April 2, 1989 |
THE SECRET TO eating alone, M.F.K. Fisher once wrote, is learning to treat yourself as if you were a guest. It's probably the best advice any solitary eater could possibly have, but it does have its drawbacks. What do you do about the wine? A guest, after all, deserves a glass of wine with dinner. As the host, however, you would probably be reluctant to waste an entire bottle by opening it to pour a single glass.
February 13, 1991 |
I fell under the spell of M.F.K. Fisher when, at 16, I came across a copy of "How to Cook a Wolf" in the stacks of the Culver City public library. No reader of "food books," then or now, I found myself enchanted by her lilting style, her clear and true vision, her common sense, and--above all--her notion of the world as a place of beauty and bounty, if only you know how to find it.
June 5, 1986 |
Here Let Us Feast: A Book of Banquets by M.F.K. Fisher (North Point Press: $11.50) M. F. K. Fisher's splendidly varied collection of passages from world literature on feasting, opening with one from the Bible and closing with one from Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls," all linked by her characteristically elegant comments, has been out of print for more than 30 years. Now it is reissued in what its new publisher describes as an "extensively revised" edition.
April 29, 2007 |
BARBARA HOLLAND is a person you'd want to sit in front of a cozy fire and drink with, toasting the colorful, capricious, ever-swinging pendulum of human morality. With a style as witty, practical and Triple Sec as M.F.K. Fisher's, Holland's "The Joy of Drinking" (Bloomsbury: 152 pp., $14.95) grows from a hilarious ancient-history lesson into a compulsively readable mini-mosaic of humans and our various fermented tipples -- as well as our paroxysms of moral indignation over these same tipples.
November 8, 1990 |
One Hundred Books on California Food and Wine, edited by Dan Strehl (The Book Collectors: $40 plus tax from P.O. Box 104, Sunland, Calif. 91041; 64 pp.) Since 1870, 3,000 California books about food and wine have been published. For someone who wants to collect in this specialized area, this tasteful little volume--a collector's item in itself: handsomely designed, letterpress-printed in an edition of 300--is essential.
October 20, 1994 |
Insects have nothing to do all day but find ways of getting into grain, so grain nearly always contains some insect stuff. Above a certain level, it becomes unfit for human consumption. The usual inspection method (checking samples with a microscope) has flaws, though--it counts a large insect fragment the same as a small one, and it can't find eggs and larvae tucked inside kernels.
March 5, 1992 |
"To honor Marion, we'd like to present her with a book in which she herself is the subject--an anthology of informal tributes from all those present at the party." --from the invitation to the 70th birthday party Judith Jones brought a poem from her husband Evan. Alice Waters brought a collage she had made. I brought a photograph from an earlier birthday--a group of miserable-looking people huddled around a table looking hungry. Which we were.
October 9, 2011 |
Cancale and Locmariaquer are dots on the Atlantic coast of France. Also places that produce my favorite food: Brittany oysters. Served raw on the half shell, with no more sauce than a squeeze of lemon, they are generally smaller than other varieties but intensely flavored, more precious than pearls to people who know their oysters. French King Henri IV could down 20 dozen in a sitting. Diderot, Voltaire and Rousseau ate them for inspiration, as did Napoleon Bonaparte before going into battle.