The Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition Paperback – Feb 20 2004
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A collection of essays by one of America's best known food writers, that are often more autobiographical or historical than anecdotal musings on food preparation and consumption. The book includes culinary advice to World War II housewives plagued by food shortages, portraits of family members and friends (with all their idiosyncrasies) and notes on her studies at the University of Dijon, in France. Through each story she weaves her love of food and passion for cooking, and illustrates that our three basic needs as human beings--love, food and security--are so intermingled that it is difficult to think of one without the others. The book won the 1989 James Beard Cookbook Award. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
This 50th anniversary paperback reprint contains what Julia Child referred to as "the essence of M.F.K. Fisher." Fisher (1908-1992) was one of this country's earliest food writers; her eloquent yet unostentatious prose has charmed generations. The 784-page collection brings together five works originally published under separate titles: "Serve it Forth," "Consider the Oyster," "How to Cook a Wolf," "The Gastronomical Me" and "An Alphabet for Gourmets." There are also recipes scattered throughout. (Washington Post, April 28, 2004)See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is a compilation of her most famous works "Consider the Oyster," "Serve It Forth," "How to Cook a Wolf," "The Gastronomical Me" and "An Alphabet for Gourmets." Each is quite different. "How to Cook a Wolf" is about cooking in times of want, in this case, World War II, but the book really becomes semi-autobiographical and talks about her young days in Dijon, where she was the wife of a student at the University.
If you haven't read M.F.K. Fisher, this is probably the best book to start with--it combines memoir with culinary musings; advice on scrambled eggs with her own ideas about health and nutrition. If you then can't get enough of Fisher, I recommend, "The Measure of Her Powers" which is much more autobiographical and utterly fascinating.
I actually read Fisher more for her memoirs. Her fascination with food and cooking is to me about life and art,--the French view of food not as something merely to fill the belly, but as an art form and a craft.
There are two types of cookbook authors: those who did not follow a drive to become apothecaries and instead wound up in a kitchen. Now they issue a prescriptive formulary of carefully controlled measures, procedures, times, weights, and ingredients (no substitutions, please) in precise, neat, humorless texts: recipes by edict, if you will; and those who under other circumstances would have become poets or novelists, but instead wound up in the kitchen, from whence they issue lyrical prose as well as exquisite dishes. Their recipes are often vague, permissive, infuriating, but tolerant of errors. There are many who fit the first category and few (MFK Fisher among them) the second.
There are two ways of comparing cookbooks: by following recipes for highly complex dishes (beef Wellington, say) and tasting the results, or by following extremely simple recipes from each book and making gustatory comparisons (scrambled eggs, for instance). Scrambled eggs, according to general culinary wisdom, requires that eggs be beaten together "until the white and yolks are completely combined" (Joy of Cooking) or to be whisked briskly (Fanny Farmer).
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There are drawbacks to the work, however. By gathering five different books into a single volume, a certain amount of repetition of some of her material becomes apparent. This is, of course, more the fault of the editor than of Fischer herself. No, Fischer's faults lie perhaps in a certain over-emphasis on the "sensitivity" of herself and her loved ones as contrasted with the rest of us Ya-hoos, and that she wrote before the emergence of American regional cuisine as a force in cookery, so that she sometimes denigrates things we feel more kindly toward today.
In all, though, The Art of Eating is a book that no serious cook or diner can afford to do without
Most recent customer reviews
I'd heard about this book in a Youtube interview with the late author, Frank McCourt. He highly recommended it. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Silent K Publishing
A great classic that has finally found its way into my library.Published 16 months ago by G. Bisaillon
This was a gift from an ex-occasional lover...This is what I'll remember her by. If you love to cook, if you love to eat...if you just love to read while you eat... Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2004 by mojostarz
A wonderful book! Unappreciated. Mary Francis shows us that eating is life and life is eating, or at least, the good life is good eating. Read morePublished on Oct. 14 2002 by Georgia Petra
Once upon a time I worked for a chef who absolutely adored MFK Fisher (this was one of her only redeeming qualities) and although I love food and wine, I had never heard of her... Read morePublished on June 5 2002 by Kasey M. Moctezuma
For anyone who absolutely loves food; the preparation, the consumption, the discription...... this book is a must. Read morePublished on Feb. 14 2002 by LCBC
This book is not a cookbook (though it does contain some great recipes). And it isn't really just a memoir. Read morePublished on Dec 21 2001 by Megami
A delicious and lyrical book. Best read with a piece of good cheese and some wine, or perhaps some good ripe fruit close to hand.Published on June 13 2001
I don't dare try to compete with Ms Fisher's ability to spin stories about food and travel and life - no one can match her. Read morePublished on Aug. 21 1999