Jane Grigson was born in Gloucester, England and brought up in Sunderland, where her father George Shipley McIntire was town clerk. 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).
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.
English Food (London: Macmillan, 1974; with illustrations by Gillian Zeiner; an anthology of English and Welsh recipes of all periods chosen by Jane Grigson, for which she was voted Cookery Writer of the Year. A revised and enlarged edition was published in 1979 (ISBN 0 33326866 0), and later editions were issued by Ebury Press with a foreword by Sophie Grigson)
The Mushroom Feast: A Celebration of All Edible Fungi With Over 250 Recipes (1975)
The Vegetable Book (1978) (for which she received the Glenfiddich Writer of the Year Award)
Food with the Famous (1979; Grub Street, 1991; vignettes of 11 historical figures - John Evelyn, Jane Austen, Marcel Proust and others - with recipes for their favourite dishes)
The Fruit Book (1982) (awarded the André Simon Memorial Fund Book Award)
The Best of Jane Grigson's British Cookery
The Best of Jane Grigson's Desserts
The Best of Jane Grigson's Soups
Book of European Cooking, Jane Grigson's
Cooking with Exotic Fruits and Vegetables
Dishes From the Mediterranean
The Elle Cookbook
The Enjoyment of Food (an anthology)
The Fruit, Herbs and Vegetables of Italy
In Celebration of Chives
The International Wine and Food Society's Guide to Fish Cookery