Honey and Dust - Travels in Search of Sweetness

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 August, 2006, 12:00am

Honey and Dust - Travels in Search of Sweetness


by Piers Moore Ede


Bloomsbury, $135


British ecologist Piers Moore Ede hit the radiator of a white truck that jumped a traffic light as he was riding his bike, without a helmet, down Haight Ashbury Hill in San Francisco. He remembers being in a hurry to get to work and not being focused on what he was doing. He remembers lots of morphine. Mostly, he remembers the taste of metal on his tongue. We know these days that honey has many healing properties and Honey and Dust - Travels in Search of Sweetness is as much about Moore Ede's recovery as it is about tracking down gatherers of wild honey in far-flung places. His journey takes him to Lebanon, Syria, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. In the Himalayas, his quest is not without risk as he climbs to watch the dismantling of huge honeycombs built under mountain cliffs by wild and angry Apis laboriosa. ''Go with care, Mr Piers,' said his guide Chitra. 'It will not be good for my guiding business if you fall off this cliff.'' The recovered so-called butterfly honey contains a natural hallucinogenic and it is, says Moore Ede, 'the most delicious thing I have ever tasted'.