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Dec 25, 2011 07:58 PM

M. F. K. Fisher & Other Foodie Writers From Why Back When

What are your thoughts on Ms. Fisher's writings or have you come across any other food authors that stayed in your memory or made an impression on the way you think about food?

Perhaps you were in college & you picked up a book that didn't even have any recipes, but the author's way of thinking about food in particular & life in general just turned your thought processes around & led you into a different world - one of food & all aspects of eating.

Or maybe you were a guest at some one's home & you were completely enchanted with the food or their kitchen & you knew you wanted to be just like them.

Share with us those special memories.

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  1. In a very recent request on this forum, someone asked for ideas for a gift of food writing. Seems that the old fashioned writing style like MFK Fischer isn't popular or edgy enough now. God forbid the f word isn't used in every other sentence. If you haven't eaten the most obscure or the largest amount of meat, cheese or greens on the planet, you apparently can't get an audience anymore. I love to remember when food meant as much to life as it did to her.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Terrie H.

      I have to admit I just recently come across her writings& just wondered if anyone else read her books. I want to try & read all of them, but I suspect they are going to be pretty hard to find. Yes, memories of food can stay with a person forever. Thanks for sharing.

      1. re: cstout

        cstout, they are not at all hard to find (at least they weren't a few years ago). She's a wonderful writer! There's tons of stuff available on Amazon, I just checked. Enjoy!!

    2. i adore MFK Fisher's writings. Her style, her quiet passion, her warmth, calmness, her common sense attitude, everything. She's a master storyteller as well as knowledgeable about food. She makes the simplest food sound exotic - "honest brown bread" is one phrase that comes to mind. I think I've read everything she's written now, even the non-food focused books (the tragic story of the love of her life, for instance, is wonderful.)

      Julia Child, of course, Jacques Pepin, and I've also enjoyed Elizabeth David, Frances Mayes, Calvin Trillin, Craig Claiborne, Patricia Wells, Ruth Reichl, others I can't remember now....

      2 Replies
      1. re: mariacarmen

        MFK Fisher also translated Brilliat Savarin's "Physiology of Taste" which is a classic. And Julia's memoirs on living in France are wonderful. These are people who didn't just go to a restaurant and feel that BAM BAM they understood it all. They actually lived the experiences which readers today may cherish or dismiss.

        1. re: escondido123

          you know, I forgot about that one - I've had that book for years (I am actually looking at it on my bookshelf right now), and I've still not read it, i don't know why.... I think I've been intimidated by it, but I'm going to do it this year.

      2. I discovered Mrs. Fisher pretty much the way you describe, although I was out of college. And did she ever color how I thought about and wrote about food! DH once had the pleasure of visiting with her about 7 years before her death (and before we were married). He still finds it almost impossible to describe.

        6 Replies
          1. re: lemons

            lemons, do you have any writings you can refer us to? I think we are all hungry for "honest brown bread" thoughts? How wonderful you & DH have so much in common!!

            1. re: cstout

              You have to read "P is for Peas" in her Alphabet for Gourmets. The beauty of simplicity.

              1. re: cstout

                The Art of Eating is a good place to start, as it compiles 3-4 of her books.

                1. re: mariacarmen

                  mariacarmen, you read my mind, I was just wondering where I should start. Thanks.

                2. re: cstout

                  lemons, I wish to correct myself, I wanted to say, do you have any of YOUR writings we can read? Please share.

              2. Below is a video that I really enjoyed. This lady really likes life & food. Her name is Margaret Fabrizio.She has several videos on food. Watch them for a treat!

                video is on youtube (2 of them)
                The Magic of Making Bread Part 1 & 2

                1. The above-mentioned people are good, but A.J. Leibling was the greatest. If you can track it down, his essay, "A Light Lunch" says it all.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: beevod

                    The best sustained Liebling is "Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris". It is his "non, je ne regrette rien" book. and has some of the best food writing ever. MFK is also very good..her one about the woman who foerign boyfriend who ate things off of her and driving her into a tizzy is great, if unnerving,

                    Luckily I grew up with all of those and with some Lucius Beebe which can be great fun ( see his 'GOlden Caviar of the Czars" piece from the old Pump Room in Chicago). And I loved my father's copy of "The Gentleman's COmpanion" so much I bought two sets of the Crown edition to have spares, all his other hardcover things, I have several of the old Esquire articles that my parents kept and then I bought teh original 1939 edition..autographed, no less.

                    1. re: hazelhurst

                      I'll second that about Between Meals. It was first published in 1959, but I recently found the 1986 printing from North Point Press, with an introduction by James Salter.