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Ebook As They Were by M.F.K. Fisher read! Book Title: As They Were
Date of issue: July 7th 1983
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
The author of the book: M.F.K. Fisher
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 818 KB
Edition: Chatto & Windus

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M.F.K. Fisher only came on my radar this year, and I didn't pick her up to read until I heard part of her essay about canning, and her earliest memory of jam-skin. She is one of the great foremothers of food writing, in fact there is even an award named after her for excellence in culinary writing.

I'm not sure this was the book to start with, as she is best known for The Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition and The Gastronomical Me. This book is a collection of essays spanning 1941-1980, of memories and food in places she has lived around the world. Most of them have prefaces written later to give some context. Some of the instances detail places and even food that just doesn't exist in the same way anymore, and it was a great nostalgia read on Thanksgiving day.

(Warning: this book will make you hungry!)


I Was Really Very Hungry about a trip to a restaurant in northern Burgundy when a somewhat manic waitress gives her the best meal of her life, stuffs her to the gills. It is almost unbelievable, but the food!

The First Cafe details her first visit to a fine dining establishment at the age of 6, Marcel's in Los Angeles (in 1914.) She recalls the details that have never left her memory and talks about taking her own daughter to a similar place. "...She is whatever tender creature can thus begin the long nibbling through the invisible tunnel of the world."

Two Kitchens in Provence transports to a very specific moment in time from when she picked up her family and relocated to France for a while. It's like Julia Child without the political connections, even more embedded in the local life.

About Looking Alone At a Place is probably my favorite essay, about living in Arles, alone, in the off-season where a tourist is not exactly welcome. So much detail, so much place.

Dutch Freighter talks about life and food for people who travel on freighters. I don't know of anyone who has ever done this, so I'm guessing this is a pre-World War II phenomenon. The Fishers traveled from Marseille to Los Angeles on one in 1932, but also took shorter trips. The description of Dutch freighter food, from hodgepodge to Goudaspritses to Nassi Goreng (obviously a food from the Dutch empire) was fascinating, but to me reading in 2014, it also felt... lost.

ETA: This book was discussed on Episode 017 of the Reading Envy Podcast.

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Ebook As They Were read Online! Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher was a prolific and well-respected writer, writing more than 20 books during her lifetime and also publishing two volumes of journals and correspondence shortly before her death in 1992. Her first book, Serve it Forth, was published in 1937. Her books deal primarily with food, considering it from many aspects: preparation, natural history, culture, and philosophy. Fisher believed that eating well was just one of the "arts of life" and explored the art of living as a secondary theme in her writing. Her style and pacing are noted elements of her short stories and essays.

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