Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Letters from the Hive by Stephen Buchmann

Letters from the Hive

I found this charming book very interesting and informative.  For example, I had no idea there were many prehistoric cave paintings depicting ancient honey hunting. But once you look at the figures, it is obvious what they are doing. The book takes you back through the history of honey hunting and bee keeping. It takes you on treks through Maya villages in the Yucatan peninsula, to Nepal, Australia, and India to learn the history and current practices of bee keeping and honey harvesting.  I also didn't know the prominent place of bees and honey in many ancient creation myths. The book has an interesting section on the many types of honey. Did you know that certain types of honey can be toxic, such as honey from azaleas or the yellow Carolina jasmine?Honey figures prominently as a medicinal not just in ancient times but is currently used in the dressings on burn patients.  Two of the most fun chapters were on cooking with honey and making (and imbibing) mead.  Lots of references for further information. 
A pleasant, informative, good read. 

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