M.F.K. Fisher’s tome, The Art of Eating is an absolute classic. A compilation of the author’s five best-known works, Eating is made up of five works: Serve It Forth, Consider the Oyster,How to Cook a Wolf, The Gastronomical Me and An Alphabet for Gourmets. This particular edition is the 50th anniversary and it was great to be able to read all these wonderful, evocative, fascinating, funny, sad and drool-inducing books all in one place. Each book is different, consisting of a variety of writing styles and themes. Some feature short essays on different food-related topics (oysters, dinner at her favourite restaurant, eating in medieval times, cabbage, etc.), while another relates the story of cooking during the very difficult years of World War II. I have read and enjoyed snippets of Fisher’s writing before but I am now totally hooked on it. The books made me want to rush into the kitchen or out to the restaurants but, most importantly, they made me appreciate food on a deeper level.
As a side note, I found that it is best to mind the following steps before, during or after embarking upon reading this massive collection of work:
Step 1: find yourself a comfortable spot. Perhaps curled up on the couch, listening to the rain or basking in the sunshine. You’re going to be there for a while. If at all possible, have a glass of wine handy. (Perhaps keeping the bottle nearby would be for the best.)
Step 2: position yourself near a food source. This might be near your kitchen, in a coffee shop, in a restaurant. Any or all will work.
Step 3: cancel your plans for the night, unless they involve dinner. And wine.
Step 4: book your ticket to France now. You’re going to want to go.