A Book of Banquets
"M.F.K Fisher’s latest excursion into the art or science of gastronomy is more an anthology of the finest writing on the subject than strictly a text of her own composition . . . A royal feast, indeed!" —The New York Times
Betty Fussell—winner of the James Beard Foundation’s journalism award, and whose essays on food, travel, and the arts have appeared in The New York Times
, The New Yorker
, and Vogue
—is the perfect writer to introduce M.F.K Fisher’s Here Let Us Feast
, first published in 1946. The author of Eat, Live, Love, Die
has penned a brilliant introduction to this fabulous anthology of gastronomic writing, selected and with commentary from the inimitable M.F.K. Fisher.
The celebrated author of such books as The Art of Eating
, The Cooking of Provincial France
, and With Bold Knife and Fork
, Fisher knows how to prepare a feast of reading as no other. Excerpting descriptions of bountiful meals from classic works of British and American literature, Fisher weaves them into a profound discussion of feasting.
She also traces gluttony through the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, and claims that the story of a nation's life is charted by its gastronomy. M.F.K. Fisher has arranged everything perfectly, and the result is a succession of unforgettable courses that will entice the most reluctant epicure.
When Robert Lescher died in 2012 an unpublished manuscript of M.F.K. Fisher's was discovered neatly packed in the one of the literary agent's signature red boxes. Inspired by Fisher's affair with Dillwyn Parrish — who was to become her second husband — The Theoretical Foot
is the master stylist's first novel. In it she describes the life she all–too–briefly had with the man she'd ever after describe as the one great love of her life.
It tells of a late–summer idyll at the Swiss farmhouse of Tim and Sara, where guests have gathered at ease on the terrace next to the burbling fountain in which baby lettuces are being washed, there to enjoy the food and wine served them by this stylish American couple.
But all around these seemingly fortunate people, the forces of darkness are gathering: The year is 1939; World War II approaches. And the paradise Tim and Sara have made is being besieged from within as Tim — closely based on Parrish — is about to suffer the first of the circulatory attacks that will cause him to lose his leg to amputation.
Enjoy M.F.K. Fisher's strong sense of place and deep love of Provence with this collection of rich, gorgeous photographs paired with some of Fisher's best-known essays.
M.F.K. Fisher’s Provence
highlights Fisher’s Celtic eye for detail with a comparison of Aix-en-Provence, a university town, the site of an international music festival and the former capital of Provence, and Marseille, the port town.
Fisher’s description of the sights and smells belonging to an Aix bakery shop window is her Platonic ideal of a bakery shop to be found anywhere in France, for example, with its “delicately layered” scents of “fresh eggs, fresh sweet butter, grated nutmeg, vanilla beans, old kirsch and newly ground almonds.”
Then, there is her portrayal of the sounds of Aix’s fountains mixed with the music of Mozart during the town’s festival, leaving her bedazzled. She would return again and again to stroll the narrow streets of Aix with two young daughters who “seemed to grow like water-flowers under the greening buds of the plane trees.”
It is the quality of Fisher’s writing that inspired photographer Aileen Ah-Tye to look for her Provence. In a letter to Fisher, Aileen would report back from Marseille: “The eels and the prickly rascasse were exotique to my San Francisco eyes, the smells as pungent as you can get, and . . . miracle of all miracles . . . the men and women on the docks were exactly as you described them.”
Thus began a collaboration that illustrates Fisher’s passion for life and all its sensual pleasures that nourish the soul.“It’s difficult to pick out just one favorite travel book. But if I had to pick just one favorite, it wouldn’t exactly be a travel book, but rather a ‘being there’ book – and that is Two Towns in Provence by M.F.K. Fisher . . . [Reading it] was one of the turning moments in my life. She was writing about a café I’ve subsequently come to know very well in Aix-en-Provence called the Deux Garçons. I could smell it, and I could taste the little things she and her children were having at the time. And I thought, That’s where I want to be.” —Peter Mayle
In Among Friends M. F. K. Fisher begins her recollections in Albion, Michigan, but they soon lead her to Whittier, California, where her family moved in 1912, when she was four. The "Friends" of the title range from the hobos who could count on food at the family's back door to the businessmen who advertised in Father's paper—but above all they are the Quakers who were the prominent group in Whittier. Mary Frances Kennedy found them unusual friends indeed, in the more than forty years that she lived in Whittier she was never invited inside a Friend's house.
Her portraits of her father, Rex—her mentor, himself the editor of the local newspaper—her mother, Edith, and the other members of her family are memorable and moving. Originally published in 1970, Among Friends provides a fascinating glimpse into the background and development of one of our most delightful and best–loved writers, Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher.
The woman who elevated food writing to an art is at her best in this mouthwatering collection of memoirs and recipes.
Boldly confessing her prejudices and her passions, M. F. K Fisher includes more than 140 recipes in the 17 chapters of this book. Dishes for every course of every meal can be found here, from the simplest to the most esoteric: tidbits, appetizers, breads, pastries, fish, fowl, meats, soups, vegetables, desserts, and casseroles.
Whether recalling forbidden fruits from her childhood (such as mashed potatoes with catsup), her mother’s legendary mustard pickles, or a Caribbean bride singing about peas and rice, each description is flavored with the eloquence, warmth, and wit that became Fisher’s hallmark. Among the many admirers Fisher accrued during her illustrious and varied career was W. H. Auden, who said of her, “I do not know of anyone in the United States who writes better prose.”
Whether the subject of her fancy is the lowly, unassuming potato or the love life of that aphrodisiac mollusk the oyster, Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher writes with a simplicity that belies the complexities of the life she often muses on. She is hailed as one of America's preeminent writers about gastronomy. But to limit her to that genre would be a disservice. She was passionate and well–traveled, and her narratives fill over two dozen highly acclaimed books. In this collection of some of her finest works, we learn that Fisher's palette was not only well trained in gastronomical masterpieces, but in life's best pleasures as well.Love in a Dish . . . and Other Culinary Delights by M.F.K. Fisher
is an instructional manual on how to live, eat, and love brought together by prolific researcher and culinary enthusiast Anne Zimmerman. With great care she has selected essays that sometimes forgive our lustful appetites, yet simultaneously celebrate them, as in "Once a Tramp, Always . . . " and "Love in a Dish," which guides us down the path to marital bliss via the family dining table.
It is through this carefully chosen selection, which includes two essays never before collected in book form, that we encounter Fisher's bold passion for cuisine and an introduction to her idea of what constitutes the delicious life.
An M.F.K. Fisher Reader
Any discussion of the great masters of American English must include the writings of Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher. For more than sixty years, in her writings about family, food, and travel, Fisher amassed a body of work that belongs on any shelf of classic American writing. Assembled here in this new edition is a generous selection from the books from throughout her career, arranged chronologically, and with this volume, we fortunate readers are now offered a magnificent, intimate survey of her life and writing. Whether reflecting on her father's affinity for the underdog or bravely navigating the trials of old age, Fisher's candor and wit are vigorous and infectious. Tales of travel, childhood memories, recipes massacred and perfected, meditations on World War II, and thoughts on cataract surgery—the range of stories on her palette is surprising and original. The Measure of Her Powers
, finely edited by Dominique Gioia and introduced by Ruth Reichl, will captivate those who have never read Fisher and deepen the appreciation of her many fans.
An Assortment of Short Works
Like the savory, simple dishes she favored, M. F. K. Fisher's writing was often "short, stylish, concentrated in flavor, and varied in form," writes Joan Reardon in her introduction to this eclectic, lively collection. Magazine writing launched and helped to sustain Fisher's long, illustrious career and in these fifty–seven pieces we experience again the inimitable voice of the woman widely known to have elevated food writing to a literary art.A Stew or a Story
covers five decades of Fisher's writing for such notable and diverse publications as Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Ladies Home Journal, Atlantic Monthly, Harper's Bazaar, The New York Times, The New Yorker
, and Vogue
. But collected here also are articles nearly impossible to find from lesser–known, more ephemeral magazines. Essays on people, places, and of course food, mix here with delightful fiction to become a delectable feast.