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Robbing the Bees: A Biography of Honey, The Sweet Liquid Gold that Seduced the World
Robbing the Bees A Biography of Honey The Sweet Liquid Gold that Seduced the World
Author: Holley Bishop
Honey has been waiting almost ten million years for a good biography. Bees have been making this prized food -- for centuries the world's only sweetener -- for millennia, but we humans started recording our fascination with it only in the past few thousand years. Part history, part love letter, Robbing the Bees is a celebration of bees and t...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780743250221
ISBN-10: 0743250222
Publication Date: 1/10/2006
Pages: 336
Rating:
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 9

4.1 stars, based on 9 ratings
Publisher: Free Press
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

susanmg avatar reviewed Robbing the Bees: A Biography of Honey, The Sweet Liquid Gold that Seduced the World on
Helpful Score: 2
I loved this book. I loved the author's interweaving beekeeping history into her descriptions of the modern day activities of a professional beekeeper in Florida. I also learned a lot as a neophyte who is just learning about beekeeping.
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reviewed Robbing the Bees: A Biography of Honey, The Sweet Liquid Gold that Seduced the World on + 3466 more book reviews
Honey has been waiting a long time for a good biography," writes Holley Bishop. Bees have been making this food on Earth for millennia, but we humans started recording our fascination with it only in the past few thousand years -- painting bees and hives on cave and temple walls and papyrus scrolls, revering them in poetry and art, even worshipping these amazing little insects as gods. From the temples of the Nile to the hives behind the author's own house, people have had a long, rapturous love affair with the beehive and the seductive, addictive honey it produces. Combining passionate research, rich detail, and fascinating anecdote, Holley Bishop's Robbing the Bees is an in-depth, sumptuous look at the oldest, most delectable food in the world.

Part biography, part history, Robbing the Bees is also a celebration, a love letter to bees and their magical produce. Honey has played significant and varied roles in civilization: it is so sweet that bacteria can't survive in it, so it was our first food preservative and all-purpose wound salve. Honey wine, or mead, was the intoxicant of choice long before beer or wine existed. Hindus believe honey leads to a long life; Mohammed looked to honey as a remedy for all illness. Virgil; Aristotle; Pythagoras; Gregor Mendel; Sylvia Plath's father, Otto; and Sir Edmund Hillary are among the famous beekeepers and connoisseurs who have figured in honey's past and shaped its present.

To help navigate the worlds and cultures of honey, Holley Bishop -- beekeeper, writer, and honey aficionado -- apprentices herself to a modern guide and expert, professional beekeeper Donald Smiley, who harvests tupelo honey from hundreds of hives in the remote town of Wewahitchka, Florida. Bishop chronicles Smiley's day-to-day business as he robs his bees in the steamy Florida panhandle and provides an engaging exploration of the lively science, culture, and lore that surround each step of the beekeeping process and each stage of bees' lives.

Interspersed throughout the narrative are the author's lyrical reflections on her own beekeeping experiences, the business and gastronomical world of honey, the myriad varieties of honey (as distinct as the provenance of wine), as well as illustrations, historical quotes, and recipes -- ancient, contemporary, and some of the author's own creations.


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