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Happy Birthday, Mary Frances

July 3, 2013 | by

Image via Gourmet

Image via Gourmet

“It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it … and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied … and it is all one.” —M. F. K. Fisher, The Art of Eating




  1. Ms | July 3, 2013 at 1:25 pm


    It’s the birthday of M.F.K. Fisher (1908) (books by this author), born Mary Frances Kennedy in Albion, Michigan. She’s the mother of the “food essay” and always viewed cuisine as a metaphor for culture.

    She found an Elizabethan cookbook at her public library and was inspired to try her hand at food writing. Her first book, Serve It Forth (1937), was full of sensual, evocative prose, and some critics assumed that a man had written it. Her next book, How to Cook a Wolf (1941), was addressed to Americans and Europeans dealing with rationing and food shortages during World War II. In it, she wrote, “When the wolf is at the door, one should invite him in and have him for dinner.” It has a few recipes, but it mostly contains meditations on the role of meals in relationships, and on sharing limited resources with spiritual abundance. Her chapter titles include, “How to Distribute Your Virtue,” “How to Greet the Spring,” “How to Be Cheerful Through Starving,” and “How to Have a Sleek Pelt.” — From NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac

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