As They Were
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As They Were

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  238 ratings  ·  24 reviews
This marvelous collection of autobiographical essays by the celebrated, much-adored Fisher covers her life, family, food and adventures.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 12th 1983 by Vintage (first published 1982)
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Jan 06, 2008 Wendy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: sincere foodies, the old-fashioned kind and the new arrivals
Started reading this in front of the fire, glass of inexpensive champagne in hand, on New Year's Eve (2 little kids...not going out.) I almost wept at knowing I could not time-travel my way back to 1939 Marcel's restaurant in L.A. or to the 3 chalets along Lake Geneva she described from the 1940s. Still worse was the meal she ate at a converted mill in...what was the town in Alsace (?), with the over-eager waitress and the semi-retired master chef. I had never in my life craved terrine de campag...more
Ok, MFK Fisher is always a slooooow read for me. I've been working on this book off and on for a few months now because it just doesn't move fast enough to hold my attention for very long. But the writing is so lush and beautiful there is no choice but to just luxuriate in her sentences as you drink it all in. Completely worth taking your time with and savoring. This is a delectable book that showcases some of her best writing and also gives you a lot more insights into her bright, full life.
M.F.K. Fisher is one of my favorite authors and probably my favorite food author. I read this some years ago and don't remember all the essays in it, but I do remember that one of them is my all-time favorite piece related to food. "I Was Really Very Hungry" is about the waitress in a small country inn where Fisher went once alone to have lunch. Whereas Fisher is passionate about food, this waitress was obsessed about the perfection of a meal. Five stars for that story alone!
Erica Harmon
I've always thought to myself that I'd like M.F.K. Fisher, but never made it a priority. A coworker brought in her copy and lent it to me after a conversation about food and food writing the previous week, and surprised by her thoughtfulness (and a reading slump), immediately started reading it.

I especially loved the section on traveling on freight ships and was surprised more than once (I didn't learn) by her frank observations about sex and race (particularly in that section). I kept expectin...more
Only a handful of these pieces are really 5-star quality, but I find Fisher's world so interesting and marvelous, and her prose so exquisite, that I can't resist. It's not as good as The Gastronomic Me overall, but there are so many wonderful, wonderful moments.
Jim Aker
An excellent series of essays, called reports by the author, on her travels from Whittier California to the South of France and in between aboard ship. Mary Francis Kennedy Fisher was a fine writer and an American treasure. Her work is evocative, and still quite informative as well as amusing. One story in particular was of great interest in that I had a similar experience in my time spent living in France. The story, "I Was Really Very Hungry" is most amusing and was a featured reading on the N...more
I wanted to like this book more than I did. Ms. Fisher is a wonderful writer and her prose is flowing and evocative but somehow her ramblings through the south of France and aboard ship and wherever else she took us on this voyage of food and life was just a bit too mundane for my tastes. One gets the feeling, while reading, that one is there and experiencing what is being written about but when the book is closed at the end one wonders what just happened. It just wasn't really memorable. I gave...more
Have been a fan of MFK Fisher's writing for a few years now, ever since I started le food writing -- but strangely enough, this is the first book of hers I've read in its entirety (essays, mostly). Working my way to the Gastronomical Me, here is one of the finest writers America has produced. Especially savory writing for those who cannot get enough of food, wine, the art of dining, life and love. But more than anything, I have learned what it means to be that is, human....
Scott Besser
did not finish. good writing - very good, but this collection of essays is not a page turner, which I knew when picking it up originally. I picked it up on the recommendation of a friend who knew I'd appreciate the writing - esp of food and of travel and of times past. maybe will pick it up to read an essay once in a while. not a compelling read but a succulent one.
"Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher is a national treasure. For nearly 50 years she has been writing rare, fine prose about so many things that she is nearly impossible to define." � Newsweek

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Very nice and enjoyable selection of essays from a renowned food writer. Her writing is very rich - so rich that I had to take them one story at a time. I also enjoyed the bemused quality present in many of her essays. I look forward to reading more from her.
Nov 11, 2009 Jo rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: food
I always find time with M.F.K Fisher's books and stories relaxing and comforting....her books are classics for lovers of food. There are many good reasons she's still widely read. Highly recommend any and all of her books.
I really wanted to like this book but I found her writing to be a little too whimsical and random. I did find it interesting reading about her life experiences in the early 20th century - life was just so different back then.
Some beautiful writing, I especially loved the pieces "I was really very hungry" and the ones on her personal kitchens in France. There were a few though that were kind of strange and hard to follow.
This book is making me hungry, for fish specifically. I shall return to this book when I'm more likely to be able to satiate the appetite for the fresh fresh fish described by Ms. Fisher!
As a vegetarian, I was a little hesitant to read a book by the author of "How to Cook a Wolf," but no worries--this book was mostly essays about place with some table thrown in. Excellent.
Marjorie Elwood
Each story was a period piece, an explanation of a particular time and/or place and/or mode of travel. I found them a little tepid. I think I would prefer her food writing.
Tom Grammer
This was the first I'd ever read of M.F.K. Fisher. A friend gave me this book to read while I was in the hospital with food poisoning.
Took me a while to get through this -- it was rather lovely, but definitely leisurely. Fisher's writing is clean and evocative.
Always reliable MFK Fisher goodness, but not as sparkling as other pieces...more food would have helped.
Reading the shipboard chapter side by side with Ship of Fools could be interesting.
Kenn Speicher
If you like food writing, read this.
Nice group of essays about her life.
A beautiful book and writer.
A beautiful book
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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
More about M.F.K. Fisher...
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