Saturday, April 29, 2006

M.F.K. Fisher: Serve It Forth. This little book was M(ary)F(rances) K(ennedy) Fisher's first. She would publish four more before her reputation caught up with her talent. Her precise, delicious prose takes the reader all over the palate. With just the right words, she touches upon the art of eating, the art of food, the art of the cookbook, the history of food writing, all things food. She knows and delights in everything there is to know about the subject. We learn how to starve a snail. We learn French-cooking was invented by the Italians. We learn that Romans used sugar only in medicine, never in food. We learn so much more necessary knowledge. Read this book (or any of her books) at the airport or waiting to have a tooth pulled, and Mary Frances' words take you someplace comfortable where the smells of baked bread and cinnamon waft through the air before a warm fireplace. Not that Fisher is limited to "comfort foods," whatever the heck that might be. She goes on at length about the beauty of the snail (though she will not abide by slugs!) She touches upon the consumption of locusts. She is never squeamish, but she remains, as W.H. Auden famously remarked, one of our best writers.


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