Jane Grigson was born in Gloucester in 1928 and brought up
in Sunderland where her father George Shipley McIntire was
Town Clerk. During the Second World War Jane and her younger
sister, Mary, were educated at Casterton School, Westmoreland
from where Jane proceeded to Newnham College, Cambridge to
read English Literature. Following graduation in 1949 she
spent three months in Florence.
After working in art galleries and in publishing, Jane joined
the publisher, George Rainbird, in 1953 as a picture researcher
for the encyclopedic 'People,Places, Things and Ideas' to
be published by Thames & Hudson. The editor of the book
was the author and poet, Geoffrey Grigson. Thus began a remarkable
partnership and a great love affair which lasted until Geoffrey's
death in 1985, aged 80.
Jane then spent ten years as a translator from Italian, sharing
with Father Kenelm Foster the John Florio Prize in 1966, for
the translation of Beccaria's 'Of Crimes and Punishment'.
In the early sixties, Jane and Geoffrey with their daughter,
Sophie, began to divide their time between a farmhouse in
Broad Town in Wiltshire and a 'cave-cottage' in Troo in France.
It was at this time that Jane's interest in food and cooking
deepened. Her career as a food writer began as a collaboration
with a friend, Adey Horton, on a work about French charcuterie.
Horton later withdrew from the project and Jane continued
her scrupulous research for the magisterial 'Charcuterie and
French Pork Cookery' published in 1967 to high acclaim.
As a result of the book, in 1968 Elizabeth David recommended
Jane to The Observer newspaper as their food columnist. Jane's
long association with the newspaper led to some of her most
popular titles: Good Things(1971), Food with the Famous (1979),
The Observer Guide to British Cookery (1984) and The Observer
Guide to European Cookery (1983). For her Vegetable Book (1978)
and her Fruit Book (1982), Jane received both the Glenfiddich
Writer of the Year Award and the Andre Simon Memorial Fund
Book Award. Jane's other works include Fish Cookery (1973),
English Food (1974), and The Mushroom Feast (1975).
Jane Grigson died at Broad Town on the eve of her 62nd birthday
A detailed bibliography of Jane's work appears in Issue 38
of Petits Propos
Culinaires, the journal published by Prospect
Books. A copy of Issue 38 is held in the Jane Grigson