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Here Let Us Feast

A Book of Banquets

List Price: $19.95

August 14, 2018 | Paperback | 6.0 x 9.0, 400 pages | ISBN 9781640090835
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“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 TimesThe New YorkerSaveur, 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 EatingThe 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.

MARY FRANCES KENNEDY FISHER was the preeminent American food writer. She wrote thirty-three books, including a translation of The Physiology of Taste by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. Her first book, Serve It Forth, was published in 1937. Fisher’s books are an amalgam of food literature, travel, and memoir.

BETTY FUSSELL was born in Southern California in 1927. Her most recent book is Eat, Live, Love, Die. She was recently celebrated, along with other winners of the Silver Spoon Award, by Food Arts magazine.


Praise for Here Let Us Feast

“The anthology doesn’t miss a beat. And that cover! You’ll need to find prominent real estate, be it the kitchen or the bookshelf, with a cover like that.” —, 1 of 10 Books with Covers So Beautiful You Can Judge Them

“[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. Here are extensive excerpts from such widely diversified writers as Edgar Saltus, Petronius Arbiter, Tobias Smollett, Lucius Apuleius, Ovid, Rabelais, Plato and others. Mrs. Fisher begins her book with the introductory verse to the King James Version of the Bible: ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.’ And she concludes with long excerpts from gastronomic Americana, ranging from Washington Irving to Ernest Hemingway. Spread thickly in between is a royal feast, indeed!” —The New York Times

“Her erudite prose slices through myriad time periods and cultures, spanning the globe—and beyond—in fact and fantasy . . . Feast is a taste well worth acquiring. You’ll get your intellectual fill.” —VEER Magazine

“Extensively revised by the author, this enlightening cornucopia of writings toasts the pleasures of food, drink and celebration in literature. It also marks the first time in years that the complete works of Fisher, an authority on gastronomy and an elegant crafter of prose, are available. Eleven chapters present selections varying in length from a few paragraphs to several pages that begin with the ancient Chinese and Greeks and the Bible and progress to the pioneers of America, while pausing to linger in the literatures of England, France, Germany, Russia (among others). This is a refreshing, nourishing and fulfilling sampler from a connoisseur of a genre she has created.” —Publishers Weekly

“This is unique… a collection of excerpts from world literature, concerned with eating and drinking. [Fisher] ranges from Chinese literature, ancient and modern; Richard Burton, T. E. Lawrence, Marco Polo, adventurers all; Smollett, Rabelais, Boccaccio, Shakespeare, Pepys, Scott, Thackeray, Dickens, to the moderns, via the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the 19th century. Period- country- the story of a nation’s life is charted by its gastronomy, she claims. There are bits from fiction, from letters, there are proverbs, there are recipes. There are the famous chefs whose names have come down,- Brillat-Savarin, Escoffier, Ritz. There’s gastronomy in fantasy and nonsense, in history of pioneering, in regional writing, in studies of manners. And always- in her inimitable way- there is M. F. K. Fisher. Very specialized.” —Kirkus Reviews

“What a strange, gorgeous anthology! M.F.K. Fisher provides a delightful selection of food writing across history and across countries through the voices of inimitable writers. She provides the type of banter you’d expect from Ms. Fisher. Sassy, deeply knowledgeable. I can’t help but be seduced by her pairings—Charles Lamb’s story about the origin of roast suckling pigs with exquisite detail of their crisp heady crackling and explosive jelly eyes next to Lin Yutang’s response to how nineteenth-century Chinese scholars would gather ‘under the autumn moon or in the wilderness of chrysanthemums’ and bring duck from one region, wine from another. This was the way to meditate and create art! I loved the thick selections of Tolstoy and Gogol, the way she combines the eatings of Wonderland and Utopia. And yeah, there are some racist bits in the intro: ‘African savages know when they roast a tiger’s heart for their god.’ I don’t know what to make of that and some of what she says about the Chinese. But I do love Mary Frances’s writing and passion so very much. There is delight and discovery in her words. She shares that love and invites you to feast with her.” —Young Eun Yook, Literati Bookstore (Ann Arbor, MI)

Praise for M.F.K. Fisher

“M.F.K. Fisher … brings onstage a peach or a brace of quail and shows us history, cities, fantasies, memories, emotions.” –Patricia Storace, The New York Review of Books

“Food is what she wrote about, although to leave it at that is reductionist in the extreme. What she really wrote about was the passion, the importance of living boldly instead of cautiously; oh, what scorn she had for timid eaters, timid lovers, people who took timid stands, or none at all, on matters of principle.” —San Francisco Examiner

“I do not know of anyone in the United States who writes better prose.” —W.H. Auden, author of The Age of Anxiety

“M.F.K. Fisher is our greatest food writer because she puts food in the mount, the mind and the imagination all at the same time. Beyond the gastronomical bravura, she is a passionate woman; food is her metaphor.” —Shana Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of Nutcracker

“Poet of the appetites.” —John Updike, author of Rabbit, Run

“She writes about fleeting tastes and feasts vividly, excitingly, sensuously, exquisitely. There is almost a wicked thrill in following her uninhibited track through the glories of the good life.” —James Beard, author of The James Beard Cookbook

“She writes about food as others do about love, but rather better.” —Clifton Fadiman, author of Lifetime Reading Plan

“If I were still teaching high-school English, I’d use [Fisher’s] books to show how to write simply, how to enjoy food and drink but, most of all, how to enjoy life. Her books and letters are one feast after another.” —Frank McCourt, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Angela’s Ashes

Praise for M.F.K. Fisher’s Provence

“Fisher’s lyrical prose and scenes of everyday grace caught by Ah-Tye’s lens will remind readers of the cultural gentility that is France… The effort will leave you refreshed and inspired.” —Christian Science Monitor

Praise for Culinary Delights

“Fisher was scarcely the first writer to connect the pleasures of food and sex, but she is among the cleverest to do so.” —Booklist

Praise for A Stew or A Story

“There are some sprightly riffs with menus… a finely drawn evocation of life at a small California boarding school for girls, much like the ones she attended and where she briefly taught, is as real and touching as her time with Chexbres. Lovers of Fisher should have A Stew or A Story on their shelves for those pieces alone.” —New York Times

“Fisher’s food writing was ahead of its time… As these enjoyable pieces show, she was also a witty writer who offered astute observations along with the occasional recipe.” —Library Journal

Praise for With Bold Knife and Fork

“[Fisher] writes as one intelligent adult to another—practically, often profoundly, and always beautifully. If eating means more to you than steak drowned in bottled sauces, then she’s what you’ve been looking for.” —San Francisco Examiner


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