Picture of author.

Jane Grigson (1928–1990)

Author of English Food

29+ Works 2,267 Members 16 Reviews 2 Favorited

About the Author

Includes the names: Jane Grigson, Jane Griggson

Works by Jane Grigson

Associated Works

The Fruit, Herbs and Vegetables of Italy (1989) — Foreword, some editions — 59 copies
The Prawn Cocktail Years (1997) — Contributor — 54 copies
Sainsbury's Masterclass (1988) — Contributor — 7 copies


Common Knowledge

Date of death
Burial location
Christ Churchyard, Wiltshire, England, UK
Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England, UK
Place of death
Wiltshire, England, UK
Places of residence
Sunderland, Durham, England, UK
Sunderland Church High School
University of Cambridge (Newnham College)
Casterton School
food writer
cookbook author
Grigson, Geoffrey (husband)
Grigson, Sophie (daughter)
Short biography
Jane Grigson was born in Gloucester, England and brought up in Sunderland, where her father George Shipley McIntire was town clerk.[1] She attended Sunderland Church High School and Casterton School, Westmorland, then went on to Newnham College, Cambridge University, where she read English. On graduating from university in 1949, she spent three months in Florence. After working in art galleries, Grigson went into publishing, joining George Rainbird's company in 1953 as a picture researcher for the encyclopedic People, Places, Things and Ideas. The editor of the book was poet and critic Geoffrey Grigson (1905-85), whom she later married, becoming his third wife. Grigson subsequently worked as a translator, winning the John Florio prize in 1966 for her work with Father Kenelm Foster on the translation of Cesare Beccaria's On Crimes and Punishments (1966). Grigson's growing interest in food and cooking led to the writing of her first book, Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery (1967), which was accorded the unusual honour for an English food writer of being translated into French. She subsequently became food columnist for The Observer, from 1968 until her death in 1990. Her long-lasting association with the newspaper produced some of her most successful books, such as Good Things (1971), Food With the Famous (1979), The Observer Guide to British Cookery (1984) and The Observer Guide to European Cookery (1983). The International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) has created the Jane Grigson Award in her honour. Jane Grigson died in Broad Town, Wiltshire, on the eve of her 62nd birthday. Her daughter Sophie Grigson (b. 1959) is also a cookery writer and broadcaster.



A coffee table art book, this seems to be a Charlotte Knox book of beautiful illustrations that needed text to fill it out and Knox asked friend Jane Grigson write the filler. Written in 1988 shortly after the newer refrigerated containers spread produce worldwide, "exotic" means new to the local non-ethnic British store. Articles range from "what is this" Wikipedia-style squibs; hearsay of Knox asking questions from a British museum expert that responded that he didn't know; fond memories of Grigson having the ingredient as a child; researched history following use in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome from a significant dietary item, to neglected weeds, to modern comebacks; ingredients that are world-wide with a different name everywhere with different customs of cooking; and some of Grigson's favorites that she's had been using for decades. Many articles read like a collection of notecards with no transitions, using alternate names for the ingredient in each paragraph and another version in the recipes.
Recipes are presented in several styles: how to pick at the market then cut and peel; this ingredient must be good if harvested today, but by the time it travels to a British market and you must try it, then sauté in some butter; mentioned in the text to make the text longer; and standard cookbook recipes with title, list of measured ingredients, and preparation instructions. Some recipes are Grigson's, some credited to other authors, some modified to British tastes.
Warning: despite the book's title, most of the recipes are meat heavy.
… (more)
DromJohn | Aug 4, 2023 |
Mushroom barley soup, in the Middle-European manner, Michael Field, p.58; split into two batches, one with chicken stock, one with vegetable stock; ok, chicken stock version slightly better.
DromJohn | Feb 15, 2021 |
This is a fun, and yet exasperating book. Some of the recipes I'd have liked the most are brief mentions, rather than recipes. It has a good, honest, old-fashioned recipe for mincemeat (although it will be hard for the modern cook to find a source for beef suet), but often gives short shrift to various honorable mentions in the description of a country.

James Beard wrote the introductory pages (1-80), and is listed along with the other contributors.
There are so many contributors listed for this book that I decided to list none of them.… (more)
Lyndatrue | 1 other review | Dec 28, 2013 |
This is a well set out book, taking you on a logical journey through English food. Some recipes are treasured and familiar to most already, others less so but you can easily imagine your ancestors delighting in them.

Yet again (for me) another book I can't wait to try recipes from. What a pity Jane Grigson is no longer with us to dispense such useful historical information and sound advice.
2 vote
floriferous | Oct 7, 2012 |



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