Whether drizzled into our tea or spread atop our terms of endearment, there’s one thing that is always true about honey: it is sweet. As Lucy M. Long shows in this book, while honey is definitely the natural sweetener par excellence, it has a long history in our world as much more, serving in different settings as a food, tonic, medicine, and even preservative. It features in many religions as a sacred food of the gods. In this luscious history, she traces the uses and meanings of honey in myriad cultures throughout time.
Long points to a crucial fact about honey: it can be enjoyed with very little human processing, which makes it one of the most natural foods we consume. Its nutritional qualities and flavors dramatically reflect the surroundings in which it is produced, and those who produce it—bees—are some of the most important insects in the world, the chief pollinators of wild plants and domesticated crops alike. Showing how honey has figured in politics, religion, economics, and popular culture, Long also directly explores its tastiest use—in our food and drink—offering a history of its culinary place in the world, one sweetened with an assortment of delicious recipes. Lively and engaged, her account will give even the saltiest of us an insatiable sweet tooth.