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M. F. K. Fisher among the Pots and Pans: Celebrating Her Kitchens (California Studies in Food and Culture) Hardcover – July 3, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: California Studies in Food and Culture (Book 22)
  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (July 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520255550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520255555
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,981,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A brisk, charming biography of the beloved food writer’s life, through the lens of where and what she cooked.”
(O At Home 2008-06-01)

“Deftly told. . . Reveals the origins of her awareness of the power and pleasure of food.”
(Library Journal 2008-07-29)

“Reardon delivers a history that, like Fisher’s famous dishes, is at once simple and hugely enjoyable.”
(Philadelphia Inquirer 2008-07-30)

“The charm and timeless inspiration are immediately accessible in this gorgeous volume.”
(New York Newsday 2008-10-12)

“An informed and elegant treatise on the kitchens in which. . . probably the greatest food writer of the 20th century worked and cooked.”
(National Post 2009-05-06)

“Charming tribute.”
(Orange Coast Magazine 2008-10-01)

“Summarizes key points in Mary Frances' life and complicated relationships, but through the intriguing slant of the many homes she lived in.”
(San Francisco Bay Guardian 2010-07-19)

“Insightful. . . Needs to be enjoying a primo position on your bookshelf.”
(The Wine News 2008-12-01)

“A reissue most worth paying attention to.”
(Eat Me Daily 2009-09-03)

From the Inside Flap

"For decades, food-lovers have taken enormous pleasure in the stories, the characters and the inimitable prose style of M. F. K. Fisher. Now we discover the kitchens and the dinner tables—the very meals that inspired M. F. K. Fisher to write. In this insightful and evocative book, Joan Reardon distills Fisher's life to its culinary essence and reveals her to us anew."—Laura Shapiro, author of Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century

"Reardon's commentary reveals an intimate understanding of the personality of M. F. K. Fisher. Few who enjoy food and read M. F. K. Fisher's work do not thirst to know more about this woman, and knowing about the places she lived and cooked gives a greater understanding of her writings, her feelings, her passions and frustrations."—Jerry Anne DiVecchio, Senior Food Editor, Sunset Magazine

“I've always admired M. F. K. Fisher's gastronomical ingenuity and vivid culinary imagination. In this rich portrait, Joan Reardon eloquently shares with us Mary Frances's great lesson: to cook well, you need only the most elementary kitchen, a mortar and pestle, and full awareness of your own five senses.”—Alice Waters

More About the Author

Culinary historian, cookbook author, and biographer Joan Reardon is the author of M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, and Alice Waters; M.F.K. Fisher Among the Pots and Pans; Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher; and Oysters: a Culinary Celebration. Reardon, who has a Ph.D. in English literature, won an IACP Award for culinary writing, publishes and edits a quarterly newsletter for Les Dames d'Escoffier Chicago, and serves on the advisory board of Gastronomica magazine.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a person who has spent half a lifetime reading anything and everything on or about MFK Fisher, I eagerly awaited the arrival of this book. Although I found it enjoyable,for the most part it was mostly a lot of information lifted from MFK's own writings about her kitchens, and the many places that she lived. The newer material was good, describing a bit more in depth what Mary Frances was going through during times of upheaval and illness, and there were some wonderful photos of the places that she had lived. The illustrations were lovely. All in all, it was a nice read- and makes one want to go to the bookshelf and pull down one of MFK's own, and read them again- they never go out of style!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Julia Lupton on November 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Joan Reardon's M. F. K. Fisher Among the Pots and Pans is a brief biography of America's greatest food writer. Reardon wrote a longer bio in 2004; here, she's decided to keep her touch light by documenting the different kitchens rented, remodeled or simply passed through by Fisher in her progress through three marriages, the birth of daughters legitimate and illegitimate, and the writing of many, many books and articles.

Most of Fisher's kitchens consisted of little more than a hot plate and a pantry. Fisher insisted on eating and cooking in the same space, and her best meals were apparently also her simplest. Her 1942 book How to Cook a Wolf, written during the first years of World War II, addressed "the preparation of food in times of scarcity and bomb shelters."

Watercolors by Avram Dumitrescu recreate the kitchens. Designer Sandy Drooker has given the book a small footprint suitable for your airplane carry-on. A suite of updated recipes divide each chapter, providing some hands-on sustenance for Fisher fans. I read the book in an evening (as if it were "a cheese souffle and a light salad"), but is well worth holding onto for its compelling portrait of "a writing cook and a cooking writer," "bold at the desk as well as at the stove."

[....]
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Elizabeth Wilson on May 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A friend in the culinary field lent me this book and it is charming! I knew a little about Fisher -- primarily thro' books about Julia Child -- and don't have any of her cookbooks. But I had read two of her novels: NOT NOW BUT NOW and THE BOSS DOG, both which I thoroughly enjoyed. AMONG THE POTS AND PANS told me so much more about this very interesting, ahead-of-her-time woman, and it shares a few recipes, too. Very well written and beautifully illustrated. And yes, I've already ordered one of her cookbooks. Enjoy!
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