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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Challenges, challenges

I am not a "foody"--though I like good food. I am amazed that M.F.K. Fisher is able to spend so much time and effort discussing food, past and present. While I thoroughly enjoyed the more autobiographical The Years in Dijon, the Art of Eating (for the Unread Author's Challenge) must be spaced, not eaten whole. For me. One essay/chapter at a time.

There is formidable research in Serve It Forth (the first book in the omnibus) and enough food trivia to satisfy any food aficionado, and there were some personal references that were interesting to me. A return to The Three Pheasants and the waiter, Charles, several years after leaving France was a bitter-sweet experience for Fisher (and for me, the reader.)

Last Saturday, I mentioned that I was reading Consider the Oyster (second book in omnibus), and my daughter looked at me with a half-smile and said, "Why?" Why, indeed, when I don't care for them? The rest of my family enjoys oysters and most seafood, but I don't, so why should I consider the oyster. And how does one manage to write a whole book on oysters? Fisher does, and mostly makes it interesting, if not life-enhancing. The recipes, however, I skip. The day will never come when I need a recipe for oysters as any oysters prepared in our house are, and always will be, prepared by my husband. Oh, I admit to having battered and fried a few, but that is hardly a recipe.

I take it back, Fisher's recipe for "How to Make a Pearl" made me smile and read every word.

Two more books down that need to be reviewed: Rebel Angels and The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch. Orson Scott Card's Homebody is on my nightstand, and Fisher's tome is in the sun room.


  1. How to make a pearl - I imagine so many food items with this title - also of course, how actually a pearl is made!

  2. The Art of Eating sounds like an appropriate and interesting vacation read. I remembered coming across a couple of her essays in college. Her prose is possibly some of the best writing from the 20th Century, so the difficulty in getting her books was rather puzzling. Food critics and chefs always refer to M.F.K. Fisher as some kind of luminary.

    * * *

    It's been so long since I read about food and eating, I recalled it was a book titled The Debt to Pleasure, by John Lanchester. So I need to pick up a M.F.K. Fisher book. :)

  3. Heather -- She begins with a grain of sand and includes the pearl diver!

    Matt -- I know what you mean about references to Fisher, both those references by food critics and chefs and those by literary people. The Art of Eating contains five of her books--they are also published separately. Try Long Ago in France --it is a short and fascinating memoir.