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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

          Oh how lucky your DH is!

          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.

                  2. There is a book called "Choice Cuts" that I just listened to on audio. It covers writings on food from ancient to now and is a great way to be introduced to the authors mentioned already and many more.

                    1. James Beard's "Delights and Prejudices" (1964, 1981 — Atheneum) is my favorite book about food, and it contains many useful recipes as well. There is much in it of special intetest to someone from the Pacific Northwest.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: GH1618

                        Does anyone remember Anna Pump??? She just has about 4 cookbooks out, but the books have a lot of interesting tidbits about food. Thought you might like to revisit those.

                        www.annapump.com

                      2. I appreciate this thread. I'm now making a New Year's resolution to drag my Fisher and Brillat-Savarin off their shelf and delve into them again!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                          I too am enjoying this thread...just taking notes & anticipating many late night reading frenzies. So many books....so little time. Thanks everyone for opening new doors & old memories for me & all of us here.

                        2. Mrs. Fisher's The Art of Eating is where I began, too, but I always warn folks that it tends to start too slowly for some people. Maybe With Bold Knife and Fork would be another good place to start. I blush to be considered under the circumstances. DH and I blog at www.stlouiseats.typepad.com some of our work being separate and most of the food being done together. (The cooking is mine alone, with him editing.) Not necessarily the best stuff I've done, IMHO, but you asked....

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: lemons

                            Thank you for posting your blog, I am enjoying in spurts as I try to get a few things done. So many movies I have missed.......sigh.

                          2. Love MFK Fisher. I recently finished a newish book called MFK Fisher Among the Pots & Pans (celebrating her kitchens) by Joan Readon which I found to be a good read. I'm presently reading The Gastronomical Me written by MFK, which is considered to be her best, but as far as I'm concerned they're all really good. Her reminiscences of living abroad and her writing on preparing and eating fresh, simple and local foods are so refreshing in this age of snobby and gimmicky "gastronomy". Other books I have by her were all found in used book shops:

                            The Art of Eating;
                            Stay me, Oh Comfort Me, Journals & stories, 1933-1941;
                            Among Friends;
                            Last House;
                            With Bold Knife & Fork;
                            Two Towns in Provence;
                            As They Were.

                            Other books on food writing I've enjoyed:
                            The Rituals of Dinner by Margaret Visser;
                            Much Depends on Dinner , also by Visser;
                            Beard on Food
                            Anything by or about Julia Child;
                            All of Ruth Reichl's books (I like her humor).

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: noodlepoodle

                              noodlepoodle, I have just recently stumbled across MFK Fisher on Amazon. Just the excerpts from some of her books left me with my own "WOW". Then I began to wonder if there was a particular book I should start out with & then I took it a step further & wanted to know who else might be out there from the past. Of course the Chow folks know the gems....my list is growing rapidly. Thank you.

                            2. I am glad I read most of her food writing before reading the late work when she reflected on aging, especially the one wherein she writes about being in the hospital and becoming confused at night. Too many years as an RN for me not to recognize what she was describing and literally weep over someone I respected so much going through that. My best friend got me the book on her kitchens (spoken of above) for Christmas and I also see there's one on her love life, which oughta be really interesting. We have a friend who's an executive at a winery in the Napa Valley and she belonged to a women's wine group with Mrs. F. She always said MFK enjoyed her women friends, but would just light up when a man came in the room.

                              I always took her for a role model....

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: lemons

                                Are you talking about "Stay me oh Comfort me"? Just the title is so sad, I can only imagine what she has to say. As a caregiver at one time, I too encountered those confused nights for a patient...sometimes the things you see never leave you.

                                Yes, I am eager to read all of them. I laughed when I read the last part about you taking MFK for a role model....dear lemon lights up when a gentleman comes in the room...not a bad role model to follow at all!!

                                1. re: cstout

                                  Yes, I believe it was in that one. Read it last, my dears.

                                  1. re: lemons

                                    I though the one about aging was something like Sister Age. I haven't heard of the one mentioned, I'll have to look for it.

                                    1. re: lemons

                                      Here is a "new" author I just came across...have not read it yet, just ordered from Amazon, but I have a good feeling about it. The link below is an article about her book.

                                      "An Everlasting Meal: Cooking With Economy & Grace" by Tamar Adler

                                      http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01...

                                2. The first cookbook that really changed the way I looked at food and cooking was Anna Thomas' "Vegetarian Epicure". Actually I learned to cook from this book when I was in my 20s and first living on my own. Even though I am now an omnivore, I still appreciate great dishes that use little or no meat.

                                  In addition to the recipes, the book (all of her later books too) have beautiful essays that describe her own food memories and traditions. These books are great to read as well as to cook from. Since it is the season, the essay on Christmas traditions from her own childhood is so beautifully written that it will bring a tear to your eye.

                                  Another book that really changed my viewpoint on food was "Honey from a Weed" by Patience Gray. This author lived in several remote areas of the Mediterranean in the 1970s. Her husband was a sculptor and they traveled to all of the places where fine marble was quarried. They lived in remote villages and the author learned to cook local foods from the residents. They often lived in places that had wood stoves, no running water, no electrical, they foraged for wild greens and were dependent on their neighbors for other food. The time that this book talks about was long before the anyone called this the "Mediterranean Diet" (or talked about local and seasonal) and describes how people have traditionally made do with what was available.

                                  Ms. Fisher is a great writer and you will love entering her world. Not sure if anyone has mentioned Elizabeth David on this thread, her writing is wonderful also, more from the post WWII era.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: pamf

                                    Anna Thomas sounds like a wonderful read, people like her walked the walk & talked the talk, not like some of these food writers today who run all over the place with camera crews following them & they are tasting this tidbit & that nibble & saying yum yum. No matter how hard they try or what gimmick they come up with, it is just not the real deal.

                                    All my life I have leaned toward the past...it seemed so much more "real" than what you see now days.

                                    I hope we can resurrect some of these gems like the authors mentioned here so far. Thank you so much for sharing...am looking forward entering the world of Anna Thomas.

                                  2. I am also fascinated by older books about food. In addition to those mentioned above let me add some of my favorites.

                                    Feasts and Stories... Alexander

                                    Importance of Lunch...Allemang

                                    Everything on the Table...Andrews

                                    Art of Eating in France...Aron

                                    Wine Snobbery....Barr

                                    Food and Friends... Beck

                                    La Bon Table...Bemelmans

                                    When You Lunch with the Emperor...Bemelmans

                                    Supper of the Lamb...Capon

                                    Auberge of the Flowering Hearth...De Groot

                                    In Search of the Perfect Meal....De Groot

                                    Gin Book...Doxat

                                    Just realized this list could end up going on too long lots of great writing about food and dining.

                                    Of course MFK is still the best

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: mexivilla

                                      Wonderful wonderful...do you own all these books? This has been the best Christmas for me ever...to be introduced to all these new / old authors...adding to my lists..trying to figure out which one I want to read first & then hoping to find it. I will start with MFK...but these others sound so delicious too.!!!

                                      Trust me, when it comes to good reading...no list is too long. Please continue to share with us..I am sure the others here would an extra tidbit or two.

                                      A good book, a toasty warm cup of coffee or tea, some quiet music...it just does not get any better than that.

                                      Thanks so much, hope you will visit again with more of your tresures.

                                      1. re: cstout

                                        A few more from my library. Apologize if I'm now including those mentioned by others.
                                        Dumas on Food...Dumas
                                        Southern Food...Egerton
                                        Remakable Feasts..Forbes
                                        A Chef's Tale..Franey
                                        Cafe Royal Story..Frewin
                                        The Ravenous Muse..Gordon
                                        Pleasure of Your Company..Guggenheimer
                                        Not for Bread Alone..Halpern
                                        Never Eat More than You Can Lift..Herbst
                                        A Glutton for Punishment..Jacobs
                                        But the Crackling is Superb..Kurti
                                        Debt to Pleasure..Lanchester
                                        Out to Lunch..Levy

                                        1. re: mexivilla

                                          'Debt to Pleasure' is truly a joy.

                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                            I love that book (and Lanchester in general).

                                            1. re: buttertart

                                              Just finished 'Fragrant Harbor' by Lanchester and while good, not 'Debt to Pleasure'

                                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                No, but good, read it when it came out.

                                      2. re: mexivilla

                                        Am in the middle of Hotel Bemelmans right now and enjoying it tremendously. Not so much about food as about service. Kind of an early Bourdain.

                                        And has anyone mentioned R. W. Apple of the New York Times? More recent, but definitely on the not-to-be-missed list. Far Flung and Well Fed is a delightful collection.

                                        1. re: JoanN

                                          I had never heard of Bemelmans food writing until this thread. And then on Bourdain's The Layover: New York he had a drink in the bar that was covered in original Bemelmans' drawings from Madeline and more. It was absolutely amazing.

                                          1. re: JoanN

                                            Far Flung and Well Fed is a heap of fun. Another good one: It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time by Moira Hodgson.

                                        2. "The Supper of the Lamb" by Robert Farrar Capon. I wanted this book for years, having heard of it from various sources. I found a copy in an antique store. It's back in print now. It is simply one of my favorite books on any topic, not just food. Rev. Capon (he's an Episcopalian priest) purports to give his a recipe for "Lamb for Eight Persons Four Times," a series of recipes. But in reality he holds forth on everything from knives to wine to spirituality. I have given the book as a gift since its republication and nobody has failed to love it.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: jmckee

                                            thanks jmckee, sounds wonderful. just ordered it on Amazon.

                                          2. I think I first read about MFKF in Mary Cantwell's column in Mademoiselle magazine. The first of hers I read was "How To Cook A Wolf". Very enjoyable.
                                            If you like Elizabeth David, be sure to read Jane Grigson, her more erudite and less lofty contemporary. She is my goddess.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: buttertart

                                              Yes, Grigson is a delight. Of the contemporary English food writers, I enjoy Nigel Slater, whom I discovered ten years ago or so.

                                              1. re: lemons

                                                i like him too.

                                            2. Does anyone else love and miss Laurie Colwin as I do? My favorite (my desired last meal) recipe (tomato pie) she put in Gourmet about 20 years ago. Also enjoy MFK Fisher.

                                              16 Replies
                                              1. re: Babette

                                                Oh yes; wasn't she wonderful? I guess I was writing just as your post appeared.

                                                1. re: Babette

                                                  Laurie Colwin was great.

                                                  1. re: Babette

                                                    Oh my. I've read and re-read "Home Cooking" and "More Home Cooking" more times than I can count. What a brilliant, funny, warm writer.

                                                    1. re: jmckee

                                                      Yes yes yes. I have both her books on my bedside table. Whenever I wake up in the night I just open up and go. The recipes are great too.

                                                      Maybe I'll read some now. (Dear cat just passed away :()That story about the bad dinner parties cheers me up every time I read it.

                                                      1. re: Sue in Mt P

                                                        Aww. Sad. Read something nice.

                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                          Thanks. Chocolate is a great help! It was really sad.

                                                          1. re: Sue in Mt P

                                                            Been there several times, I know. Sending hugs.

                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                              Thanks. It really helps.

                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                We've lost more animals than we can count....thoughts with you all.

                                                                1. re: jmckee

                                                                  I'm counting on that rainbow bridge thing.

                                                          2. re: Sue in Mt P

                                                            ohh... always so sad. sorry for you...

                                                            1. re: Sue in Mt P

                                                              How old was your cat? I have one 20 years old & a dog 19 years. Love them both so very much....I now how you feel.

                                                              1. re: cstout

                                                                Thanks y'all. Junior was 14 and cuter than pie. I miss him a lot. He's Junior Shankle on FB, if you want to take a look.

                                                          3. re: Babette

                                                            I miss her terribly. I was so sad to hear of her unexpected death, especially because she left a young daughter behind. I loved her writing.

                                                            1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                              Rosa Jurjevics is a very talented writer and an award-winning video editor. You can google for her website.

                                                              She contributed to a wonderful food anthology "Alone In The Kitchen With An Eggplant" [leading off with Laurie Colwin's essay - which says SO much about 'alone food'], and writes with much love for both her mother and father.

                                                              I love Laurie Colwin's writing. Both fiction and food. I reread her books frequently.

                                                              1. re: nikkihwood

                                                                I am so happy to hear of Rose's success! Thanks for the tip, I'll look for the anthology. I hope she knows how much people loved her mother's writing!

                                                          4. I can't believe that no one has mentioned my favorite: the late, great Laurie Colwin. In addition to her wonderful novels, she wrote a column in Gourmet for years, some of which were collected in Home Cooking and More Home Cooking. I reread Colwin all the time.

                                                            Another as-yet-unmentioned favorite is Teresa Lust's Pass the Polenta. Takes the sails out of the self-important types. Jacques Pepin's autobiography, The Apprentice, is also superb, and, finally, John Thorne is a fabulous food writer.

                                                            I'm not criticizing all the other submissions--I love MFK Fisher, Elizabeth David, Jane Grigson, Ruth Reichl, and the rest. Just wanted to broaden the list a bit.

                                                            14 Replies
                                                            1. re: lisaonthecape

                                                              Colwin was fabulous; loved the black cake story, even if her recipe didn't quite work for me. I just got the newest John Thorne book. And @lisaonthecape, obviously lots fo us like lots of food writers!

                                                              1. re: lemons

                                                                "Starry Gazey pie", lol! I love her stories.

                                                                1. re: Sue in Mt P

                                                                  Sue in Mt P - I just asked in another thread if anyone had eaten stargazey pie! Is it mentioned in a Colwin book? Have you made it?

                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                    Oh heck no! The way Colwin described it it sounded awful! It was a piece about the worst dinner parties she'd attended.

                                                                    I'll look through my books and see which one mentions it. Hang on a minute.

                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                      OK. It's in "Home Cooking" in a chapter called"Repulsive Dinners: A Memoir". Hilarious.

                                                                      I did make her gingerbread one time. It really worked. Maybe I'll go make some now!

                                                                      1. re: Sue in Mt P

                                                                        That's the ticket!

                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                          Right? Maybe I'll cover it in chocolate.

                                                                        2. re: Sue in Mt P

                                                                          Thanks Sue! I'll have to read that. I've been watching the British series "Pie in the Sky." The lead character is a detective inspector, and he is also a chef/restaurant owner. So sort of a silly village/parlor mystery with food on the side. There is a bit about stargazey pie in the last episode I watched. It didn't received a very warm reception from the foodie group who requested it. It was hard to tell if the fault was in the dish, the cook, or the taster.

                                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                            Well, apparently, the crust is slit so the live eels can poke their heads out whilst baking. El. Oh. El!

                                                                            But the show sounds fun.

                                                                            1. re: Sue in Mt P

                                                                              Right! They look up and gaze at the stars! It didn't look very appealing, even with the nicely decorated crust.

                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                Yikes. I find eel (alive or dead), a little, um, scaley. I say make something else, haha.

                                                                  2. re: lisaonthecape

                                                                    I was just coming here to write about my love of Laurie Colwin! I re-read Home Cooking and More Home Cooking all the time. Those books are like good friends to me and her approach to cooking is similar to my ownI. I first discovered her about ten years ago, and remember finishing the book and feeling so sad to realize she had died in 1992.

                                                                    1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                      "My only allergy is a slight one to caviar making me a cheap date." Lord, she was funny.

                                                                    2. re: lisaonthecape

                                                                      Please do not think you are criticizing when you post about other authors...sharing a good read is a wonderful thing...such great conversation going on here, thanks to people like you. Put your thinking cap on & maybe you can think of just one more.

                                                                      Broaden the list by all means!!!!!!!

                                                                    3. For those Mitteleuropaische longings, read "Blue Trout and Black Truffles" - on old Vienna (incidentally, did you know Vienna was one of the largest and most prosperous cities in Europe in the 1900's?) and George Lang's "Cuisine of Hungary". Treats both.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                        damn lady, you're forcing me to buy more books!

                                                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                          Oh you gotta get these! The JW was the first book I bought in Berkeley, in a deserted bookshop on University. I got the impression books weren't their primary line of business, if you get my drift.

                                                                      2. Went through all these posts to see if my favorite author showed up, he didn't so here goes. Joseph Wechsberg. While his food books, as Blue Trout and Black Truffles are truly wonderful, his others on violins, tunnel building, and avalanches show what a brilliant writer he was. l use a first edition of Blue Trout as a serious gift. Also agree with Roy Andries de Groot as well. His 'Searching for the Perfect Meal' is a classic .

                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                          Beat you to it on the Blue Trout, dollbaby. Oh for the halcyon days of yore, with Wechsberg and Christensen et al writing for Gourmet, too. (Vier Jahresseiten, KaDeWe, anyone)?

                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                            Knew l would get a comment from you as had previously. <{8>) Said checked them all, but yet another brainfart. l do have all Wechsberg's and De Groot's books, OK most of them, yippee

                                                                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                              I tried reading de Groot ages ago (Flowering Hearth) and hated it, should try again, ah but I wwas so much older then, I'm younger than that now...

                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                Interesting; I had exactly the same response to it...maybe 30 years ago or so. And then maybe 5 years ago, I tried him again, and appreciated him more.

                                                                                1. re: lemons

                                                                                  Hmm.

                                                                                2. re: buttertart

                                                                                  I have his book on seasonal eating and enjoy it a great deal. It is very much of that haute style, the epicurean effete style but whatthehell. He was able to claw some joy out of a miserable condition which he took care of in the end himself.

                                                                                  1. re: hazelhurst

                                                                                    He was blind, I believe?

                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                      Yes, he was. Used a dog; I remember seeing it on tv appearances.

                                                                          2. This is a great thread, I've gotten so many reading ideas from all of these posts.
                                                                            I need a sub-thread for books available on kindle! My ipad and kindle move about my life with such facility, and my shelves are so jammed, I'm sad that more of these suggestions are not available in digital format. I am sure to purchase the ones that are, however!

                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                              I have most of the books mentioned in this thread. One of them of MFK Fisher's Last House. I haven't been able to bring myself to read it. Now that I have retired and moved to what is probably my last house, I will go through my books, find it, and read it.

                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                Library? Interlibrary loan?

                                                                                1. re: lemons

                                                                                  Oh no, I can get the books, that's not the problem. It's just that I always have a reader in my purse, next to my bed, and in my suitcase. It's just a far, far easier way for me to read.

                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                    I declare this zone free of the reader/paper book discussion! As long as we all like to read, that's the main thing.

                                                                                    1. re: lemons

                                                                                      No controversy intended, it's just what works for me!

                                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                        No, no, not meant for you; you sound very calm about it, but I know some folks get quite wired about the subject, and this is too good a topic to have it hijacked.

                                                                                        1. re: lemons

                                                                                          Hear, hear.

                                                                              2. Lucky me to own all of mfk Fisher's books, Read and re-read them. Also enjoy Marlena DeBlasi
                                                                                and those collections by Hughes called "The Best Food Writing of...."name your year. Years ago I owned a copy of a book on food by Waverly Root. I remember it being very wise and esoteric and I didn't treasure it as I should have. It's gone. My loss. One who no one has mentioned here is best known for her wonderful NAME. Who knows Clementine Paddleford? Her writing may not be up there with the stars, but for name recognition, she can't be beat! She is archived at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, for any of you close enough to use the info.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: amazinc

                                                                                  Paddleford was quite a character. There was a very good biography of her published just a couple of years ago called "Hometown Appetites."

                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                    That biography was fun. What a gal.

                                                                                  2. re: amazinc

                                                                                    deBlasi, too, was quite a character when she lived in St. Louis. Bigger than life and clearly meaning to move on outta here.

                                                                                    1. re: lemons

                                                                                      Interesting that you should say that. It fits very well with the impression I had of her from reading her writing.

                                                                                  3. I bought a recent book "An Everlasting Meal" by Tamar Adler for my Kindle. She flat out says that it's modeled on M.F.K. Fisher's 'How to Cook a Wolf'. I've only read the first chapter, but I think she's done a good job.

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: csaustin

                                                                                      An Everlasting Meal....have you read any more chapters??....I have been debating whether to get this book or not...so many others are mentioned here that I would love too. Please let me know how you feel about the book now.

                                                                                      1. re: cstout

                                                                                        I'm only into chapter 2. I bought An Everlasting Meal, but I'm also reading Tomatoland. It's a library book that has a deadline, so I'm trying to finish it first.
                                                                                        I did get into chapter 2 - about eggs. I tried the omelet with a yogurt and garlic filling and it was very good.
                                                                                        I'm really enjoying the book and I can't wait to get back to it and spend some time reading it.

                                                                                        1. re: csaustin

                                                                                          Thank you, I guess I shall go ahead & order it along with a few other books mentioned here. It's great to have too much to read!!

                                                                                    2. I just got The Supper of the Lamb! just started the New Yorker Compendium, tho, so it will have to wait, tempting me from the side table...

                                                                                      1. I love Calvin Trillin's style. Once you read The Tummy Trilogy you realize how much Jeffrey Steingarten (who I also have a soft spot for, despite myself) took from him.

                                                                                        I know it's fairly recent but I like Ruth Reichl's early books too, especially Comfort Me With Apples, which is more about being in your twenties/falling in and out of love than about food, but her portrait of the food world in SF back in the day is fascinating.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: spudsocks

                                                                                          Calvin Trillin is probably my favorite writer of any stripe. If you haven't read "Feeding a Yen", his most recent "food" book, do so.

                                                                                          I like Steingarten. His books are knowledgeable, varied, and fun. And he doesn't take himself too seriously.

                                                                                          Reichl is... OK. But it's more about her than about the food.