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The Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition Paperback – March 5, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is a compilation of her most famous works "Consider the Oyster," "Serve It Forth," "How to Cook a Wolf," "The Gastronomical Me" and "An Alphabet for Gourmets." Each is quite different. "How to Cook a Wolf" is about cooking in times of want, in this case, World War II, but the book really becomes semi-autobiographical and talks about her young days in Dijon, where she was the wife of a student at the University.
If you haven't read M.F.K. Fisher, this is probably the best book to start with--it combines memoir with culinary musings; advice on scrambled eggs with her own ideas about health and nutrition. If you then can't get enough of Fisher, I recommend, "The Measure of Her Powers" which is much more autobiographical and utterly fascinating.
I actually read Fisher more for her memoirs. Her fascination with food and cooking is to me about life and art,--the French view of food not as something merely to fill the belly, but as an art form and a craft.
There are two types of cookbook authors: those who did not follow a drive to become apothecaries and instead wound up in a kitchen. Now they issue a prescriptive formulary of carefully controlled measures, procedures, times, weights, and ingredients (no substitutions, please) in precise, neat, humorless texts: recipes by edict, if you will; and those who under other circumstances would have become poets or novelists, but instead wound up in the kitchen, from whence they issue lyrical prose as well as exquisite dishes. Their recipes are often vague, permissive, infuriating, but tolerant of errors. There are many who fit the first category and few (MFK Fisher among them) the second.
There are two ways of comparing cookbooks: by following recipes for highly complex dishes (beef Wellington, say) and tasting the results, or by following extremely simple recipes from each book and making gustatory comparisons (scrambled eggs, for instance). Scrambled eggs, according to general culinary wisdom, requires that eggs be beaten together "until the white and yolks are completely combined" (Joy of Cooking) or to be whisked briskly (Fanny Farmer).
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I read this book over the course of three months, an essay or two at a time. It's not just about food, but about the people who love to eat good food, to make it, to grow it, to harvest it, to travel in search of it. It's about some wonderful places in the world, some now long gone, or spoiled, and some still well worth a visit.
You'll find that you remember some of M.F.K. Fisher's stories long after you've put the book down. You'll tell these stories to others and win smiles and laughter. You'll haul the book out and read aloud from it. Your friends will ask to borrow your copy.
You will tell them to get their own.
There are drawbacks to the work, however. By gathering five different books into a single volume, a certain amount of repetition of some of her material becomes apparent. This is, of course, more the fault of the editor than of Fischer herself. No, Fischer's faults lie perhaps in a certain over-emphasis on the "sensitivity" of herself and her loved ones as contrasted with the rest of us Ya-hoos, and that she wrote before the emergence of American regional cuisine as a force in cookery, so that she sometimes denigrates things we feel more kindly toward today.
In all, though, The Art of Eating is a book that no serious cook or diner can afford to do without
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I recently finished this, after periodically devouring chapters of it over the past few years. Each time I pick up this book, for 5 minutes or 5 hours, I luxuriate over every... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Hannah Scranton
This is a collection of five books originally published separately in 1937, 1941, 1942, 1943 and 1948. They were published as a collection in 1954 and republished in 2004. Read morePublished 2 months ago by P. Mulloy
I adore this book. I keep picking it back up and reading chapters over again. The passion for food, the appreciation of history, culture and just plain enjoyment of eating are laid... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Melissa Machowski
I've re-read this monster book (which consists of five of M. F. K. Fisher's books) many times, most recently on the Kindle. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jo-Anne
A breezy look back to food and dining in a different era. I would recommend this to food professionals, who get romantic about the subtleties of great food and drink.Published 4 months ago by Michael Obarka
I bought this for a friend of mine after I tired of having to have my copy at the ready to read to him. It's not an older version but we still enjoy it. Thank you very much.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Book arrived quickly in great condition. Great value at crazy low price. Highly recommend book & Seller.Published 6 months ago by Kathy Bankston