Or to give the book its full and poetic title: Honey – A handbook for home, health and happiness by Clova McQueen. That has got to be the most perfect name for a food writer with a health food shop. I wonder if the shop is called Bees Knees as Usual?
I am surprised that this is Clova’s first book but I hope it won’t be her last. She has an obvious talent for relaying information .This is quite one of the most entertaining books I have read in a long while. It’s informative but also very funny. The kind of humour that makes you laugh out loud and I didn’t expect to find that in a cookbook.
I say “cookbook” but it’s not strictly just that. It’s a little encyclopaedia of honey. You will learn the history of honey from mythical times to now, all about hives, the uses of honey, how it features in music and romance.
It’s a fascinating substance whose properties are legendary, mysterious and traditionally comforting. Clova McQueen (don’t you just love that name) guides us through all the aspects of honey in an absorbing and light-hearted way. She includes some gorgeous recipes such as Honey and Whisky Ice Cream Whip and a drink called Hair of the Dog which sounds so nice that it would be worth suffering a hangover just to have the excuse to try it.
Clova also has a section on beauty and honey which includes Honey Lip Balm and Honey and Oatmeal Face Mask. The chapter on health and honey suggests honey as a cure for both insomnia and constipation. Now, that worries me! Think about it!
Clova McQueen ends with this little story about the great Scottish comedian Chic Murray. He described staying in a particularly uninspiring guest house where, after an uncomfortable night’s sleep, he ordered some toast for breakfast. When it finally arrived at his table, it was accompanied by a small basket of jams and preserves. Hidden in the middle of the basket was one miniscule jar of honey. “Ah”, said Chic to the guest house manager, “I see you keep a bee.”
Honey – A handbook for home, health and happiness
Author: Clova McQueen
Published by: Black & White Publishing Ltd
ISBN 13:978 1 84502 158 0
Book review by Chrissie Walker © 2018