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M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, and Alice Waters: Celebrating the Pleasures of the Table

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M. F. K. Fisher, Julia Child, and Alice Waters celebrates the accomplishments and friendships of three women who changed the way Americans think about food and cooking, dining and pleasure. In a series of three overlapping biographical portraits, Reardon reveals the private lives behind their public personas. Tracing major developments in their careers and quoting extensively from letters they exchanged, she recounts the times and places at which their lives intersected and shares testimonies of the friendship and respect that grew among them.

302 pages, Hardcover

First published October 4, 1994

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About the author

Joan Reardon

55 books10 followers
Joan Reardon is the author of four previous books, including M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, and Alice Waters, which was nominated for a Julia Child Award. She lives in Lake Forest, Illinois.

(from http://us.macmillan.com/author/joanre...)

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5 stars
12 (22%)
4 stars
19 (35%)
3 stars
15 (27%)
2 stars
7 (12%)
1 star
1 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 reviews
952 reviews3 followers
August 16, 2020
I adore Julia Child and therefore loved the sections about her, but I just can't seem to connect with Fisher whatsoever. It took me weeks to get through her sections! I just don't get her appeal. Alice Waters is somewhere in the middle. She's interesting, but not entirely likeable. She's a little too California for me. This book's premise is also just a little weird. I feel like Reardon just threw them together because she liked them all and they have vague ties, but the same could be said of nearly any three chefs/food writers. Odd.
Profile Image for Jessica.
485 reviews9 followers
January 31, 2013
I found this book to be overly detailed and long-winded at times. Reardon could have cut 100 pages and fine-tuned what was left to produce something really riveting. I know a lot about Fisher, Child and Waters already, so I ended up skipping the 2 chapters devoted exclusively to Child to expedite my reading (if the prose was a little sharper, I probably wouldn't have skipped these chapters). That said, I feel the facts Reardon supplied were intimate and as a result you get a complete picture of all three subjects. It's clear that Reardon was passionate about these women but it could have been presented more compellingly.
Profile Image for Laura.
2,055 reviews
April 22, 2011
This was a good primer to the writings of these three 'Ladies at the Table'. Though they were connected in real life (by varying degrees), that did feel a little forced, though the biographies are sandwiched between chapters on the influence of France and California on all three writers/chefs. The biographies aren't overly-detailed, but they give a good basic intorduction to the writers, their influences and lifestyles. I would have liked more pictures; I also thought the book showed it's age (it was published in 1994) - Child has since died, and Waters has grown and shifted in national stature during that time.

A good read if you like to learn more about cooking and food writing.
Profile Image for Michelle.
398 reviews1 follower
May 21, 2011
Interesting mini-biographies of three women influential in the culinary women. I hadn't realized that MFK Fisher and Julia Child were such friends, and that an older Fisher was a central fixture in the food world of the times. Unfortunately, I found Reardon's writing difficult to read. She used words oddly and her sentences would start hinting at one idea but then end up somewhere completely different, both of which made it hard to skim. (And that's not to mention her misuse and overuse of "literally." Arg.) Still a worthwhile read, though, if you want to learn more about these three personalities without getting into fan-level detail.
Profile Image for Tiffanyhenschel.
10 reviews1 follower
January 1, 2014
This is a series of three mini biographies of M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, and Mary Alice Waters, three women who changed the culture of American cooking in the twentieth century. It is a good starting point for information about any of the three women, but the text is sluggish and cumbersome at times.
Profile Image for Anne Green.
426 reviews7 followers
February 3, 2014
Fascinating biographies of these three great American food writers and cooks. It provides a broad perspective of the food scene in both America and France in the years spanning the periods of these writers' lives, as well as a close look at the three women individually. Well researched and written. A solid achievement.
26 reviews
February 24, 2008
You don't have to like cooking to like this book! Really, really interesting slant on, not only the lives of these famous chefs...but on the influence they had on the way you and I eat!!!! 3 for 1 - a good deal!
Profile Image for Mbarron.
13 reviews3 followers
September 9, 2009
Hey, this is not a recent read, but by request I am resurrecting it because so many people are going to see Julie/Julia. This book focuses on Julia Child, M.F.K. Fisher, and Alice Waters. I read it back during my Alice Waters fascination phase; I think it's out of print but interesting.
6 reviews4 followers
April 26, 2011
Very interesting, especially since I knew very little of MFK Fisher and Alice Waters, but had been interested in learning more. And of course, I adore Julia Child, so anything Child-related excites me. I recommend this book if you are interested in French culture, food "movements", and California.
Profile Image for Virginia.
1,460 reviews4 followers
January 13, 2014
The intro was great. The author talked about the whys of writing the book but after that it was mostly bio on the 3 women and was stuff I already knew. Perhaps if I had read the book in 1994 when writen this would not have been the case.
Profile Image for Barbara Rice.
149 reviews1 follower
April 29, 2009
An interesting book about the intertwining lives of three women who shaped how we view food, shop, cook, and enjoy dining in America today.
Profile Image for Cara Meredith.
1,030 reviews23 followers
August 1, 2013
Eh. While the women themselves are quite interesting, the writer is terribly boring.
Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 reviews

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