her cookery school in Oxford and presented television shows for The Travel Channel. On impulse, after interviewing Russell Norman about his book, Venice, in 2019 she sold or gave away the majority of her belongings and packed herself into her small car to move to Puglia in the south of Italy, where she now lives and runs a catering company called Trulli Delicious.