- Paperback: 784 pages
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 50th Anniversary Edition edition (February 20, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0764542613
- ISBN-13: 978-0764542619
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 84 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition Paperback – March 5, 2004
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From the Inside Flap
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 Waiting"
"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
"The Well-Dressed 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 Powers" (1919-1927)
"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 despair."
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 financière to flapjacks, for no other reason than the beastlike satisfaction of his belly."
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Although Ms. Fisher parses details (a bit provocative for her time) of her private life (her biographies fill in the blanks), there's more than enough included to snag those readers who would be interested in how people responded to war and financial downturns in the first half of the 20th century versus our actions and attitudes today. This isn't a collection of cookbooks but it is a collection of books written about deriving some enjoyment of food and eating during a time when many ordinary people viewed eating a solely utilitarian action and aside from an occasional festive meal, one that required little attention beyond avoiding food poisoning. Each book has its own distinct flavor and character. One of my favorites is a vignette describing the solitary pleasure of preparing and eating a tangerine. I still remember my delight reading that someone else loved the results of the same method I'd used since childhood.
There're quite a few mentions of food, manners and technology that date the books but this, for me, is one of the reasons I enjoy reading and re-reading Mrs. Fisher's work. This is like listening to an elder who has lived such a full life we'll keep begging for more stories even after there are no more left to hear.
read with Jannette Ferrary's "MFK Fisher and Me"...nice pairing.