A Timely Thought About M.F.K. Fisher

My English professor husband Carl is teaching a class next quarter in non-fiction writing that includes food writing, and the first person he thought of was the renowned M.F.K. Fisher. Most foodies know that Fisher was one of the greats — her writings about food qualify her as a gastronome, but, more importantly, they place her in the forefront of distinguished American sociologists, philosophers and — most certainly — essayists.  This article by Krissy Clark for American Public Media <http://weekendamerica.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/07/19/wolf/#> includes a recipe for Gaspacho [sic] Soup by “Mary Frances,” from Fisher’s 1942 wartime book, “How to Cook a Wolf” — a major treatise in economizing without sacrificing the fun of preparing a meal (it’s clearly apropos for today’s tight times).  OK, I know a cold soup is mid-summer, not mid-winter, fare.  But who cares about dates or seasons when Fisher’s passion for cooking and eating is concerned?  Clark quotes from Fisher’s chapter, “How to be Cheerful Though Starving” [yikes!], about a woman who cooked meals of beach-foraged sea spinach and kelp.  Wrote Fisher: "I doubt very much if anybody but Sue could make it good… But anyone in the world with intelligence and spirit and the knowledge that it must be done, can live with her inspired oblivion to the ugliness of poverty. It is not that she wandered at night hunting for leaves and berries; it is that she cared enough to invite her friends to share them with her."  Krissy Clark ends her article: And so Ferrary and I sat down to a simple lunch of delicious soup… and to the pleasure of each others’ company, which, Fisher reminded us, was the most important part of all.”  That’s the true holiday spirit, I think!

Submitted by Carol Selkin (carol_selkin@sbcglobal.net)

I agree, the true holiday spirit. And I cheer the fact that Fisher — food writing!! —  will be included in Carl’s course. Too many people think of food writing as a frivolous subject. But food is life. And good writing is worthy, whatever its subject matter.