Friday, June 19, 2009

Author of the Day: M. F. K. Fisher

M. F. K. Fisher -- born Mary Frances Kennedy -- created a literary genre by writing about "the art of eating" and her life with food. I love, love, love her books.

Some of them are hard to find, so I may never get to finish this list, but I hope so. Those I have read are in red. Those currently on my TBR shelf are in blue.

Serve it Forth (1937)

Consider the Oyster (1941)

How to Cook a Wolf (1942)

The Gastronomical Me (1943)

Here Let Us Feast, A Book of Banquets (1946)

Not Now But NOW (1947) (a novel)

An Alphabet for Gourmets (1949)

The Physiology of Taste [translator] (1949)

A Cordial Water: A Garland of Odd & Old Receipts to Assuage the Ills of Man or Beast (1961)

The Story of Wine in California (1962)

Map of Another Town: A Memoir of Provence (1964)

Two Kitchens in Provence (1966) (an almost impossible to find novel)

The Cooking of Provincial France (1969)

With Bold Knife and Fork (1969)

Among Friends (1971)

A Considerable Town (1978)

Not a Station but a Place (1979)

As They Were (1982)

Sister Age (1983)

Spirits of the Valley (1985) (another extremely rare volume)

Dubious Honors (1988)

The Boss Dog: A Story of Provence (1990) (a novel)

Long Ago in France: The Years in Dijon (1991)

To Begin Again: Stories and Memoirs 1908 - 1929 (1992)

Stay Me, Oh Comfort Me: Journals and Stories 1933-1941 (1993)

Last House: Reflections, Dreams and Observations 1943-1991 (1995)

A Life in Letters(1997)

From the Journals of M.F.K. Fisher (1999)


  1. Thanks for introducing a new writer to me. I've checked some of the amazon links and there are several I'd like to read! Do you have a favorite?

  2. Like with so many writers, I think my favorite MFK book so far is the first one I read -- The Gastronomical Me. The essays in that book all had to do with her own developing senses about eating and cooking.

    How to Cook a Wolf is more about hard times and austerity, and the role of food in those situations. Great book, but a different approach, for sure.

    Consider the Oyster does just that -- it is a book of essays about oysters. It is entertaining, because as with the two others, she ties in tales of her own travels and personal life.

    Those three and two others -- Serve it Forth and another I can't recall right now -- were recently published in a compilation called The Art of Eating. Were I starting fresh with MFK, I'd start with the compilation.

    With Bold Knife and Fork is more of a cookbook than the other I've read. It comes close to being my favorite so far because she tells her own stories in addition to the recipes, it is very opinionated, and the food is simple stuff she liked to cook for herself.

  3. I found your blog via The Literate Housewife (from "the last blog post title" feature and yours had M.F.K. Fisher in it, so it caught my eye).

    M.F.K. Fisher is also one of my favorite authors and "The Gastronomical Me" is excellent.

    One of my favorite used-book finds is an original edition of "The Art of Eating" (published back in the 1950's). That was a thrilling moment for me :-).

  4. Valerie -- Glad you found Rose City Reader. Welcome!

    I am soooooooooooo jealous about your 1950s Art of Eating!!!!!

  5. Thank you for the added info! I'll start looking for a copy of The Art of Eating. The library book sale season is just starting - maybe I'll find some titles there, too!

  6. I've only read a few of MKF's essays, but I've enjoyed them. I really would love to read The Art of Eating, just haven't gotten to it yet!

  7. G- do you have Consider the Oyster? Can I peruse? I'm bringing home oysters from the beach in a couple of days. I'm intrigued with MFK Fisher now, hmmm

  8. JoAnn -- Now you have me thinking about library book sales, my favorite thing in the world!

    RR -- Only when I posted this did I realize that there are two volumes of Art of Eating that I haven't read yet. I want to find them.

    Tracey -- Yes. Yes.


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