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A Cordiall Water: A Garland of Odd and Old Receipts to Assuage the Ills of Man and Beast
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A Cordiall Water: A Garland of Odd and Old Receipts to Assuage the Ills of Man and Beast

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  106 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
First published in 1961, A Cordiall Water collects a charming mixed bag of nostrums, elixirs, restoratives, and fortifiers and intersperces them with autobiographical anecdotes from M. F. K. Fisher’s life in California, Provence, Mexico and Switzerland. These engaging recipes, "a perfect combination of superstition, instinct, and primitive knowledge" deal with commonplace ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Counterpoint (first published 1961)
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Jan 17, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I was disappointed to find this short collection of folk remedies and personal experiences reflects Ms. Fisher’s charming prose but includes little of substance. Ms. Fisher’s writing sings, but the content falls short. The author believed apparently that some folks remedies may have validity; however, the author does not really develop her thesis or explore beyond the surface. The book offers mostly anecdotal evidence, and references to science are few and do not include any source information. ...more
Karlyne Landrum
Aug 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved this little book and was very disappointed when I came to its end (especially since there were quite a few end papers, so I didn't realize I was coming to the end). The author not only informs you about what used to be believed and in some cases still is, but she then personalizes it with her own experiences and the experiences of people she knows. In fact, it's a powerful book, now that I think about it, and not just an amusing read. M.F.K. Fisher was a powerful writer and is rapidly be ...more
Nov 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
A collection of thoughts on historical anecdotes about and personal experiences with folk medicine. It's just as well-written as all MFK Fisher's other essay books; the prose is concise and full of personality, the chapters are short, interesting, and complete, and the piece works together as a thematic whole. I'm not exactly as interested in this topic as I am in food, but that's ok. Well done.
May 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Foodies
I love MFK Fisher, and this slight volume is a wonderful collection of essays highlighting the healing powers of food within Fisher's memory, and the historical records of the benefits of various "receipts" (that's recipes for anyone not versed in 15th century vernacular). It's lovely, extremely interesting, and a small but wonderful morsel to put on one's bookshelf.
Feb 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: how-to, health
This was pleasant reading but could have been much longer. There are so MANY weird old recipes to treat ailments floating around...These are just the ones MFK Fisher came across in her reading and travels.
Mar 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
May 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
A sweet little book about folk medicine.
Sep 02, 2007 rated it liked it
An amusing little book -- look for an edition with outstanding illustrations to go along with the text. I'm a fan of all things M.F.K. Fisher.
Elizabeth Sims
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of Fisher's lesser known works. Such a joy and a comfort. I turn to this in grim times.
Apr 17, 2012 added it
Not riveting...probably just not anthropological enough for my liking. I wish there was more context for some of these recipes.
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
gracefully, and at time puckishly, written accounts of folk medicine
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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
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