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One of my favorite authors is M. F. K. Fisher, who is most well known for her food writing. Today, I'm going to share a couple of quotes from two memorable meals: the bad and the good.
The first description comes from one of Fisher's journals and wasn't written for publication (you'll notice the change in style when you read the second quote). The dinner took place in California, when Fisher was home after having lived in France.
The supper chez Hinchman was one of the worst meals I've ever eaten, but the people were good. There was a great tub of spaghetti cooked with cheap oil and hamburger meat and no imagination, a salad so badly mixed that the salt and the oil and the garlic came in gobs, and, most god-awful, saucers of pink gelatin. I was almost too depressed to be revived, but the people were quite interesting. (1/12/1934)—from Stay Me, Oh Comfort Me (Random House /Pantheon Books, 1993)
In the following scene, Fisher describes a dinner she put together when her younger brother came for a visit, accompanied by a young woman whom Fisher and her and her husband (Chexbres) hadn't yet met. The evening took place in the late 1930s in France.
First we drank a delicate broth made of chicken stock and white wine and fresh tomato juice, the three iced and mixed together just before we sat down. Then there were little hot cheese tarts, made in Vevey that afternoon. With them we drank a three-year-old Faverges from the vineyard across the road, a high thin white wine like all those of the coast we lived on. Then there was a tray of cold roast pigeons lying on a bed of herbs from our garden, and a big earthen tureen of all the small summer vegetables we could find, cooked whole and separately and then tossed together with sweet butter. There was bread, fresh and crusty.—from The Gastronomical Me (North Point Press, 1989)
And we drank one of our best wines, a Corton 1929 sent from the Chateau for a present the year before. It was beautiful with the strong simple food. We all raised our glasses before the first sip, and then for a few seconds we could but stay silent, with its taste under our tongues. I looked down the long table through the candlelight and saw Chexbres, and all was well with me.
M. F. K. Fisher wrote about her life, her marriages, and her children. She wrote about food, wine, and cooking. She wrote about what she thought and observed. If you haven't yet read her, pick up one of her books and begin.