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The Honey Spinner by Grace Pundyk

The Honey Spinner by Grace PundykI came across this author a few years ago when I saw her at a travel writing seminar at the Brisbane Writers Festival. She just described her travels in search of honey, how it was made around the world and the political and environmental effects the honey industry had on it’s countries with such passion that it made me want to read her book.

At the time I was about to take off to South America so I compiled my list of books I wanted to buy from the festival and decided to wait until I got back before breaking the bank on yet more books. Not sure why it took me three years to finally purchase the book, but here I am, finally done with it.

I’ve never been a fan of honey, it’s too sickly sweet for my taste buds, but as I sit here typing this I’m sucking on a teaspoon of liquid gold with flecks of honeycomb, so I’m wondering if Grace has converted me.

Throughout the entire book I kept wanting to re-taste honey to see

if I had mistaken the taste that this woman wrote so passionately about. Grace writes about thick, dark yellow honey from the middle-east and her favourite honey, from Italy, that it made me reluctant to just go to the supermarket and buy some plain Australian generically manufactured honey like Capilano in a squeezy bottle.

However, this morning I had to trundle over to the Bi-lo since Rich was out of milk and I was in desperate need of coffee, I spotted a jar of Beechworth with a full honeycomb inside. I’d never seen honey like this on supermarket shelves (possibly because I’m never in the market for honey) so decided to buy a bottle. My first spoonful was exactly as all my previous experiences with honey went – cringe and then say, ‘Meh, it’s honey’. My second spoonful, however, I started to reconsider – I could see how this could be appealing.

I doubt I’m suddenly going to be converted into a honey lover, I’m thankful honey has no expiry date so I can keep it in the cupboard for however long it takes me to use – probably in some baked good or something. But this was an interesting book, if not exactly what I was expecting.

The book traces Grace’s travels through a few select countries in her search for beekeepers, discusses their methods of beekeeping, the issues they have with a declining honey market, blended honey, bee diseases and logging. Like all non-fiction books, this one had it’s moments of struggles when my brain wanted to run free amongst some fiction rather than focus itself on the subject at hand, but I’m glad I read it. I’m fascinated by how bees work, how the hives work, what the beekeepers job is and this book answered all those questions.

With my burning need to read The Honey Spinner out of my system I need to move onto my ever growing pile of books to review.