Jane Grigson’s friends and admirers share their personal memories, explain why her work was a source of inspiration and reflect on her legacy.
“It could be said that European civilisation – and Chinese civilisation too – has been founded on the pig” – this is the first sentence of Jane Grigson’s introduction to her book Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery. I have a good many cookbooks but this is probably my favourite. It may not have the magnificent coloured photography so beloved by modern publishers but instead there are simple line drawings that are laden with information. Grigson’s writing is erudite, clear, informative and lyrical. Her books come from an era when scholarship was expected of writers rather than being a rarity worthy of note. Leaf through French Pork Cookery and there are hundreds of recipes – how to use caul fat; what to do with a pig’s spleen; black and white puddings; pork terrines; brains; Bath chaps. Between the covers there’s a storehouse of knowledge. Jane Grigson believed that every pork joint would benefit from an overnight stay in brine. I have tried this and, like most of her techniques and recipes, it works. That’s the salient point about Jane Grigson’s writing it is always clear, always helpful, always a joy. What a wonderful legacy to leave. Thank you.