The Art of Eating - MFK Fisher New softcover book 50th Anniversary Edition
THE ART OF EATING
New softcover book.
During her lifetime, M.F.K.
Fisher (1908-1992) won acclaim as the author of popular culinary books such as Serve
it Forth, Consider the Oyster, How to Cook a Wolf, The
Gastronomical Me, and An Alphabet for Gourmets. First published in
1954, The Art of Eating presents all of these works together in one
volume. The 50th anniversary edition features reflections on Fisher by her
family and friends as well as food professionals such as James Beard and Julia
More than 50 years after M. F. K.
Fisher logged her musings an d memories on food, love , and life, her nuanced
stories still entertain and enlighten. If you haven't yet read Fisher's work,
you will thoroughly enjoy discovering its variety, richness, and honesty. If it
has been a while since you last delved into her writing, you will be captivated
once again. Here are a few passages:
SERVE IT FORTH
"The Standing and the
"We talked, and well, and all the dinner was most excellent, and the wine
was like music on our tongues. Time was forgotten. . . . We watched as in a
blissful dream the small fat hands moving like magic among bottles and small
bowls and spoons and plates, stirring, pouring, turning the pan over the flame
just so, just so, with the face bent keen and intent above."
CONSIDER THE OYSTER
"There are three kinds of oyster-eaters: those loose-minded sports who will
eat anything, hot, cold, thin, thick, dead or alive, as long as it is oyster;
those who will eat them raw and only raw; and those who with equal severity will
eat them cooked and no way other. . . . The first group may perhaps have the
most fun, although there is a white fire about the others' bigotry that can
never warm the broad-minded."
HOW TO COOK A WOLF
"How to Boil Water"
"Probably the most satisfying soup in the world for people who are hungry,
as well as for those who are tired or worried or cross or in debt or in a
moderate amount of pain or in love or in robust health or in any kind of
business huggermuggery, is minestrone. . . . It is a thick unsophisticated soup,
heart-warming and soul-staying, full of aromatic vegetables and well bound at
the last with good cheese."
THE GASTRONOMICAL ME
"The Measure of My
"The first thing I cooked was pure poison. I made it for Mother, after my
little brother David was born, and within twenty minutes of the first swallow
she was covered with great itching red welts. . . . The pudding was safe enough:
a little round white shuddering milky thing I had made that morning. . . . I ran
into the back yard and picked ten soft ripe blackberries. I blew off the
alley-dust, and placed them gently in a perfect circle around the little
pudding. Its cool perfection leaped into sudden prettiness. . . . Mother smiled
at my shocked anxious confusion, and said, 'Don't worry, sweet . . . it was the
loveliest pudding I have ever seen.' I agreed with her in spite of the
AN ALPHABET FOR GOURMETS
"G Is for Gluttony"
"I cannot believe that there exists a single coherent human being who will
not confess, at least to himself, that once or twice he has stuffed himself to
the bursting point, on anything from quail financiere to flapjacks, for no other
reason than the beastlike satisfaction of his belly."
About the author
Mary Frances Kennedy
Fisher (July 3, 1908
- June 22, 1992) is considered one of America's greatest writers. Her
writings revere the art of eating simply but well, of taking pleasure where it
is found and of loving life with all of its challenges. She was a prolific and well-respected writer, writing more than 20 books during her lifetime and also publishing two volumes of journals and correspondence shortly before her death in 1992. Her first book,
Serve it Forth, was published in 1937. Her books dealt primarily with food, considering it from many aspects: preparation, natural history, culture, and philosophy. She understood that eating well was just one of the arts of life, always her second theme, and she wrote with the pacing and precision of a first rate essayist or short story writer.
While studying at the University of California in 1929, Fisher met her first husband, Alfred Young Fisher. The couple spent the first formative years of their marriage in Europe, primarily at the University of Dijon in France. At the time, Dijon was known as one of the major culinary centers of the world and this certainly had an impact on Fisher, who later went on to become one of the great culinary writers of the twentieth century.
In 1932, the couple returned from France to a country ravaged by the Great Depression. Having lived for years as students on a fixed stipend, they were wholly unprepared for the economic situation that faced them. Al got odd jobs cleaning out houses before finally landing a teaching job at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Fisher did her part teaching a few lessons at an all-girls' school and working in a frame shop.
In addition to being an author, Fisher was an amateur sculptor working mostly in the realm of wood carving.
During the Fishers' years in California, they formed a friendship with Dillwyn "Timmy" Parrish and his wife, Gigi. Later, in 1938, Fisher was to leave Alfred for Timmy, referred to as "Chexbres" in many of her books, named after the small Swiss village on Lake Geneva close to where they had lived. The second marriage, while passionate, was short. Only a year into the marriage, Parrish lost his leg due to a circulatory disease, and in 1941 took his own life. Fisher went on to be involved in a number of other turbulent romantic relationships with men and women.
Fisher later bore two daughters. Anne, whose father Fisher refused to name, was born in 1943. Kennedy was born during Fisher's short-lived marriage to Donald Friede, which lasted from 1945 to 1951.
After Parrish's death, Fisher considered herself a "ghost" of a person, but went on to live a long and productive life, dying in California in 1992 at the age of 83. She had long suffered from Parkinson's disease and arthritis, but lived the last twenty years of her life in "Last House," a house built for her in one of California's vineyards.
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