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Patience Gray, joint author of Plats du Jour
Patience Gray (1917-2005), née Stanham, was at Queen’s College, Harley Street and read economics at LSE. She became a secretary at the Arts Council, where she met Thomas Gray, whose name she took by deed poll; they had two children before they parted. She lived in Hampstead, worked at the Royal College of Art and translated the Larousse Gastronomique with Primrose Boyd (1913-82), née Hubbard, a painter who was married to the BBC producer Donald Boyd. The two of them formed a freelance research partnership and in 1957 published Plats du Jour. At the time it far outsold Elizabeth David’s books, 50,000 copies being bought in the first year. The memorable drawings were some of the earliest published work by the now renowned painter and illustrator David Gentleman (b.1930). From 1958-61 Patience was first Woman’s Page editor for the Observer; she then made her home in Italy with Norman Mommens the sculptor. Their life together is evoked in Honey from a Weed (1986).