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Art of Eating

4.33  ·  Rating Details ·  5,106 Ratings  ·  234 Reviews
This contains the author's five most popular books - "Consider the Oyster", "The Gastronomical Me", "Serve it Forth", "How to Cook a Wolf", and "An Alphabet for Gourmets". The volume contains an array of thoughts, memories and recipes.
Audio Cassette, Abridged, 35 pages
Published September 1st 1991 by Audio Partners (first published 1954)
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May 31, 2007 Spoon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
even if you're not a foodie, this is a really wonderfull book. no one writes about food like MFK Fisher and no one writes about food better than MFK Fisher. it brings tears to my eyes. i mean, fuck Anthony Bourdin and Kitchen Confidential (even though i enjoyed it) because MFK was writing about offal and wolves long before Anthony Bourdin decided to start wearing Dead Boys tee shirts and taping television shows where he tries absinthe.
Mar 30, 2008 Rosminah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my all time favorite book, I cannot live without it. I keep a copy at my bedside and take another copy travelling with me. I reread it constantly and reference it in conversation.
It is about life and food. How does that not relate to every single person in the world.
I first read this collection after returning from living several months in Borneo, where I finally built up the motivation to change my career path and continue my schooling overseas in England. Back home, I found the book on
Jun 20, 2008 Carrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
MFK Fisher is just so great - I'm humbled by the rightness of her writing and it sounds utterly corny to say that this is a book about love, life, and dignity. There is so much here - I read the Roman and Edwardian shopping lists of "Serve it Forth" to Jeff on our last road trip and we laughed like crazy, followed by her tips on how to keep your cat and dog fed when the chips are down. The quiet, powerful protest of the center book, "How to Cook a Wolf", was so touching to me - how to remain hum ...more
Aug 12, 2009 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: set-aside
If this book weren't a thousand pages thick (and consequently a little unwieldy on the pillow) it would be, hands down, my favorite-ever bedtime reading book. It's like curling up with your best friend - if your best friend were a snarky, sanguine, misanthropic but entirely passionate middle-aged foodie. Food writing has been seriously in vogue since Michael Pollan, but with the recent influx of it that's surfaced around Nora Ephron's impossibly self-satisfied new movie, you can't even open a ma ...more
Oct 13, 2009 Zack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is comprised of essays largely un-connected to each other. This allows the book to spend a year on a table near where you often sit, so that every week or so you can pick it up and follow Ms. Fisher to France, or California, or out to sea. Ostensibly, she writes about food. But she does so in such a way that you learn what she's been learning--by sharing in her series of insights into herself, and relationships then humanity at large.

Also, this book will light a fire under your relati
Emily Bonden
Feb 13, 2008 Emily Bonden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Listen to this and tell me you don't want to read these essays: "People ask me: Why do you write about food, adn eating and drinking? ...The easiest answer is to say that, like most other humans, I am hungry. But there is more than that. 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 other."
Nov 29, 2014 Olivia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
MFK Fisher is always such a pleasure! Her writing is frank, surprising and full of life. I had read The Gastronomical Me before, but got a kick out of Serve It Forth and the Alphabet for Gourmets. Can't even imagine what it would have been like to attend one of her dinner parties!
May 26, 2008 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having known for years I should not be putting off reading M.F.K. Fisher on the grounds that being a "food writer" was somehow intellectually provincial, I probably nonetheless did just that.
There is also probably no great insight to be gained from putting her in the context of what I have been reading lately, but I have been particularly enjoying the contrast between her unabashedly (and joyously) literary style and the coolly persuasive journalistic élan of Michael Pollan or Marion Nestle's s
Oct 22, 2015 Sarah marked it as on-hold  ·  review of another edition
Finished Serve It Forth and putting aside for now. Fisher's writing is best when she's personal, and even the tactile squalor of a kitchen is sexy in her hands.

Favorite passage:

There are only three things I need, to make my kitchen a pleasant one as long as it is clean.

First, I need space enough to get a good simple meal for six people. More of either would be wasteful as well as dangerously dull.

Then, I need a window or two, for clear air and a sight of things growing.

Most of all, I need to
Aug 08, 2009 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are some things to like a lot in this collection. First, I learned to make eggs perfectly how I like them from this book--melt butter over a medium heat, add the eggs, cover, turn off the heat, and wait three minutes. Genius. Second, the idea to appreciate simple pleasures--specific tastes, a nice warm afternoon with people you love, eating and drinking whatever you come upon in another place and doing as the Romans do. Third, the idea that a meal should have a note of whimsy or surprise. ...more
Jul 30, 2016 Debra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: foodie-reads
I had purchased Fisher’s The Art of Eating a few years ago when I realized I could not be a quintessential foodie without having read her works. I was excited for another opportunity to delve into her delicious wit and revisit "How to Cook a Wolf." This book of frugality (and common sense) during the lean years of WWII is pertinent today and many of her tips and ideas are echoed by locavores and modern chefs.

Her wry sense of humor, and dare I say snarkiness, is endearing and I started thinking a
Aug 10, 2015 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
After finishing the book, I have to say that the reason for the middling rating's me, MFK, not you.

While nearing the end of "Z is for" , it hit me like a ton of bricks - I finally understood that I am not the intended reader. I am not a foodie. I eat to live, not live to eat. Sure, I enjoy food, but not to the extent that I need to to 'get' this book - I don't have the interest/passion. Why didn't it occur to me earlier? If I was obsessed, this may have been a bible for me, but I'm not.

Aug 14, 2014 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
There are five books contained in M.F.K. Fisher's voluminous omnibus The Art of Eating, covering a wide swath of her writing (and eating) in the first half of the 20th Century. There is autobiography, gastronomy, history, even strategies for eating well during wartime rationing -- a vast feast of thoughts on cuisine and the enjoyment thereof.

That avalanche of rich commentary threatens to overwhelm the reader's senses at times -- breaks are recommended between books, perhaps within each book as w
Nov 21, 2011 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
M.F.K. Fisher is a skilled writer, but the tone of her writing seems a little alien to today's point of view on nutrition and cooking. She is greatly influenced by French cuisine and epicurianism, but seems at times to slide into something verging on gluttony. It would be a mistake to view her with the eyes of today, but one cannot avoid feeling a vague malaise at the descriptions of tumblers of marc and ice-cold martinis. Nonetheless, since Fisher maintained a glamorous appearance, an active lo ...more
Jul 29, 2008 Tracy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be 90% insufferable, 10% wonderful and unlike anything else I've ever read. This book is kind of old, so a lot of the insufferable-ness is just how old fashioned the writing style is. But a lot of the author's attitudes were also pretty obnoxious - her description of nuoc mam was downright racist. While I'm sure her palette is a million times more sophisticated than mine, there are some things that she doesn't appreciate which are perfectly delicious. This book is a compilat ...more
Aug 06, 2012 Lori-ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The real creator of the genre, MFK Fisher describes each dish, meal, shopping experience, etc. with just enough flourish to make your mouth water. Her writing is economical, but rich in style and vocabulary. There are a lot of essays, and I've taken my time reading them between and during other reads. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in food in general, or even just great writing. This is definitely great for foodies, but will be interesting and enjoyable for so many others.
Nov 30, 2008 Donna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The grand dame of food writing. In Gastronomical Me, you get to meet the young Mary Frances Kennedy and learn about her childhood and her first culinary awakenings. In Serve it Forth, you learn of the history of eating from ancient times to the present, interspersed with the author's own revelations. A celebration of life, if ever there was one. Also contains Consider the Oyster, How to Cook a Wolf, and An Alphabet of Gourmets. Warm, witty, and delightful.
Barbara O'Neal
Jan 13, 2011 Barbara O'Neal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: foodies, memoir readers
Shelves: memoir, foodie-books
I only stumbled over this volume by happenstance, and cannot believe I have not read her before. This contains several volumes of her work, and I peeled through all of them, one after the other, in a haze of delight. She is funny and wise and clear-sighted, full of insights about a world that has now fled.

Every foodie should read this.
Julie Davis
Jun 09, 2015 Julie Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
M.F.K. Fisher was one of the best writers of her time. It is just my good luck that she wrote about food which is one of my favorite topics to read about. Her quick wit, powers of observation, common sense, and wonderful prose make any of her books worthwhile. This collection is simply delightful and belongs on any food lover's shelf.
Mari Manning
Maybe at one time this book resonated, but most of it is very dated. The recipes are from WWII and the experiences are well-described, but seem like something out of a 1950s musical. The essays hop around, so with no narrative to keep the reader engaged, it reminds me of reading random articles on microfiche from old magazines.
First Second Books
This book is lovely.

M.F.K. Fisher writes about food and eating in such a wonderful, approachable, delighted way -- it's great to read food writing written by someone whose first tenant so clearly is: I LOVE FOOD.
Annie Mueller
Dec 04, 2010 Annie Mueller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To sum up: I LOVE this book. Food writing of any kind is always a favorite of mine, and Fisher is the master. This collection includes 5 of her books (complete) and is fun to flip through, browse, or read cover to cover. It does always make me hungry, though...
Aug 08, 2012 Sheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A compendium of several of her books and essays. MFK Fisher's writing rises far beyond her subject. Yes she writes about food, but food is life so she is writing about life. By the middle of this book, I feel as if she is whispering in my ear. She had a unique literay voice.
Jul 05, 2008 Isaacsondesign rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this juicy classic 15 years ago - a must read for the up and coming foodie.
50 years of food essays in 5 wonderful books. This anniversary edition was long, and so great that I had to return my copy to the library and purchase one for my home enjoyment.
Jan 09, 2017 Polly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've mulled over what to say about this book almost since the moment I picked it up. There were sections that captivated and intrigued me, and there were sections I had to shoulder my way through. MFK Fisher's writing about food is beautiful and clever, even if some of the jokes were dated and the hints lost on someone born 30 years after the last book was published.

Originally I intended this book to check an item off a reading challenge, but as the 6 months I spent meandering through it progre
Jan 30, 2017 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was my introduction to M.F.K. Fisher and what an introduction it was. This tome contains 5 separate books of short stories, making my over 1 month reading time seem not so bad. They included Serve It Forth, Consider the Oyster, How to Cook a Wolf, The Gastronomical Me, and finally An Alphabet for Gourmets. These five books cover a lot of the same territory but with varying styles.

Serve it Forth was an incredible way to start, containing my favorite short story of the entire collection
Mar 22, 2012 Elise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My rating and review are based only on "How to Cook a Wolf" and about a third of "The Gastronomical Me," because the book was due back at the library before I could get through the entire volume (and I couldn't renew it because there were 4 holds! I guess it's great that a bunch of other people are interested in MFKF).

"The Art of Eating" is a super thick volume containing five of MFKF's early books (written in the 1940s), and she writes about food in a voice that is rather unexpected for a woman
Jan 09, 2008 Rick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
M.F.K. Fisher is many people's idea of a writer's writer, with admirers across the literary world. And she is that good. How else could I read 700 plus pages of an anthology of five of her classic works on the gastronomic arts of cooking and eating, including one volume entitled Consider the Oyster, its singular topic? Fisher is so good I'm forever forward tempted to try an oyster, though other foods she discusses, say calf head, she made fascinating without making enticing. Years ago I read Fis ...more
Karen Radcliff
Oct 26, 2015 Karen Radcliff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't set a date for this book. I have read it all, but I have not read it cover-to-cover, because it is the kind of book that I read when I need to be wrapped in a blanket with tea or a glass of wine, in a window seat, looking out at a blustery day. Preferably in France. Maybe Ireland. Fisher's writing transports me, generally upon a fit of the giggles, to 1940s rationing, to eating oysters, to helping friends; when I think of it, I think of a hotel in cold January and peeled orange segments ...more
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Food and philosophy 3 47 Feb 13, 2009 08:49AM  
  • An Omelette and a Glass of Wine
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  • It Must've Been Something I Ate: The Return of the Man Who Ate Everything
  • Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris
  • Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink
  • Choice Cuts: A Savory Selection of Food Writing from Around the World and Throughout History
  • The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food
  • My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals / Portraits, Interviews, and Recipes
  • The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation
  • Endless Feasts: Sixty Years of Writing from Gourmet
  • The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen
  • Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant : Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone
  • The Soul of a Chef: The Journey Toward Perfection
  • The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchen with Nigel Slater
  • Culinary Artistry
  • Something from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America
Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher was a prolific and well-respected writer, writing more than 20 books during her lifetime and also publishing two volumes of journals and correspondence shortly before her death in 1992. Her first book, Serve it Forth, was published in 1937. Her books deal primarily with food, considering it from many aspects: preparation, natural history, culture, and philosophy. Fisher ...more
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“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.” 126 likes
“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight...

[Breadmaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world's sweetest smells... there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of
meditation in a music-throbbing chapel. that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.”
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