Saturday, October 1, 2011

Love In A Dish by M.F.K. Fisher

One of the preeminent food writers of the 1930’s to the 1990’s, M.F.K. Fisher redefined how those who loved fine cuisine talked and wrote about it. She wrote twenty-six books, most of them in the food appreciation genre. She was a lifetime achievement award recipient from the James Beard Foundation and the American Institute of Wine and Food.

In Love In A Dish, readers are given a series of her short essays about food and cooking. She talks about her time in Provence and her rudimentary kitchens and simple fare there which inspired her to make wonderful meals from whatever was available. Another piece discusses the relationship between food and love; how feeding your lover defines the caring and importance one attaches to another. There are pieces that discuss her culinary education as she grew up. Her father introduced her to the delights of seafood and good wine; while her grandmother was a disciplinarian who insisted on strict standards at the table as well as other areas of life. There are entire essays about specific food; the oyster and how it should be eaten (cooked or raw?), the potato and all the myriad methods of cooking it and how to choose and enjoy wine.

This book is recommended for readers who enjoy food and cooking and reading about them. Outside of the field of interest, the writing itself is delicious; her prose clear and lyrical. The book, like most anthologies, is best read a bit at a time when one has a quiet moment to appreciate the writing. Readers who finish Love In A Dish will be moved to find other M.F.K. volumes to read more about this author’s entrancing love affair with food.

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