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MFK Fisher : which of her books should I start with?
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clotilde
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Joined: 24 Sep 2004
Posts: 443
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 6:03 pm    Post subject: MFK Fisher : which of her books should I start with? Reply with quote

Hi all!
I have been told so much about MFK Fisher, I would really like to finally read some of her writing. Do you have any advice as to which of her books I should start with?
Many thanks!
Clotilde.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Without a doubt, "Gastronomical Me". I also recommend Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kitchen Confidential is a great read - it made me think twice about eating out and ordering, not that it stopped me eating out at all, but I would never order the 'fish special' on a Monday!

I'm not familiar with MFK Fisher - is she another food industry insider?
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clotilde
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Joined: 24 Sep 2004
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Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erin - Thanks for the recommendation! Is it a collection of her essays?
And yes, I would recommend Kitchen Confidential too! I posted a little review on Chocolate & Zucchini a few months back...

Judy - MFK Fisher (1908-1992) is often considered to be one of America's greatest food writers. She wrote culinary essays, recipes interspersed with anecdotes and stories.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
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Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it is a collection of essays about her culinary evolution from an Early American homemakers kitchen to Dijon and beyond. I would also recommend, "Consider the Oyster".
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Alisa



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2004 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps it is just in the normal course of events, food related, or just another nice coincidence , but I was led to reading MFK Fisher many years ago, through the reading of many other things. I have read Kitchen Confidential, and Sister Years. I actually haven't finished Sister Years, it is not all that compelling. It would be nice to hear reviews of her other books.
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clotilde
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alisa, which of MFK's books have you read? Is the Sister Years book you mention the one by Nathaniel Hawthorne?
I'd love to read Hemingway's Movable Feast, too, but somehow they seem to sell it for an arm and a leg in American bookstores around here. Has anyone read it?
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E.



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 9
Location: Chicago, IL, USA, by way of California

PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2004 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Clotilde --
I loved "A Moveable Feast." I read it as an appetizer right before I went to Paris for two months and then I re-read it when I came back and started to miss Paris. Not only are Hemingway's descriptions of the city wonderful, but his snarky remarks about his fellow writers and artists are very, very funny. Catty literary gossip! There's also a great essay about being hungry in Paris. I need to read this again. I hope you get a chance to read it. Maybe you can do what I do when I can't afford a book -- go into Shakespeare and Co. and sit in one of their nooks and read the book happily, oblivious to the customers who mill around you.
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Alisa



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2004 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clotilde, Oh sorry, it is called "Sister Age" not Sister Years. It is a collection of short stories, by MFK Fisher. I didn't really connect with the first one, and I continually fall asleep while trying to read the second. I'll give it another go, now that it is "stay inside and read" weather. I went to Alibris.com, for a thorough list of her books, and realized that over the years, while traveling, I have read parts of her other books, from the bookshelves of friends. I now want to find and finish them ALL![/b]
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clotilde
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2004 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

E. : good tip about Shakespeare and Co.! My father used to take me with him when I was little, but I haven't been in many many years. All I remember is the huge ladders! And I'll have to get my hands on the Movable Feast...

Alisa : And I have not read one single line by her! Need to fix this...
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Rebeca



Joined: 11 Nov 2004
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Location: Victoria BC Canada

PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2004 2:35 am    Post subject: A Cordiall Water Reply with quote

I am a big Fisher fan, and love all her writing, but my favourite by far is A Cordiall Water. It's a little book of folk medicine tales and recipes. It is my desert island book, and not necessarily because I would actually use any of the recipes, I just love to read it.

I have been trying to get my hands on a used copy for a while, but I recently found out that they have republished the book this year. I'd still rather have a hardcover version of the original though!
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amber
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2004 3:31 am    Post subject: mfk Reply with quote

Dear Clotilde,

The Gastronomical Me is definitely a good introduction to MFK Fisher. It's her most traditionally autobiographical book, where (as the title suggests) she looks back on her culinary life and tries to trace the memories and moments that have helped define her "gastronomical" identity. It begins with her first food memory of eating the "scum" from her grandmother's pot of strawberry jam, and she spends a long time discussing her early years in France and the magical dinners she made in her cramped, primitive kitchen in Dijon. The book was written at a particularly poignant time in her life and she is obviously intensely invested in probing into her past and all the things she has lost. How to Cook a Wolf is another wonderful volume, a book ostensibly written to help people survive rationing during the second world war. It's full of pathos and beauty. Serve it Forth, An Alphabet for Gourmets, and With Bold Knife and Fork are others books you should look forward to. And Consider the Oyster is lots of fun if you love obsessively single-subject books! The Art of Eating is a compilation of five of her books (including Gastronomical Me) that is readily available in the States. Enjoy--Mary Frances is the best.
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sandye



Joined: 23 Nov 2004
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2004 5:55 am    Post subject: The Art of Eating Reply with quote

dear clotilde,

you may wish to buy "The Art of Eating" which contains five of her food books in one. there is a wonderful website for new and used books called the american book exchange which represents thousands of independent used book stores and allows you to search for books by using both author name and book title searches (http://www.abe.com). if you only put in her name everything they have by her will pop up, with the least expensive books first.

they currently have what is described as a new paperback copy of "The Art of Eating" available for only $1.75 or 1.33 euros. shipping from the u.s to france would be $19.50 US for approximately 5-10 business days or $11.50 US for approximately 21-36 business days.

The Art of Eating (ISBN:0020322208)
Fisher M. F. K., Fisher Mary Frances Kennedy
Price: $ 1.75 US
Book Description: SoftCover. New.
Bookseller Inventory #0020322208AI55
Bookseller: Book and Print (Vancouver, WA, U.S.A.)

i was introduced to her work by first reading "With Bold Knife and Fork". she also did an english language translation of Brillat-Savarin's "The Physiology of Taste." her book "Two Towns in Provence" is a lovely memoir.

sandye
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madameshawshank



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
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Location: Penrith (where jacarandas remind me of change), New South Wales, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2004 6:32 am    Post subject: Mary Frances...:-))))))))))))) Reply with quote

What a lovely reminder of "Sister Age"..I read it such a long time ago ~ time for a re-read. Clotilde, absolutely ANYTHING by Mary Frances!!!

Also, you might like to search out "A Welcoming Life ~ the MFK Fisher Scrapbook" compiled and annotated by Dominique Gioia. (only $7 new/used on amazon...much much much less than the Oz $s I paid Laughing ) Here is a review I found on amazon:

A Superb Look at M.F.K. Fisher's Life, May 27, 2000
Reviewer: Millie Samuelson (Chesterton, IN USA) - See all my reviews
I checked this book out from the library prior to a book club session focusing on M.F.K. Fisher's works. I had never read anything by or about Mary Frances before, because I thought she was "just" a cooking/culinary writer. Was I ever wrong! What a gorgeous, wonderful, fascinating, philosophical woman and writer! Her writing style is as splendid as her life. . . and what a superb life she lived in spite of being a woman ahead of her times and in spite of tragedies and set backs. Now I'm adding her books and books about her to my personal library. She's my latest inspiration, in line with Willa Cather, Pearl Buck, Madeleine L'Engle, Emily Dickinson, the Brontes, and a few others

Clotilde, at the moment I'm reading "MFK Fisher and Me: a Memoir of Food and Friendship" by Jeannette Ferrary. Can imagine many c n zers enjoying both books..
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Jane



Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 4
Location: London

PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2004 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Gastronomical Me is a beautiful book. It is one of my all time favourites--not just a favourite food related book. There is writing in there that will take your breath away.
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