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‘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.

Reviews

Vivid, humorous and unsentimental, Sophie's portrait of modern Puglia, still steeped in old ways, is a delicious treat.
Xanthe Clay
My first thought on reading A Curious Absence of Chickens is that Jane Grigson, the best cookery writer in my lifetime, would have been so proud 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
My first thought on reading A Curious Absence of Chickens was that Jane Grigson, the best cookery writer in my lifetime, would have been so proud 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
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