Vivian's Reviews > Robbing the Bees: A Biography of Honey--The Sweet Liquid Gold that Seduced the World

Robbing the Bees by Holley Bishop
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really liked it
bookshelves: nonfiction

What? A history of bees and honey interesting? YES!!!! I loved reading this book, looking forward to my daily "smackerel" (as Winnie the Pooh might have put it). How, you might ask, can an author accomplish this? In Holley Bishop's case, she simply shares her own budding love affair with bees and honey and then introduces us to Don Smiley -- an independent Florida apiarist who agreed to be shadowed by the author and featured in her "subject of inquiry" -- interspersed with fascinating historical and scientific details.

I learned so much!!! And I LOVE learning. Did you know that when bees forage, they limit themselves to one species of pollen per trip? No doubt you've never wondered how beeswax is produced? It all defies imagination!

Smiley swears by his cure for sore throat: 2 Tablespoons honey, 1/8 teaspoon of alum, 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a pint jar filled with water and kept in the fridge. He says it will "make your mouth feel like you're chewing on a cotton ball" but it will "knock the sore throat right outta you." (He doesn't say whether or not it must be "raw" honey).

I liked this description (page 192 of the paperback edition): ..."two teaspoons of honey cost three or four times as much money as the same amount of sugar, but price is the only advantage to eating crystallized cane. Each teaspoon of sugar is pure refined crystallized sucrose, a complex sugar that offers fifteen calories, a generic bland sweetness, and absolutely nothing else. Any interesting flavors or plant nutrients have been removed in the refining process. Honey, on the other hand, emerges from the hive refinery full of character, flavor, and natural organic nutrients. Depending on the floral source, a teaspoonful of honey provides twenty calories as well as antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, selenium, copper, and manganese. Raw honey also contains trace amounts of pollen and its protein benefits. You would have to eat an awful lot of raw honey (I calculate about 7.5 cups!) to achieve the recommended daily allowance of these benefits, but you could eat sugar all day long and still get nothing but a sweet processed buzz."

If I had any yard at all, I might be persuaded to start my own colony!

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
July 14, 2012 – Finished Reading
July 16, 2012 – Shelved
July 16, 2012 – Shelved as: nonfiction

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