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M.F.K Fisher


Carrot Top
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Now now folks, calm thy'sels. Her mean streak is smaller than mine, and probably part of her appeal for me over all these years. I'll have to pull the quote that brought it to the fore.

I think we need a pronunciation guide for "Chexbres". If it were Basque, its a much softer sound than it looks, for example. Oh darn. Google discovers that its the name of a community in Switzerland.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Yes, she chose it as nickname for him. *If* I remember right, it is because of some time they spent together at that place in Switzerland. Love makes one both blind *and* deaf, perhaps? :biggrin:

Absolutely it is pronounced softer than it "looks", written. But I don't care. It still is a lump in the center of her style of writing.

The best spin I could put on it would be that she meant the name to strike one, lumpily, indigestibly, as literary device. As the story of how the real Chexbres in the end must have felt like to her. Not digestible. Painful.

But that spin is probably just utter nonsense in the end run. She probably loved the name.

............................

:smile: Yes, do! find the quote that brought that to your attention, Kougin Aman. That would be interesting to see. :wink:

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a large cake like a macaroon. Sabri had made it, and he told us how.

"Cook finest vermicelli thoroughly," he instructed, a cold polite smile on his face and his eyes very warm and melancholy. "Then when it is done spread it in a large shallow baking-dish and drip honey and sweet oil upon it until the dish brims."

I felt I knew Sabri when I read that, years ago. I had to make that "cake". And so I did, just exactly from his directions. All this was pre-professional cooking years. It was an adventure. And it was very good.  :smile:

Then he grinned, and broke the last chunk of cake in his fat, too-sensitive hands.

What else is done to the "cake" to make it breakable? Cooking of vermicelli, even to al dente, still renders it pliable and slippery. Was it fried, perhaps?

rachel

Visions of those slithery strands, escaping the fork and writhing back into the viscous honeyed oil. :unsure:

UGH---even as I posted, you HAD to bring up Chexbres again, didn't you?

Brainburn. P'too, P'too.

Edited by racheld (log)
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UGH---even as I posted, you HAD to bring up Chexbres again, didn't you?

Chexbres has always held a peculiar fascination for me that resembles nothing so much as a child with a wonderful scab on their knee to poke at wide-eyed and involved with a total and rapt interest all the day long. :biggrin:

Chexbres Chexbres Chexbres. :laugh:

You WILL hear that name, Rachel. (Certainly MFK made sure we heard it enough. :sad: )

......................................

Here is the rest of what happens with Sabri's "cake":

(Sabri is speaking. . .)

"Throw slivers of pistachio nuts upon it, as many as you like - I like very many. And then bake it slowly. It will shrivel down to a brown crusty cake with a moist inside, like the one you did not eat much of."

I took "fine vermicelli" to mean the very thinnest sort possible. That way it does become more easily meldable. A dessert that resembles those we know here made with shredded filo dough (if we are so lucky as to know them :smile:).

A cake to dive into. Served with hot mint tea (though likely Sabri served it with unsweetened strong hot black tea), the makings of an afternoon of langour.

......................................

Do you remember reading "Fifty Million Snails", Rachel?

Have you ever snail-hunted? (Snails, not snipes. :raz: )

I did it once, one year, a long time ago. A real thing, a good and interesting thing to do.

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I think we need a pronunciation guide for "Chexbres".

That name bothered me too. I just learned to ignore the phonetics and read it in my mind as "Charles". (It's a handy trick I picked up when reading Russian novelists. :wink: )

So, if MFKF did intend the name to cause consternation among her readers, (an interesting and totally believable theory), the score is SRHCB 1 - MFKF 0! :laugh:

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So, if MFKF did intend the name to cause consternation among her readers, (an interesting and totally believable theory), the score is SRHCB 1 - MFKF 0! :laugh:

I found myself cranky today again at my favorite "food writer". Yet another word besides Chexbres.

In "Catherine's Lonesome Cooks". It was several sentences, actually.

The pleasures of the table had become so important, by the time Madame du Barry and la Pompadour reigned over France, that no intelligent courtesan could afford to be without a fine chef. Dining eclipsed its old companion love-making, and many a beautiful fille was coveted more for her chef's skill with omelette than for her own artful thighs.

:huh: Uh. . .right. :hmmm: I think they must have made men differently then, if so.

And. . . "artful thighs" ? :unsure: WTF?!

( :laugh: )

( :blink: )

P.S. Will undoubtedly be back tomorrow with my cheerleading pom-poms at the ready, though. :wink:

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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UGH---even as I posted, you HAD to bring up Chexbres again, didn't you?

Chexbres Chexbres Chexbres. :laugh:

......................................

Do you remember reading "Fifty Million Snails", Rachel?

Have you ever snail-hunted? (Snails, not snipes. :raz: )

I did it once, one year, a long time ago. A real thing, a good and interesting thing to do.

Me and two of the small men went a' snail shell hunting Monday, and the boys named them all Gary (perfidious SpongeBSQP!). I still woulda schpeared 'em out and eaten them with lovely greeny butter, had they been home at the time.....

I called that guy Chexmix in my head, and haven't had a problem since.... :raz:

Now I'm reading the bit about the absence of palate, and it seems to describe roughly half of my porcine in-laws to a tee, more's the pity. I also understand now some of that thinking, or lack thereof, when I'm just indiscriminately stuffing me gullet because I "like the feeling of a full stomach" that Fisher refers to. SCARY!

My own mother likes to commiserate on my expanding waistline by remarking rather acidly that I "have married into a group of people that define themselves by food", which is sadly mistaken when I think how I'm the one that loves my own cooking and smuggles hard tack to the in-laws' and my mother's house.

I think I'm rambling around a point that this book, so far, makes me appreciate how much I think about food, no matter what the physical consequence, no?

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What a coincidence. I just reread my falling-apart edition of AoE. I think Consider the Oyster is my favorite right now. It's tone is jauntier and the memories are blended in more smoothly. One section of The Gastronomical Me I can't abide -- not sure why -- is the part near the end in Mexico. There's something about it that aggravates me but it's difficult to pinpoint. Maybe it's that there's too much about music and not enough about food.

I like her writing the way I like the seasons -- I like them at first but after a certain amount of time, it's, Enough, already. I've always felt she wrote the way an opera singer sings. It's a big voice, that's for sure. I think her style is quite theatrical. So it seems natural she would've created a character, or at least a persona, that didn't reflect the "real" woman.

I didn't know anything about her biography and admit it sounds oh-so-intriguing. And yes! "Chexbres" has baffled me as a name from the first time I saw it. I just thought I was an uncultured twit who didn't know how to pronounce it.

My fantasy? Easy -- the Simpsons versus the Flanders on Hell's Kitchen.

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I think we need a pronunciation guide for "Chexbres".

That name bothered me too. I just learned to ignore the phonetics and read it in my mind as "Charles". (It's a handy trick I picked up when reading Russian novelists. :wink: )

So, if MFKF did intend the name to cause consternation among her readers, (an interesting and totally believable theory), the score is SRHCB 1 - MFKF 0! :laugh:

I think it's Basque for goat (if this was mentioned upthread I apologize. I'm medicated these days. ) So I just call him Goat man, or Dill. Old money, good family and all, but something in common with Jerry Lee Lewis. But from now on, dear Jess, he will be ever Chexmix to me.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Yes, she chose it as nickname for him. *If* I remember right, it is because of some time they spent together at that place in Switzerland. Love makes one both blind *and* deaf, perhaps?  :biggrin:

I think it's Basque for goat (if this was mentioned upthread I apologize. I'm medicated these days. ) So I just call him Goat man, or Dill. Old money, good family and all, but something in common with Jerry Lee Lewis.  But from now on, dear Jess, he will be ever Chexmix to me.

Chexmix works, doesn't it.

"Chexmix the Goat. Now starring with Jerry Lewis! See goat and man as they fall over themselves and everyone else! A slapstick comedy for the entire family."

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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...."artful thighs" ?....

Isn't that the name of the new Jeffrey Chodorow restaurant? :laugh:

But wait a minute. Isn't there already an "Artful Thighs" restaurant in Santa Monica?

"Artful Thighs" provides its customers with a better choice in dining. The usual old "hot wings" are given a new and exciting twist, as the developers of this concept explain: "We serve only organic meat, and avoid the use of any animal that has been given steroids. With the worries about obesity that plague our society, the wing, with all its crispy over-tanned skin is replaced with the thigh. Artfully so. We aim to make your dining experience a great pleasure with our variety of sauces. Omelettes also available upon request for customers who don't eat meat for religious or personal reasons. Be artful. Come dine upon our thighs.

(Just kidding) :raz:

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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Now I'm reading the bit about the absence of palate, and it seems to describe roughly half of my porcine in-laws to a tee, more's the pity.  I also understand now some of that thinking, or lack thereof, when I'm just indiscriminately stuffing me gullet because I "like the feeling of a full stomach" that Fisher refers to.  SCARY! 

My own mother likes to commiserate on my expanding waistline by remarking rather acidly that I "have married into a group of people that define themselves by food", which is sadly mistaken when I think how I'm the one that loves my own cooking and smuggles hard tack to the in-laws' and my mother's house.

I think I'm rambling around a point that this book, so far, makes me appreciate how much I think about food, no matter what the physical consequence, no?

What's scary to me is how very much we all do define ourselves by what we eat.

Or is it the other way around - that what we eat defines us.

In so many ways. In too many ways. And I'm not just talking about "in a cultural sense" which is important, but moreso in an inner sense of who we really feel like we are, inside. Not "who we are", note, but "who we feel like we are".

I'm not sure that parts of that last paragraph are applicable to the males of our species. Might be, might not.

We still do move from certain role to certain role as we move through our lives. We are daughter, of some variety, with some sort of story to know of how that is "supposed to be" in terms of how we are. What we eat often reflects that.

Then we are wife, or close equivalent in many relationships whether there is ring and papers involved or not. We enter the family of the man we've chosen to love (and to follow, in many cases, still, regardless of our apparent freedoms of choice). The family we enter has their own ways of food and eating, and our husband has expectations. We enter another phase of shifting sands, which can be either a gift or a burden. It usually is one or the other - it usually is *not* just a nothing, a blank. And we shift inside, by what we choose to cook and eat, altering "who we feel like we are".

This particular thing can be, and is, often altered by the ways life moves around us. Death of a husband leaves a wife who has cooked for him looking around with nobody to cook for (that she wants to, for this part of her has died too) or simply not even interested in eating anything. Divorce can leave the ways of eating and cooking and "who one thinks one is" adrift, as can living in a marriage that is full of things marriages should not be full of. It comes out in the food. One does not generally like to serve a delicate and loving banquet when the air of ugliness wafts silently at the edges of the windows. And one does not think of eating in such a way either, for themselves.

Being a mother and caring for one's children brings another new phase into being. Particularly when they are young, if the choice has been made to be around them rather than to go out of the home to work, one is again plunged into the shift of "who one thinks one is". Now, we are not sex kittens in most eyes. We are mothers. And in addition to the physical shift involved in growing and bearing a child, with the neccesary extra weight that occurs for healthy babies, the day changes its pace and shape. You can not tell a baby or a child to "just wait a minute, I want to do my nails" or, when a sudden ear-splitting shriek rises from the other room as you have your hands delicately playing with filo and butter, say to yourself, "Ah. They'll be okay. I'll just finish making this, the right way, first." Or maybe you can, but if so one must be rewarded the More Than Nerves Of Steel Award. The foods in the house change, often. The things that Kids Like to Eat creep in, and often these foods are not the best things for mothers to eat, if they want to remain healthy.

It frightens me how what we eat can define us, or how it can alter "who we think we are". For if it has the power to shift who we think we are it has the power to alter who we are. A subtle, often friendly assault which we invite, and then conspire with.

If it's true, my meanderings above, then it's important to think about what we eat. And to make it match as close as possible "who we think we are" and even beyond that "who we want to be".

For if we don't, who will?

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Follow-up to last post:

I walked away from the computer, thinking about MFK and food and all of it. Got a book and went to the kitchen and chose something (ah! very mindfully I thought about what I would choose!) then walked to the couch and picked up a book to read for a moment. A quilt lay half on the floor where my son left it this morning (which of course I say I will wait for him to pick up and then rarely do, picking up after him rather unthinkingly sometime during the day) and I went to throw it over myself on the couch.

As I did so, I was surprised, attacked by the food I had chosen to eat. For it was an open package and I poured it right over my head.

Divine awakening? Something of the sort.

My food of choice?

Here's the real kicker. And I swear to you I chose this food without focusing on its name.

. . . . . . .

Chexmix.

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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Ah me, Carrot Top, that is hilarious. Particularly as the Chexmix will creep up on you for days to come, hiddden as it will be in the nooks and crannies of quilt and couch. :laugh:

Re your musings above, often we define ourselves by our externals- the cars, the address, the clothes, the restaurants, the meals. We dont have to, but we do. "I'm worth it" or "Im not worthy". Im not sure men are immune, otherwise why "Real Men Dont Eat Quiche"? Its been shown that by acting as we want to feel, we can fool our bodies into feeling that way (the act of smiling induces hormonal responses associated with feeling happy, and vice versa). This makes sense then, that if we act as if we are healthy appreciators of good food, then we will to some degree be motivated to eat healthy and delicious food. Besides, one can only "act" so, by doing so, at least in presence of witnesses.

<editted to clarify>

Edited by Kouign Aman (log)

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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One section of The Gastronomical Me I can't abide -- not sure why -- is the part near the end in Mexico.  There's something about it that aggravates me but it's difficult to pinpoint.  Maybe it's that there's too much about music and not enough about food. 

I like her writing the way I like the seasons -- I like them at first but after a certain amount of time, it's, Enough, already. 

That part in Mexico has always made me feel edgy, too, Ingrid. It will be interesting to re-read it and try to find the reason.

Agreed, too, with the "enough, already" feeling. I didn't feel this way in the past but do, now.

Ah me, Carrot Top, that is hilarious. Particularly as the Chexmix will creep up on you for days to come, hiddden as it will be in the nooks and crannies of quilt and couch. :laugh:

Re your musings above, often we define ourselves by our externals- the cars, the address, the clothes, the restaurants, the meals. We dont  have to, but we do. "I'm worth it" or "Im not worthy". Im not sure men are immune, otherwise why "Real Men Dont Eat Quiche"?  Its been shown that by acting as we want to feel, we can fool our bodies into feeling that way (the act of smiling induces hormonal responses associated with feeling happy, and vice versa). This makes sense then, that if we act as if we are healthy appreciators of good food,  then we will to some degree be motivated to eat healthy and delicious food. Besides, one can only "act" so, by doing so, at least in presence of witnesses.

What's worse is that the Chexmix was this sort of new and healthy kind, with bits of dried apples and walnuts and cinnamon in it. Literally, I dumped half the bag on my head. I had to take a shower. (Sing along now - "I'm gonna wash that Chexmix right out of my hair. . .")

And to add insult to injury, I never buy Chexmix. I just picked up this bag because it was on the shelf in front of me while I was trying to find "stocking stuffers" for Christmas. My daughter did not want it. (Smart girl :biggrin: ) So I decided to eat it because I hate to throw food away.

Pah.

Pouring Chexmix over my head has actually been my downfall in life. :laugh:

...........................................

I'm not sure about the popularized notion of "acting as we want to feel", or at least, I can't agree with it in a simple form. In some ways this ties into what Maggie noted about MFK and her writings which are so apparently autobiographic. MFK drew a world (with food - "The Art of Eating") that held a certain sort of promise.

As a skilled storyteller, she held many in her grip with her own peculiar variety of intangible belief system. The stories held this within them, it was offered to us. And then we do find (in the additional knowledge of her "real life") that the world she drew ("acting as we want to feel" might be what she did, in her own way, in drawing those stories) was not real.

"Acting as we want to feel" can be deceptive. Unless it thoroughly works, and brings actual measurable results in reality, in one's life both public and private.

Or so I think. But what do I know. I am one who pours Chexmix in her hair. :raz:

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I've finished "Serve it Forth" and for my part, have decided that MFK's attractions to me at this moment are several. The first is the cadence, or the music of her prose. Not the specific prose itself (though that is lovely and moving at times and very very interesting at others to make an understatement). This cadence thing fascinates me, for I can not remember where else I've felt it this very strongly. One thing I *was* missing in her writing was a sort of layering (I am sure there is a better word for this but I do not know it. . .the best example I can think of in terms of this "layering" occured for me in Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses) but the cadence makes up for it, in a different way, maybe. . .

In most of the stories collected in "Serve it Forth" larger themes are being discussed than "just food". That, is something rather amazing in itself. She has the eye of a writer in seeing the stories that play out before her and the magic of a poet in noticing the intensely small then making it as large as it really is, in the mutable universe of the poet that sings in words of truths often not of man's making.

The last chapter (so short! so perfect!) of the book made me very happy when reading it (and still, in thinking about it). Four sentences. A story told, a satisfying taste felt, and a question for the reader left in the mind, as the last page is closed.

To End

We lived, once, above a little pastry shop which called itself "At the Sign of the Fin Gourmet". It sold probably the worst apricot tarts that ever sogged and stuck in the throat.

"N'est past gourmand qui veut," said Brillat-Savarin. The aphorism is, as I predicted at the first, inevitable. Truly a man is not a gourmand, much less a fin gourmet, by wishing to be so.

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By the way, an earlier thread on this same subject (late 2005) developed on another (mainly wine-oriented) site but didn't go into nearly as much depth.

MFK Fisher  :wub: may have invented what we call "food writing", as opposed to writing about food.

srhcb, could you expand on that comment? The "invented" part. I think I get your sense of "food writing," but at least one famous antecedent comes to mind right away, maybe more. (Maybe to you too, or to other readers). I'm assuming that Fisher's "food writing" began, to speak of, about 1940. Even if the label is ultimately very apt, comparison to others of that era and earlier might be interesting.

-- Max

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MFK Fisher  :wub: may have invented what we call "food writing", as opposed to writing about food.

srhcb, could you expand on that comment? The "invented" part. I think I get your sense of "food writing," but at least one famous antecedent comes to mind right away, maybe more. (Maybe to you too, or to other readers). I'm assuming that Fisher's "food writing" began, to speak of, about 1940. Even if the label is ultimately very apt, comparison to others of that era and earlier might be interesting.

-- Max

I suppose MFK Fisher didn't invent food writing like Edison invented the telephone. She was more like the anonymous Neanderthal who "invented" fire. (I hope I didn't offend the Geico Caveman?) Both fire and food writing already existed, but but the general population was made aware of their use by the Neanderthal's and MFKF's presentations.

When MFK Fisher wrote a story it wasn't always specifically about food, or even a mataphor for food. Food may or may not even have been an element in the plot, but its presence was somehow always germane to the story, and the stories connected with readers in a unique and special way.

Much of her work was originally published in The New Yorker. Although the magazine wasn't widely circulated in most parts of the country at the time, (my parents had one of two subscriptions in a city of 7,500), under Harold Ross and Bill Shawn it had achieved the reputation for publishing remarkable prose by the best authors.

So, although I read MFK Fisher while growing up, I didn't know I was reading something callled "food writing" at the time, and didn't even realize who she was until I started reading her books about fifteen years ago.

Since then I've read Elizabeth David, James Beard, Ruth Reichl, Jane Grigson, AJ Liebling, and many others, (even Alexandre Dumas, who I love), who are all easily identified as food writers, but even though it doesn't fit into a real time continuum, their writing, at least to this beholder, seems to descend from the work of MFK Fisher.

I'm afraid I may only have served to confuse the issue further with this explanation, but I'm interested in learning what others think?

SB (could caveman read MFK Fisher?)

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Since then I've read Elizabeth David, James Beard, Ruth Reichl, Jane Grigson, AJ Liebling, and many others, (even Alexandre Dumas, who I love), who are all easily identified as food writers, but even though it doesn't fit into a real time continuum, their writing, at least to this beholder, seems to descend from the work of MFK Fisher.

All above, writers that are so very different, each from the other, and all and each from MFK.

There are writers of older traditional cookbooks that have a bit of the story-telling essence in tiny parts, but never with a full story-line developed that I know of (though I am sure there may be some that I don't know of).

Elizabeth David - I think of someone who *taught* about food. Recipes, lots of recipes (though not codified) from "different places", with prose attached. Mostly I put her in place as one of the Beau Monde of that time and place, the literati glitterati that inhabited parts of Europe as ex-pats from here or there.

James Beard had a strong American voice. He wrote not of Europe all the time, but about "us", in his here and now. There was an essence of a man who loved to eat and who loved to cook, and who *did* cook. I think of him actually physically cooking, much more than I think of Elizabeth David cooking, for example. Again, I think of him as a teacher. Lots of recipes, and very well codified for the "modern" cooks use.

Ruth Reichl I think of as a modern Renaissance woman. Not specifically or solely a "food writer" but a professional and a businesswoman who wears many capable and creative hats, able to move from hat to hat unblinkingly. The hat of restaurant reviewer was one that she wore for an extended time, so that one wins out for me in a certain defining way. . . (so far, who knows what else she might do in the future).

Jane Grigson had a formalcy to her writings - they were very categorical and amazingly detailed. I don't think of her in the form of "storyteller" as much as "Professor JG". :biggrin:

AJ Liebling to me wrote of food as a secondary interest. Again, I think of him as part of a different "Beau Monde" the one that existed here, the literary set, the sporting set, and that is a thing in itself to be. I don't think of him as primarily a "food writer", but much more a journalist who happened to write about food sometimes.

I still do not think that MFK (with this reading, this time, that I am doing of her) is writing primarily about food. She also primarily seems to me to be of the Beau Monde set of that time, to have sprung from those social advantages and certain pressures and ways of being, which puts a certain form upon most writers that inhabit those worlds. I think she chose to try to write about large themes and used the device of food to do it. I am also not completely sure that all the stories (and not only the personal parts) are "true", even the stories about eating and food and how the story played. She writes like a fiction writer, like a story teller. She is boldly romantic. There also seems to me to be a large portion of sexuality (besides the quieter sensuality) scooped right into her writing, which is quite different than the other "food writers" (I'm not sure about Dumas, there may be some there, but of a different shape or taste. . .?). Is the sexuality also being used as literary device? An injection of that, well done, into her works, is not uncommon. And it works, for her. With bold knife and fork, it works.

The recipes she includes in the book are almost as desultory follow-up to her stories/essays, in many cases. . .and in others, they are phrased and handled so that the teaching of cooking food still does not take precedence over the Story.

She was different, yes. And those who are loyal to her have a deep and intense loyalty, for she is not just talking about how to cook food in her writing - she's talking about other things, life things. And that, also, is where some are beginning to question their trust in her writing. She wrote not just about food, or even mostly in some ways. She wrote about deeper (forgive me, is there such a thing?!) things than food.

Perhaps her story-telling ways affected "food-writing" in that it pushed it forward into something that could freely move into different genres, and made writing about food more appealing to those who might not have an intense interest in food itself, or recipes themselves, or how to cook themselves, but who certainly were ready to be charmed by a story that could sing, in many many ways. To me, she is a story teller who tells stories that have food as defined focus, food as literary device. The other writers mentioned about, focus on food first. . .and not as literary device for the most part, but with the story to follow.

But I don't think of them as having "descended" from her in any way, though she is much publicly lauded as our "first food writer".

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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I think I get your sense of "food writing," but at least one famous antecedent comes to mind right away, maybe more.  (Maybe to you too, or to other readers).  I'm assuming that Fisher's "food writing" began, to speak of, about 1940.  Even if the label is ultimately very apt, comparison to others of that era and earlier might be interesting.

What are your own thoughts on this, Max? Would you care to elucidate further?

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I find it interesting that, as has already been observed, this discussion is unisexual. I don't think of Fisher as distinctively a food writer or even a female writer. Her world is the larger one in which I live, or try to live, and her psychological insights are unsentimental and trans-sexual. I think of her much as I think of John Thorne, who boldly wrote, "Food writing's guilty secret is its intellectual poverty."

I find it curious that women in this discussion can find her so lacking in human sympathy as even to call her a bitch. Her sympathy for tortured human creatures is profoundly generous. Whenever I reread Long Ago in France, her late autobiography of her early student years, I am taken back to a time and place as vividly imprinted in my memory as my own youthful experiences. It is full of characters that could so easily have been turned into comic caricatures, Peter Mayle fashion, but every one is sketched with a generous sympathy that shames either scorn or snickering. Those few people I know who knew her well respect her person as well as her art. In her writing, her most mercilous personal criticisms were always of herself.

Edited by John Whiting (log)

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All above, writers that are so very different, each from the other, and all and each from MFK.

.............

Perhaps her story-telling ways affected "food-writing" in that it pushed it forward into something that could freely move into different genres, and made writing about food more appealing to those who might not have an intense interest in food itself, or recipes themselves, or how to cook themselves, but who certainly were ready to be charmed by a story that could sing, in many many ways. To me, she is a story teller who tells stories that have food as defined focus, food as literary device. The other writers mentioned about, focus on food first. . .and not as literary device for the most part, but with the story to follow.

But I don't think of them as having "descended" from her in any way, though she is much publicly lauded as our "first food writer".

I completely agree with your analysis of MFK Fishers contribution to food writing in general and her relationship to other writers in particular.

By using the word "descended" I misconstrued my own intent. The second definition in the Meriam-Webster Online Dictionary is closer to my desired meaning:

"descend - 2: to pass in discussion from what is logically prior or more comprehensive."

In other words, I suggest that maybe the others descend, by degree, on the basis of the intensity of personal baggage dragged along by their food writing?

SB :rolleyes:

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In other words, I suggest that maybe the others descend, by degree, on the basis of the intensity of personal baggage dragged along by their food writing?

:biggrin: Yeah. I get you.

But then again, it can be looked at the other way, too. It may have been her "personal baggage" used well that made her who she was as a writer.

Unless that is what you meant but said upside down. :laugh:

I guess one would have to decide whether personal baggage is something that "belongs" in food writing. Or if it should remain hidden, covered by the food entirely. Blanketed by the food. Untasteable.

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