How to Cook a Wolf
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98 of 100 people found the following review helpful
M.F.K. Fisher was a superb writer. And she lived in "interesting times" in Europe and California. How to Cook a Wolf pitted her inate love of food and cuisine against some severe times when money might be short or food was rationed. Her strange sense of humor and practical outlook are interesting; for example, she gives a recipe for a sludge to keep body (if not soul) alive. The instructions begin with borrowing 50 cents to buy the ingredients; hamburger, wilted vegetables. The resulting mush can be used as a nutritious dog food, or a staple to survive on. She even claims it can be quite acceptable fried as scrapple, but then you'd have to have some cooking fat (and even that could be hard to come by.)
In these times of plenty, it's hard to relate to this book except to read Fisher's ideas and fantastic prose; the section on "Sue" (really California artist and etcher Nel Coover) who survived and entertained her guests with wild ice plants, seaweed and stolen eggs and potatoes is captivating.
If you have never read any M.F.K. Fisher, start with "The Measure of My Powers", but if you have read her, and if you have developed a taste for her marvelous writing, this is one of her famous works that is unique and interesting.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 1996
Not only could she write with style, wit and warmth, she could
also "serve it forth" -- the recipes really work! Especially
the prune roast (it sounds dopey, but it sure is great!!).
I'm hooked.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 1998
I can't vouch for her recipes but I can speak for her prose. I picked up this book for pure entertainment and found it. Fisher's conversation is elegant, entertaining, and educational, and her advice is at times amusing, at times timeless.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Ms. Fisher was writing in Europe during WW2; due to wartime rationing and shortages, the wolf seemed literally to hover near the door. Fine, she says, a wolf! Let's eat him!

Ms. Fisher shows the best of the chin-up attitude one hopes we would all be disposed to display in hard times. She was in Europe during the war, and suffered the hardships thereof; she writes from a love of the food she had been exposed to before shortages, but her writing is ABOUT the food she can obtain rather than what she can't. She writes wittily, even charmingly about how to live on practically nothing and how to do it with an eye to health and nutrition, and flavor and enjoyment! Even in the 40's Ms. Fisher was aware that everybody needs to eat plenty of vegetables; even then she was aware that even sparse rations would be "better for you" if the food could look and taste appealing.

The book was later edited and annotated by the author, and this edition includes those notes.

One comes to see that in writing during wartime Ms. Fisher wrote from the "furnace of affliction" indeed and and that this book is as much a statement of philosophy as a guide to cooking and eating when food is sparse. One's attitude toward food, family, friends can be shaped to something resembling common sense and love of beauty whether a war is raging around one or no. The notes she added years later indicate that she still agreed with her earlier thoughts, in the main -- something had solidified, something had crystallised, in her thinking.

A must for the shelf if one likes to think about food in more than a visceral and immediate way.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2006
The famous and funny book by MFK Fisher. I love the title alone. (meant to refer to the wolf at the door!) Recipes & prose and graciousness - she wants everyone to live well, no matter the situation. This is the very rare first edition, grey covers underneath the dustjacket. Someone is going to be very lucky. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2011
This book is relevant :
Much of what she says about food and eating that contradicted the common knowledge of the time have been proven in the interim.

This book gives a great slice of life look at the time it was written:
Discussing food shortages, rationing and other challenges unique to the WWII period was enlightening. I wasn't born until a full generation after the war, so although I knew that rationing existed, I didn't think about what this actually meant for families until reading this book.

This book is very, very funny :
The author has a dry wit that I very much appreciate. While the intention of the book is not to entertain, she definitely does so while discussing things of great importance during the time it was written. This was the first book of hers I've read. I've been missing out! I'll be reading more, and I can recommend this book without reservation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2013
Fisher writes a very interesting account of hard times and making do with the limited ingredients available.....should be reequired reading for the home economics classes that should be reinstated into school programs
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2013
Those of us born in the US have not know the privations of WWII England - and we can include any war-torn nation.
M.F.K.Fisher takes the most dire circumstances and weaves it into prose reflecting of the time and the courage of the women keeping the kitchen & table providing. In her conclusion to this book she says " ...since we must eat to live, we might as well do it with both grace and gusto."
That is MFK Fisher - both grace and gusto! I read from her books a brief passage every night as a reward for the day's labor before falling asleep.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2012
I can not say enough good about this book. It was written during rationing in WWII and written to inspire Americans to get excited about cooking. It has changed the way I look at all aspects of cooking. MFK Fisher has chapters on boiling water, cutting vegetables, and other seemingly mundane cooking tasks which she really brings to life.

After reading this book, I have an entirely new outlook on cooking. I highly recommend it to any new cooks, aspiring cooks, or anyone who enjoys cooking at all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2013
We read this for my book club, I looked at the cover several times to make sure M.F.K. Fisher was the author and not my mother. I had heard so many of these rules before from her, and she had the exact same gingerbread recipe. A great read.
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